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The enigma of the “Royal Sumerian List”.
The Royal Sumerian list is an ancient text written in Sumerian language, which lists the Sumer rulers with their duration of their reigns. In addition to established historical references, the text also lists the antediluvian rulers, whose reign lasted until 40,000 years! The Sumerians believed that the kingship was given by the gods and that it could go from one city to another with military conquests. Among the many stunning relics recovered in the various archaeological sites of Iraq, where once stood the flourishing Sumerian cities, few are more intriguing of the Royal List Sumerian. It is an ancient manuscript originally written in Sumerian language, in which are listed all the kings of Sumer (southern Iraq), with the respective duration of their kingdoms.
What makes this article so unique is the listing of both the pre-dynastic rulers, that lived before the flood, both of those historians, of which archaeological research has affirmed their real existence. It is unclear why the Sumerians had the need to also enter the predynastic kingdoms in the official list of kings. Some Assyriologists think that this is the next addition, dictated by the need to refer to a mythical past. But there are those who firmly believes that the pre-dynastic list refers to a real previous prehistoric times to the great global flood.
The first fragment of this extraordinary text was identified by the German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht on an ancient tablet of 4,000 years discovered in the archaeological site of ancient Nippur. The discovery was published in 1906. After the discovery of Hilprecht, they were found at least 18 units of the Royal List, most of which dates back to the Isin Dynasty (2017-1794 BC). The materials have different discrepancies. However, scholars believe that the common materials in all versions of the list is enough to believe that all derive from a single original. Among all the copies of the list, the most complete version is represented by the Weld-Blundell prism, preserved in the Museum of Oxford.
It is a parallelepiped approximately 10 cm high, with the four major sides completely engraved with cuneiform characters. It is believed that originally there was a wooden spindle to pass in its center, so as to be rotated and read on all four sides. The prism lists the antediluvian era rulers until the last sovereign Isin dynasty (1763-1753 BC). The list is of immense historical value and because it reflects many ancient traditions, like the one that underlies the biblical Genesis, is important because it provides a chronological framework for different periods of Sumerian history.
The Royal Sumerian list begins with a list of the first eight kings who were before a great flood. After the flood, the various city states and their dynasties have given the war for the conquest of power in the kingdom. None of the eight kings had historical confirmation from archaeological excavations, inscriptions or other inscription. It is possible that they date to the period corresponding to that of Jemdet Nasr culture, which ended around 2900 BC. However, what gives rise is the immense chronological duration of governments. The list starts with the very origin of the royalty, seen as an institution of divine origin: “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingdom was dwelling in Eridu. In Eridu, Alulim became king; He reigned for 28,800 years”. The kingdoms are measured in “will”, a period that corresponds to 3600 years, and “ner”, units worth 600, revealing a series of incredibly long Kingdoms: Alulim of Eridu: 8 sars (28,800 years)
Alalgar of Eridu: 10 sars (36,000 years)
En-Men-Ana Lu-Bad-tibira: 12 sars (43,200 years)
En-Men-Gal-Ana Bad-tibira: 8 sars (28,800 years)
Bad-tibira Dumuzi, the shepherd: 10 sars (36,000 years)
En-Sipad-Zid-Ana LARAG: 8 sars (28,000 years)
En-Men-Dur-Ana Zimbir: 5 and 5 ners sars (21,000 years)
Ubara-Tutu Shuruppak: 5 and 1 ner sars (18,600 years)
Therefore, the first eight of Sumer sovereign cover a total of 241,200 years from the time when “kingship descended from heaven”. Then, as reported in the document: “After the Flood wiped out everything and the kingship was descended from heaven, the kingdom was dwelling in Kish”.
The long reign of the Sumerian rulers are not easily explainable, staying long subject to different interpretations. At one extreme, there are those who dismisses the matter as an attempt to mythologizing historical figures, emphasizing the figures with the power and importance. At the other extreme there are those who believes that the numbers have a basis in reality, and that the first Sumerian king were beings from another world to live much longer than humans. In my opinion, the Sumerian Royal List indicates the first settlements created by the Anunnaki on Earth, listing the reigns of the first Anunnaki leaders before the Deluge.
After the flood, the extraordinary lengths of Sumerian kingdoms gradually decrease until it reaches “human standards”. Some scholars have called attention to the presence of significant concordance between the Royal List Sumer and as reported in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, for example, it is told the story of the great flood and Noah’s effort to rescue all species of land animals.
In addition, the Sumerian list provides a list of eight kings who ruled before the flood; the same way, Genesis reports that between Adam and Noah exist eight generations.
Finally, after the flood, the royal Sumerian records list a gradual shortening of the duration of the kingdoms; the same way, Genesis, in the aftermath of the flood, reported a gradual decrease in the longevity of men.
Thus, the Sumerian Royal List remains a precious stone, with many mysteries yet to be revealed, because the Sumerians have thought of having to list mythical kings and historians in a single document? Because there are so many similarities with Genesis? Because the Sumerians thought the antediluvian kings had ruled for thousands of years?
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