Meshkiangasher

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Meshkiangasher
𒈩𒆠𒉘𒂵𒊺𒅕
Cylinder seal king Louvre AO6620.jpg
Cylinder seal depicting the king-priest and his acolyte feeding the sacred herd. Uruk period, c. 3200 BC.
King of Uruk
ReignUruk period (legendary)
PredecessorFirst dynasty of Kish
SuccessorEnmerkar
IssueEnmerkar
FatherUtu

Meshkiangasher[a][b] was a mythological king only mentioned in the Sumerian King List as the priest of the Eanna temple in Uruk, whose journey led him to the enter the sea and ascend the mountains.

Mythology[edit]

The King list mentions Meshkiangasher as a descendant of the sun god Utu, who became the high priest of Inanna in the Eanna temple reigning for 324 years,[c] and conceived his son and successor to the throne Enmerkar. His epithet concludes with his descent to the sea and ascent to the mountains, a journey which has been compared to the trajectory of the sun, believed by the Sumerians that made the exact travel and suitable for the "son of the sun-god".[2]

Historical King[edit]

Unlike his successors, Meshkiangasher is not found in any poem or hymn besides the King list. His reign has long been suspected to be a fabrication during the Sumerian Renaissance[3] due to the Sumerian-Akkadian hybrid structure of his name, the element MES, which occurs in historical royal names of Ur, and the tradition about his disappearance.[4]

The fabrication of king Meshkiangasher could be an arrangement to separate the god Utu from being the biological father of Enmerkar, as mentioned in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, and giving him a royal descendant instead.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marchesi, G. (2010). The Sumerian King List and the Early History of Mesopotamia. In M. G. Biga - M. Liverani (Eds.), Ana Turri Gimilli: Studi Dedicati Al Padre Werner R. Mayer, S. J., Da Amici e Allievi (Vicino Oriente - Quaderno 5; Roma), Pp. 231-248.
  2. ^ Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Sumerian King List. pp. 85–93.
  3. ^ Mittermayer, Catherine (2009). Enmerkara und der Herr von Arata: Ein ungleicher Wettstreit. p. 93.
  4. ^ a b Drewnowska, Olga; Sandowicz, Malgorata (2017). Fortune and Misfortune in the Ancient Near East. Winona Lake, Indiana: EISENBRAUNS. p. 201.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lit. "Meski'ağ, he is mighty".[1]
  2. ^ Sumerian: 𒈩𒆠𒉘𒂵𒊺𒅕 Meškiağašer
  3. ^ P2 has 325, however, the sum of the reigns given to Uruk restores it as 324.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
First dynasty of Kish
Sumerian ruler
En of Uruk

Late Uruk Period (legendary)
Succeeded by
Enmerkar