Talk:Sumerian King List

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Main article[edit]

See Talk:Chronology of the Ancient Orient


This page should be renamed List of Sumerian Kings. freestylefrappe 05:00, Feb 12, 2005 (UTC)

no it shouldn't. A "list of sumerian kings" would be something compiled by wikipedians. "The Sumerian king list" is a specific (actually, several versions) ancient document. This isn't just another "List of" article. This is an article about a notable list. dab () 13:02, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You're right. My mistake. freestylefrappe 17:16, Feb 12, 2005 (UTC)

Who are the ancestors of Alulim?


Given that this is a proper noun, shouldn't this be titled "Sumerian King List". AdamBiswanger1 23:46, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I think so. SamEV (talk) 17:35, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree, but an administrator needs to do it. IansAwesomePizza (talk) 20:55, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, as nominator. As per the above discussion, this is a proper name, and should be capitalized. Twofistedcoffeedrinker (talk) 22:09, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see no evidence that there is anything with a formal title of "Sumerian King List". Even the sources refer to it as "Sumerian king list". I might even support a move to List of Sumerian kings or List of Kings of Sumer or the like. —Wknight94 (talk) 02:43, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment. The other ancient king lists (Assyrian, Babylonian, Hittite etc.) are compilations of different lists, and/or archaeological findings, and are titled List of xxx kings. This article describes and tabulates the actual document, for instance leaving out the dynasties that are not included in this list. It is an important document as it stands, because we have little other information about Sumerian rulers. Twofistedcoffeedrinker (talk) 03:03, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not doubting the importance of the document. But what is its title? "Sumerian King List"? Or "Sumerian Kings List"? Or "List of Sumerian Kings"? Or something else? If it doesn't have an official name - which I gather it doesn't - then its article shouldn't have capitalized words in its title. The historic document is simply the main source for the list article. —Wknight94 (talk) 03:12, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Well that's a little better. Why on earth aren't those referenced in this article? —Wknight94 (talk) 17:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, the article needs more inline references. No, I don't have time now. And no, I will not reference 691 books with the capitalized name. Yes, I will reference the article, because I want to submit it for Featured List review. When? When I have time.
  • Anyone actually involved in editing ANE articles would recognize that documents like this are given capitalized titles in Wikipedia.
  • (And, happily, as I was typing the above response, another admin was moving the article where it belonged.) Twofistedcoffeedrinker (talk) 18:04, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Information about the list?[edit]

It would be really nice to see some information about the list other than contents of the list. Like, where was it found, who found it, what did it look like, etc... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:05, 1 February 2007 (UTC).

Early Dynastic I, II and III periods[edit]

The statement "Their rules are measured in sars - periods of 3600 years - the next unit up after 60 in Sumerian counting (3600 = 60x60), and in ners - units of 600." does not fit with Sumerian numerology. A vertical wedge could mean either 1, 60 or 3600 depending on place value. From my own study it is apparent that each unit should be listed as 60 not 3600. Each of the Early Bronze Age I, II and III length of rule down to Gilgamesh should be divided by 60. If you do the math everything else fits into place. SeanT June 7th 2008 12:47AM MST -7. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Krkr8m (talkcontribs) 07:48, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

The archeological periods are somewhat off in the article: before the flood, there were the Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods. Then the early Dynastic I and II overlap the first two dynasties, and Early Dynastic III starts with the First Dynasty of Ur.Nicklausse (talk) 02:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The river flood you refer to has been radio-carbon dated to about 2900 BCE. Polychrome pottery from the Jemdet Nasr period was found immediately below the 2900 BCE flood layer. Kish artifacts were found immediately above the 2900 BCE flood layer. Hence the mythical kings that are listed in the Sumerian King List immediately before the sentence about the flood correspond to the Jemdet Nasr period, even though none of them have been identified in artifacts. The Early Dynastic I period is not represented in the Sumerian King List and is distinguished from ED II only by the shape of cylinder seals. I will rename the mythical kings as Jemdet Nasr kings and cite references if that is acceptable. Greensburger (talk) 03:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I actually corrected the article right away - I somehow got logged out, so it doesn't show that I did it. Nicklausse (talk) 15:48, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

The following sentence was deleted: "No inscriptions have yet been found verifying kings from the Early Dynastic I period. ref Cambridge Ancient History, third edition, Vol I, part 2, page 244. /ref" What is your reference for ED I inscriptions being found? Greensburger (talk) 01:18, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

It's trivial, because the actual earliest inscription is mentioned several times. Sumerophile (talk) 01:49, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Was that inscription in Kish? Are some ED I kings now known? If memory serves, there is no clear distinction between ED I and II except for the shape of cylinder seals. Greensburger (talk) 02:05, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes that inscription with Enmebaragesi, which is the earliest attested so far, so by implication earlier kings have not yet been attested, no matter what size their cylinder seals. Sumerophile (talk) 02:23, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Thorkild Jacobsen[edit]

It seems like there should be a reference or footnote for Jacobsen, being the definitive (though not final) authority on the SKL i.e.

  Thorkild Jacobsen. The Sumerian King List. Assyriological Studies, no. 11.
  Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (1939) ISBN 0-226-62273-8.

Ploversegg (talk) 18:58, 14 February 2008 (UTC)ploveregg

This list comes from the Oxford compilation: The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, but I agree that we shouldn't just gloss over Jacobsen. Perhaps something could be added about his contribution to our knowledge of the king list.
Sumerophile (talk) 21:13, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Also, the link to Chronology of the Acient Orient warps to Chronology of the Ancient Near East anyway, so it might make sense to just make it that. And I think that the reign of Sargon is really around 55 years (and the kings up to the end of his line should add to 157 years).

Ploversegg (talk) 01:34, 17 February 2008 (UTC)ploversegg

Any years given come from archaeology, but the lengths of reigns (including the long reigns of earlier kings) are the traditional lengths given in the king list itself. Sumerophile (talk) 18:28, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Hm, well seemed like a decent translation of the SKL to me, but I'm newish to WP so I'll defer to your judgement. Ploversegg (talk) 22:21, 19 February 2008 (UTC)ploversegg

It doesn't mean the traditional lengths of rule are correct, but the document exists as it is, and shouldn't be altered. I added the archaeological years for ease of reference. Sumerophile (talk) 23:11, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Early kings[edit]

This article is about the king list and what it states.

Discussion about the historicity of any of the kings belongs in the introduction, not in the midst of the list itself. In any case, there is no reason to assume there isn't a grain of truth to any of the unattested kings or to dismiss them as fictional. It would be more likely that figures with legends surrounding them, such as Gilgamesh, would be fictional additions to a king list, rather than figures with no other background that we know of. Either way, we have no way of knowing whether or not these early kings have any historical basis; the king list gives these names and it should be left at that. The introduction mentions their possibly mythical nature, but doesn't make statements beyond the information we have.

IansAwesomePizza (talk) 14:05, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I concur completely. SamEV (talk) 22:14, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Parallels to lifespans in Genesis[edit]

While there is a brief mention of the similar chronologies of the Sumerian King List and biblical narrative in Chronology of the ancient Near East, I think that it would be significant to note within this article that the pre-flood lifespans mentioned in this list parallel (despite their length) the pre-flood lifespans listed in Genesis 5. Whether or not the biblical narrative borrowed from this much earlier source is irrelevant to the topic; however, I think that some note regarding these similarities would help round out the article in matters of historical significance. Eloise872 (talk) 22:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Yes, but if you make that edit, please source it, even though the parallel has been remarked on since antiquity. SamEV (talk) 23:54, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
What parallel? Someone the Person (talk) 21:47, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
It looks like someone added a mention of the parallel, but they put that "It has been suggested that this manuscript could serve to support certain details that are set forth in the Book of Genesis, where, similarly, individuals live for an extraordinary length of time prior to a great flood, and then for a lesser amount of time after said flood." While the parallel is certainly worth noting, because the cultures may have influenced each other, saying that the Sumerian King List supports the factuality of Genesis is not in any way supported by the evidence or mainstream scholars. Also, "It has been suggested" is weasel words. Basically, until a better source about the parallel is found, the sentence should be removed.Punkrockrunner (talk) 22:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)punkrockrunner

Could Early Kings Chronology Represent Months Not Years?[edit]

I have long had a theory that the early chronology of the kings lists are flawed because they somehow mistook months for years as if you break this down by months, 900 years would equal 75 years if those 900 years were actually 900 months. It would not be unreasonable to think they measured time differently (as they obviously did) and maybe instead of counting years, they counted months in relation to a kings rule so that while mere commoners counted their lives in annual cycles, kings and royals counted their years by monthly cycles to make them appear more godlike? That would make sense and then at some point, they too shift to annual cycles. There would be no break in how they recorded their age as possibly they just kept records but didn't revise them.

If you count their years in monthly cycles, suddenly this makes sense. This is a discussion about the Sumerian kings and chronology is important in this regard. Examine what I said and suddenly, the age of the kings makes some sort of sense. King Zamug, for instance, ruled for 120 years it says. Break it down by months and he ruled 11 years and 8 months. While King Etana would be listed as ruling for 1500 months or 125 years, maybe this was two kings with the son bearing his fathers name and in their time, they didn't separate kings who bore their fathers names and ruled after them because the people only knew that King Etana ruled and not that the son replaced the father?

Some food for thought maybe. (Armorbeast (talk) 06:56, 5 February 2011 (UTC))

We can't do much with it here, what with the WP:NOR policy and all. We have to stick to whatever analysis published sources give. Even so, nobody can assume too much about how the figures got that way, so many theories are possible. Mine is that some of them were originally counting from Enmerkar, while others were exaggerated in favor of Kish, and others were simply corrupted in the different copies. But that's also irrelevant, unless a published source held a similar view. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 07:33, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

I actually beleive their days, which makes the reing fo the 8 Antedeluvian kings begin 670 years before The Flood. Lined up with Bible's pre Flood chrnlogy that's a year before Enoch was taken out of the Earth.

Middle Chronology Vs Short[edit]

Now I'm hearing the Middle Chronology is once agian favored yet this page still only lists the Short dates. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 23 May 2011 (UTC)


LOL irt is impossible, that one ruled between the 35th und 30th century BC for 28.000 years.-- (talk) 10:02, 30 May 2014 (UTC)


Is it proper to call cuneiform tablets manuscripts? BTW Jacobson is here: (talk) 13:59, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Sure, why wouldn't an inscription made manually be a manuscript? (talk) 14:03, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Repeated insertion of "conjectured" dates for fantastic figures[edit]

I object to User:SamEV's repeated insertion of "conjectural" dates for mythological or fantastic antediluvian figures on the list from Alulim to Ziusudra, in default of any reliable scholarly sources who consider these characters to be historical figures who really lived, let alone calculate any precise date for their supposed existence. If such a source can be found, it would be one matter. However, User:SamEV is insisting that these are the correct dates for the mythological figures arrived at by "consensus" by the wikipedia article authors, and no scholarly source specifically dating these figures is required. Apart from "WP:Ignore all rules" I can't imagine any possible justification for history being written and dates fabricated by wikipedia consensus. Per the WP:OR Original research and WP:VER Verifiability policies, we must stick to presenting only views that appear cited in independent scholarship. User SamEV has repeatedly reverted the dates back in, without addressing this or discussing, saying only in the edit summary that I need to bring it here to discussion first. Now that I've done so, if the falsified dates continue to be asserted against OR, I suggest it ought to be taken to the incident board. Philip Mexico (talk) 21:34, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for agreeing to give proper discussion a chance.
What I have entered in the date field is exactly what scholars and the article claim: that the alleged antediluvians, whether they existed or not, are "purported" to correspond to the time of the Jemdet Nasr Period or earlier, i.e. before 2900 BCE, the date SCHOLARS dertermine to be that of the flood deposits found in Mesopotamia at the end of the Jemdet Nasr.
As the article already states, Enmebaragesi of Kish, a post-diluvian king on the List, has been attested archaeologically, and so it is proposed that King Gilgamesh, his near-contemporary/enemy in mythology, may also prove to have been real. It is especially in light of that that my wording preserves neutrality in regards to the antediluvians. Calling them 'mythological' outright is self-evidently not neutral.
Also, please refrain from using words like "falsified", as they violate the policy to Assume Good Faith WP:AGF. SamEV (talk) 23:30, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Since you have reverted again to edit war and are continuing to insist your original research is sufficient, and a source providing any such dates for these specific kings is not required, this will now have to go to ANI. While you may have a source for the "Jemdet Nasr" period, you have failed to come up with any source making the same claim you are making, that Alulim is thought by anyone to be a real king who would have reigned at the specific time you arbitrarily chose through original research. Please read the inviolable WP:OR page carefully and particularly the policy on WP:SYNTH and you will see I am correct. Philip Mexico (talk) 01:51, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
When did I claim that the antediluvians are real? SamEV (talk) 15:14, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
NOTE: The verifiability of Enmebaragesi, dated more like 2400 BC, is thought by reputable scholars to lend credibility to the historicity of his "postdiluvian" contemporaries such as Gilgamesh, but not in any way has anyone suggested that Alulim through Ziusudra were historical on the basis of Enmebaragesi's existence. Without any source objecting to their universally agreed mythologicical status or showing that some scholars believe them historical, it does not seem that anyone but you has ever objected to it. Philip Mexico (talk) 16:33, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
WP:BURDEN, which is a policy here, specifically indicates that it is the responsibility of anyone seeking to add information to provide a reason for the inclusion of the information. It is any editor's right to question the inclusion of that information, and, if insufficient response is received, to even remove it. Therefore, I suggest that SamEv more clearly act in accord with our conventions here and provide himself evidence that the figures in question are counted as historical. I am going to assume that there are more than a few RS's which discuss this matter, some of them probably easily available, and it shouldn't be difficult to find sources which talk about them one way or another. If anyone has any problems finding such sources, WP:RX can help in acquiring some. John Carter (talk) 18:53, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

Could Early Kings Chronology List Numbers of Kings per Dynasty?[edit]

Could the list of antediluvian rulers actually be a list of dynasties, with the length of the reign being the number of kings in each dynasty? There are a few reasons why this might be the case:

  • The conversion factors used are sar=3,600 and ner=600. But also "sar" means "king", as in Sargon. (BTW, the sar count adds up to 66.) Specifically, "šarru" means "king" in Akkadian, per Sargon_of_Akkad. Could the scribe have chosen to write the number 3600 because it was a homophone of "king" that was easier to write (with fewer stylus markings)?
  • The chronology shows the capital falling after 5 of the 8 reigns. Such a disruptive event seems more likely occur at the end of a dynasty than at the end of so many individual reigns within a dynasty.
  • It seems an extremely unusual that 6 of the 8 reigns would happen to last a multiple of 3600 years. Small whole numbers suggest something discrete being counted.

However, this re-interpretation gives rise to at least two questions:

  • What would the number of "ners" for the last two antediluvian kings (En-men-dur-ana and Ubara-Tutu) suggest, if not groups of 600 years? From an online search I found the book Sumerian Hymns from Cuneiform Texts in the British Museum, which seems to indicate that "ner" has something to do with "light". Could this represent a number of days (sun-lights), months (moon-lights), or years between dynasties?
  • I don't want to violate WP:NOR (besides, I'm not a Sumerian scholar), so does someone know if this idea has already been published somewhere? Or considered and rejected for a good reason?

Dotyoyo (talk) 09:01, 23 March 2017 (UTC)