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King of Uruk
Utu-Khegal, Prince of the Summerian city of Erech, imploring victory against the Gutian king Tirikan.jpg
Utu-Hegal, Prince of the Summerian city of Uruk, praying for victory against the Gutian king Tirigan. 19th century illustration.
Reignc. 2055  BC – 2048  BC
Dynasty5th Dynasty of Uruk

Utu-hengal (also written Utu-heg̃al, Utu-heĝal, and sometimes transcribed as Utu-hegal, Utu-hejal, Utu-Khengal) was one of the first native kings of Sumer after centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule, and was at the origin of the foundation of the Third Dynasty of Ur by his son-in-law Ur-Nammu.

Life and reign[edit]

Part of a stone monument inscribed with the name of Utu-hegal, king of Uruk. Circa 2125 BCE. From Ur, Iraq. The British Museum, London

There are several theories regarding his background. The most common is that he was a governor of Uruk who revolted against the Gutian kings in c. 2050 BC.[citation needed] He led the cities of Sumer against the last Gutian king Tirigan. After a battle at an unknown location, Utu-Hengal was victorious and forced Tirigan to flee back towards Gutium.[1] Tirigan fled to the city of Dubrum (location unknown) where the people treated him kindly. However, once the people of Dubrum heard that Utu-Hengal was marching towards the city they took Tirigan and his family prisoner. He was brought before Utu-Hengal, and agreed to leave Sumer and retreat back to Gutium.[2] After defeating the Gutians, Utu-hengal established himself as the king of Sumer. In the seventh year of the kingship he tragically died in an accident when inspecting a dam,[citation needed] and was succeeded by his son-in-law, the governor of Ur, Ur-Nammu, as the king of Sumer. He was thus the only king of the fifth dynasty of Uruk. In fact Sumerian people have always treated Utu-hengal's kingship and the Ur III dynasty together as a single continuous dynasty, with Utu-hengal as the founder. Utu-hengal has been praised as one of the greatest historical figures and heroes of Sumerian people.


Utu-hengal had a daughter who married Ur-Nammu and gave birth to his successor, Shulgi, and was therefore related by marriage to the third dynasty of Ur. He was an ancestor of Amar-Sin.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer (2010-09-17). The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0 226 45238 7., p. 37
  2. ^ As described in the document translated by Kramer, The Summerians, pp. 325f