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)