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King of Isin
Reign ca. 1920 BC – 1911 BC
Predecessor Ishbi-Erra
Successor Iddin-Dagan
House 1st Dynasty of Isin

Šu-ilišu,[nb 1] ca. 1920 BC – 1911 BC (short chronology), or 1984- 1975 BC (medium chronology) was the 2nd ruler of the 1st Dynasty of Isin and reigned for 10 years according to his extant year-names and a single copy of the Sumerian King List,[i 1] which differs from the 20 years recorded by others.[i 2][1] He is best known for his retrieval from the Elamites of the cultic idol of Nanna and its return to Ur.


Šu-ilišu’s inscriptions gave him the titles “mighty man, king of Ur, mighty king, god of his nation, beloved of the gods Anu, Enlil, and Nanna, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, beloved of the god Enlil and the goddess Ninisina, and lord of his land” but not king of Isin, a title which was not claimed by a ruler of this city until the later reign of Išme-Dagān. He did, however, rebuild the walls of his capital in Isin.

He was a great benefactor of Ur, beginning the restoration which was to continue through his successors Iddin-Dagān and Išme-Dagan. He built a monumental gateway and recovered an idol representing Ur's patron deity, Nanna, god of the moon, which had been expropriated by the Elamites when they sacked the city, but whether he obtained it through diplomacy or conflict is unknown.[2] An inscription tells of the city's resettlement, “He established for him when he established in Ur the people scattered as far as Anšan in their abode.”[3] The Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur was composed around this time to explain the catastrophe, to call for its reconstruction and to protect the restorers from the curses attached to the ruins of the é.dub.lá.maḫ.

Šu-ilišu, commemorated the fashioning of a great emblem for Nanna, an exalted throne for An, a dais for Ninisin, a magur-boat for Ninurta and a dais for Ningal in year names for his reign. An adab, or hymn, to Nergal[i 3] was composed in honor of him, together with an adab of An and perhaps a third addressed to himself.[4] The archive of a craft workshop, or giš-kin-ti, from Isin has been uncovered with 920 texts dating from Išbi-Erra year 4 through to Šu-ilišu year 3, a period of 33 years. The tablets are records of receipts and disbursements of the leather goods, furniture, baskets, mats and felt goods that were manufactured and their raw materials.[5] A second archive, of receipt of cereal and issue of bread from a bakery, possibly connected to the temple of Enlil in Nippur, includes an accounting record[i 4] of expenditures of bread for the provision of the king and includes entries dated to his second through ninth years[6] which was used by Steele to determine the sequence of most of this king's year-names.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Sumerian King List, MS 1686.
  2. ^ Such as WB 444, the Weld-Blundell prism.
  3. ^ Tablets CBS 14074, Ni 2482 and N 2833.
  4. ^ Tablet UM 55-21-125, University Museum, Philadelphia.


  1. ^ Inscribed dšu-i-li-šu.


  1. ^ Jöran Friberg (2007). A Remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical Texts: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection: Cuneiform Texts. Springer. pp. 131–134. 
  2. ^ Daniel T. Potts (1999). The archaeology of Elam: formation and transformation of an ancient Iranian State. Cambridge University Press. p. 149. 
  3. ^ a b Douglas Frayne (1990). RIME 4: Old Babylonian Period.
  4. ^ William W. Hallo (2009). The World's Oldest Literature. Brill. p. 206. 
  5. ^ Marc Van de Mieroop (1987). Crafts in the Early Isin Period: A Study of the Isin Craft Archive from the Reigns of Išbi-Erra and Šu-Illišu. Peeters Publishers. pp. 1, 117–118. 
  6. ^ Marc Van de Mieroop (1986). "Nippur texts from the early Isin period". JANES (18): 35–36.