GUDEA OF LAGASH
This remarkable man came to the patesi-ship in the most troubled period of the history of Sumer. His date is somewhat uncertain, but he lived in all probability under the rule of the kings of Gutium, who, however, are not mentioned in the archives of his reign. From the style of the writing and the names of the months it would seem that he reigned shortly after the period of Akkad. But although the numerous monumental inscriptions of Gudea are written in old classical Sumerian, many of the inhabitants of Lagash have Semitic names, and Semitic phrases appear in the temple records. The majority of the people, the priesthood and the ruling classes are still Sumerian, but their decline before the aggressive Semite of Akkad is now apparent, and the population of Lagash has become cosmopolitan. Placed by circumstances in a position where his activity was confined to literature and architecture, Gudea exercised a profound influence upon the religion of Sumer. Not as a temporal ruler, but as the apostle of classical literature and the mysteries of the gods, did he obtain posthumous deification. In the days of the Sumerian revival, when the empire of Ur was recognized throughout Western Asia, he was one of the rulers of the past who was remembered as a divine man. A record from Umma in the time of Ibi-Sin mentions offerings to Gudea, where he is mentioned with the deified kings of Ur. The divine Gudea, patesi, received libations of wine and meal at the feast of the new moon at Lagash, and it is probable that his cult was recognized in all the Sumerian cities and that his was supposed to reside in one of the stars.
His year-dates point to his interest in the temples and their cults. His most ambitious undertaking was a complete reconstruction and enlargement of the temple of Eninnu on the northern mound where his predecessor, Ur-Bau, had already labored. Concerning this work Gudea caused to be written two fine hollow clay cylinders; they are now styled Cylinders A and B, and carry 30 and 21 columns respectively. They comprise a long religious poem on the origin of the temple plan, the sacred chapels, emblems, and the attributes of the gods. Cylinder A begins with the “Dream of Gudea”, in which he describes his dream, and tells how Nina the goddess of oracles interpreted it to mean that Ningirsu had appeared to him as a mighty man with the storm-bird at his side, the hurricane at his feet, and had ordered him to build Eninnu. And the maiden who had appeared to him holding a tablet of the stars was Nidaba, goddess of numbers and writing. Other figures and signs of the dream are explained to him by the goddess Nina, whose cult was located at the city Nina. Mention is also made of the voyage to Sirara in Nina(ki) to consult the oracle of the water-goddess Nina. After the interpretation of his dream Gudea performed ceremonial acts of lustration and liturgies in Eninnu. After a prayer to Ningirsu he again fell asleep and his god appeared to him in his dreams, commanding him to rebuild the temple, “whose name shall call together the lands from the boundaries of heaven, even Magan and Melukhkha shall it bring up from their mountains”. The god then gives instructions concerning the chapels and sacred emblems of Eninnu.
In preparation for his construction the patesi cleansed Lagash of all evil and injustice. Evil wizards were expelled from the city. Heaps of fragrant woods were burned on the altars. Prayers were made by day and petitions by night. In the province and in the city, “where the tumult of man is”, he levied taxes. The Elamites and the inhabitants of Magan and Melukhkha brought timber. From the “cedar mountains”, where he claims none had penetrated before him, he brought cedar. The cedar mountains were the Amanus range between Syria and Cilicia, and more than two centuries previously Sargon had claimed to have reached the cedar forests. He speaks of obtaining juniper wood and various kinds of cedars and plantain from this region. In one of his statuary inscriptions he says that he obtained these at the Ursu and the Ibla mountains, that is Rhosus and the Pieria range north of Antioch. Gypsum and asphalt were brought by ship from Madga. The Madga mountains lay in the province of the city Rimash, whence he obtained copper, and both are probably to be located in the foothills of the Zagros range along the Diyala.
THE STATUES OF GUDEA
The most important statue is a life-size seated figure of Gudea with a long inscription in nine columns engraved on the back, hips and lower part of the vestment.
All Sumerian statues were given mystical names, and the inscription of Statue B describes how it was called: “To my king I have built his statue, may life be my reward”. When the temple was finished this statue was installed and a great holiday proclaimed to the people of Lagash. For seven days old customs were abolished, maid became like her mistress, and servant walked beside his master. The whole temple was purged.
In the interest of justice, like Urukagina before him, Gudea applied the laws of Nina and Ningirsu. "The rich man did the orphan no evil, the rich man oppressed not the widow. As for the house without a son, its daughter entered as its heir". Then the patesi expresses the hope that this statue may be present at the parentalia or libations to his soul when he is dead, and in fact the temple-archives of a century later mention offerings of sheep, meal and oil for the soul of Gudea. The inscription then terminates with a long curse upon him who interferes with his temple or damages the text in any way.
Gudea is referred to as a king in an epic which was composed not more than two centuries after his death:
I am lord; thou art made fit for my heroic arm.
The king who will bequeath his name to life of far-off days,
Who will fashion a statue for eternal days,
In Eninnu, the temple which is filled with festivity,
At the place of the mortuary libations... fittingly may he set thee.
A similar statue of almost the same dimensions and in the same pose is Statue F. It is perhaps the finest example of Sumerian sculpture. The head is missing. An inscription commemorates the building of the temple of Gatumdug in the “Holy City”. In the construction of Eninnu itself, Gudea employed two different stamps for his bricks, recording in nearly identical terms the building of Eninnu. In the north-eastern part of the central mound of Girsu the excavators found a building with two huge brick pillars two meters distant from each other. Each pillar consists of four columns; a layer is made by laying eight triangular bricks around a small circular brick centre-piece, the next layer in the column consists of one large circular brick and the third layer repeats the triangle brick layer by making the triangles shorter and encasing them in semicircular bricks. The space between the four columns is filled in by four bricks cut with straight backs, semicircular faces to fit the columns and angular ends to join each other. These bricks bear an inscription which refers to the building of Eninnu and the placing of an aga of cedar therein. The pillars cannot possibly belong to the great temple of the northern mound, and the only explanation seems to be that the inscription does not refer to the pillars at all, but to a part of Eninnu. The aga is said to have been made of cedar and to have been a council chamber, dedicated to the goddess Bau, wherein stood a ship and a bull-image. Eninnu contained another aga, the Ku-Lal at the Gate of Battle, where stood a sculptured figure of a god in the act of slaying a seven-headed ram. Gatumdug, the beneficent bearer of milk, is a local title of the mother-goddess, Bau, patroness of healing and child-birth, a married type of Nintud and consort of Ningirsu. Gudea often speaks of having been borne by this goddess, Mother of Lagash. Since Statue F commemorates the building of the temple of Gatumdug and was found in the Parthian palace on the great temple-mound the supposition is that it was carried there from the temple of Bau, which probably stood in the north-eastern part of Girsu. A fine marble lion's head, almost natural size, is inscribed in memory of the construction of the temple of Gatumdug in the Holy City.
We have no information as to the events which led to his accession, beyond the negative evidence afforded by the complete absence of any genealogy from his inscriptions. Like Ur-Bau, Gudea does not name his father, and it is possible that he was a man of obscure or doubtful birth. The energy which he displayed as patesi is sufficient to account for his rise to power, and the success which attended his period of rule may be held to have amply justified a break in the succession. Another problem suggested by a study of his texts concerns the source of the wealth which enabled him to undertake the rebuilding and refurnishing of the temples of Lagash upon so elaborate a scale. The cause of such activity we should naturally seek in the booty obtained during a number of successful campaigns, but throughout the whole of his inscriptions we have only a single reference to an act of war. On the statue of himself in the character of an architect, holding the plan of E-ninnu upon his knees, he gives in some detail an account of the distant regions whence he obtained the materials for the construction of Ningirsu's temple. At the close of this list of places and their products, as though it formed a continuation of his narrative, he adds the record that he smote with his weapons the town of Anshan in Elam and offered its booty to Ningirsu. This is the only mention of a victory that occurs in Gudea's inscriptions, and, although in itself it proves that he was sufficiently independent to carry on a war in Elam on his own account, it does not throw hght upon the other causes of his success.
The absence of military records from Gudea's texts is rendered the more striking, when we read the names of the countries he laid under contribution for the materials employed in the building of E-ninnu. The fullest geographical list is that given on the statue of the architect with the plan, and, although unfortunately some of the places mentioned have still to be identified, the text itself furnishes sufficient information to demonstrate the wide area of his operations. Gudea here tells us that from Mount Amanus, the mountain of cedars, he fetched beams of cedar-wood measuring fifty and even sixty cubits in length, and he also brought down from the mountain logs of urkarinnu-wood five-and-twenty cubits long. From the towi of Ursu in the mountain of Ibla he brought zabalu-wood, great beams of ashukhu-wood and plane-trees. From Umanu, a mountain of Menua, and from Basalla, a mountain of Amurru, he obtained great blocks of stone and made stelae from them, which he set up in the court of E-ninnu. From Tidanu, another mountain of Amurru, he brought pieces of marble, and from Kagalad, a mountain of Kimash, he extracted copper, which he tells us he used in making a great mace-head. From the mountains of Melukhkha he brought ushu-wood, which he employed in the construction of the temple, and he fetched gold-dust from the mountain of Khakhu and with it he gilded a mace-head carved with the heads of three lions. In Gubin, the mountain of khuluppu-wood, he felled khuluppu-trees; from Madga he obtained asphalt, which he used in making the platform of E-ninnu; and from the mountain of Barshib he brought down blocks of nalua-stone, which he loaded into great boats and so carried them to Lagash in order to strengthen the base of the temple.
The above list of places makes it clear that Gudea obtained his wood and stone from mountains on the coast of Syria and in Arabia, and his copper from mines in Elam. On the first of his cylinders he also states that the Elamite came from Elam and the man of Susa from Susa, presumably to take part as skilled craftsmen in the construction of the temple. In this account he does not mention the names of so many places as in the statue-inscription, but he adds some picturesque details with regard to the difficulties of transport he encountered. Thus he records that into the mountain of cedars, where no man before had penetrated, he cut a road for bringing down the cedars and beams of other precious woods. He also made roads into the mountains where he quarried stone, and, in addition to gold and copper, he states that he obtained silver also in the mountains. The stone he transported by water, and he adds that the ships bringing bitumen and plaster from Madga were loaded as though they were barges carrying grain.
A third passage in Gudea's texts, referring to the transport of materials from a distance, occurs upon the colossal statue of himself which he erected in E-ninnu. Here he states that Magan, Melukhkha, Gubi, and Dilmun collected wood, and that ships loaded with wood of all kinds came to the port of Lagash. Moreover, on eight out of his eleven statues he records that the diorite, from which he fashioned them, was brought from Magan. In his search for building materials, he asserts that he journeyed from the lower country to the upper country; and, when summarizing the area over which he and his agents ranged, he adopts an ancient formula, and states that Ningirsu, his beloved king, opened the ways for him from the Upper to the Lower Sea, that is to say, from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
The enumeration of these distant countries, and Gudea's boastful reference to the Upper and the Lower Sea, might, perhaps, at first sight be regarded as constituting a claim to an empire as extensive as that of Sargon and Naram-Sin. But it is a remarkable fact that, with the exception of Lagash and her constituent townships, Gudea's texts make no allusion to cities or districts situated within the limits of Sumer and Akkad. Even the names of neighbouring great towns, such as Ur, Erech, and Larsa, are not once cited, and it can only be inferred that they enjoyed with Lagash an equal measure of independence. But if Gudea's authority did not extend over neighbouring cities and districts within his own country, we can hardly conclude that he exercised an effective control over more distant regions. In fact, we must treat his references to foreign lands as evidence of commercial, not of political, expansion.
Gudea's reign may be regarded as marking a revival of Sumerian prosperity, consequent on the decay of Semitic influence and power in the north. The fact that he was able to import his wood and stone from Syria, and float it unmolested down the Euphrates, argues a considerable weakening of the northern cities. Whether Akkad, or some other city, still claimed a nominal suzerainty over the southern districts it is impossible to say, but it is at least clear that in the reign of Gudea no such claim was either recognized or enforced. We may suppose that Lagash and the other great cities in the south, relieved from the burden of Semitic domination, enjoyed a period of peace and tranquillity, which each city employed for the development of her material resources. The city of Ur was soon to bring this state of affairs to a close, by claiming the hegemony among the southern cities and founding the kingdom of Sumer and Akkad by force of arms. But during Gudea's reign Ur appears to have made no movement, and Lagash and the other great cities of the land may be pictured as maintaining commercial relations with each other, unhampered by the striving of any one of them for political supremacy.
It is possible that we may trace the unparalleled building activity, which characterized Gudea's reign, in part to a development in the art of building, which appears to have taken place at about this period. It has been suggested that both Gudea and Ur-Engur, the founder of the Dynasty of Ur, participated in the same great architectural movement, and proof of this has been seen in their common employment of the smaller square brick, measuring from about twelve to thirteen inches, which was more easy to handle than the larger bricks employed by Ur-Bau and at the time of the Dynasty of Akkad. The inherent advantages of this form of brick are attested by its retention, with but slight variations, down to the end of the Babylonian empire. That Gudea himself set considerable store by the form of the bricks which he employed would seem to follow from the passage in his first cylinder-inscription, where he describes the ceremonies with which he inaugurated their manufacture, including the offer of sacrifices and the pouring of a libation into the sacred mould. The use of an improved material may well have incited him to rebuild the greater number of the sanctuaries in Lagash on their ancient sites, but enlarged and beautified in accordance with the new architectural ideas. From another passage in his texts it would seem that he definitely claimed to have inaugurated a novel form of building, or decoration, such as no patesi before him had employed. The meaning of the phrase is not quite certain, but it may, perhaps, have reference to the sculptured reliefs with which he adorned E-ninnu. It may also refer to the use of raised pilasters for the adornment of facades and external walls, a form that is characteristic of later Babylonian architecture, but is not found in the remains of buildings at Lagash before Gudea's time.
In addition to E-ninnu, the great temple of the city-god Ningirsu, Gudea records that he rebuilt the shrines dedicated to Bau and Ninkharsag, and E-anna, the temple of the goddess Ninni, and he erected temples to Galalim and Dunshagga, two of Ningirsu's sons. In Uru-azagga he rebuilt Gatumdug's temple, and in Girsu three temples to Nindub, Meslamtaea, and Nindar, the last of whom was associated with the goddess Nina, in whose honour he made a sumptuous throne. In Girsu, too, he built a temple to Ningishzida, his patron god, whom he appears to have introduced at this time into the pantheon of Lagash. One of the most novel of his reconstructions was the E-pa, the temple of the seven zones, which he erected for Ningirsu. Gudea's building probably took the form of a tower in seven stages, a true ziggurat, which may be compared with those of Ur-Engur. But the work on which he most prided himself was the rebuilding of E-ninnu, and to this he devoted all the resources of his city. From a study of the remains of this temple that were uncovered at Tello by M. de Sarzec, it would appear that Gudea surrounded the site of Ur-Bau's earlier building with an enclosure, of which a gateway and a tower, decorated with pilasters in relief, are all that remains. These were incorporated in the structure of the late palace at Tello, a great part of which was built with bricks from the ancient temple. It is difficult to determine the relation of these slight remains at Tello, either to the building described by Gudea himself, or to the plan of a fortified enclosure which one of the statues of Gudea, as an architect, holds upon his Knees. That the plan was intended, at any rate, for a portion of the temple is clear from the inscription, to the effect that Gudea prepared the statue for E-ninnu, which he had just completed.
The detailed account of the building of this temple, which Gudea has left us, affords a very vivid picture of the religious life of the Sumerians at this epoch, and of the elaborate ritual with which they clothed the cult and worship of their gods. The record is given upon two huge cylinders of clay, one of which was inscribed while the work of building was still in progress, and the other after the building and decoration of the temple had been completed, and Ningirsu had been installed within his shrine. They were afterwards buried as foundation-records in the structure of the temple itself, and so have survived in a wonderfully well-preserved condition, and were recovered during the French excavations at Tello. From the first of the cylinders we learn that Gudea decided to rebuild the temple of the city-god in consequence of a prolonged drought, which was naturally ascribed to the anger of the gods. The water in the rivers and canals had fallen, the crops had suffered, and the land was threatened with famine, when one night the patesi had a vision, by means of which the gods communicated their orders to him.
Gudea tells us that he was troubled because he could not interpret the meaning of the dream, and it was only after he had sought and received encouragement from Ningirsu and Gatumdug that he betook himself to the temple of Nina, the goddess who divines the secrets of the gods. From her he learnt that the deities who had appeared to him in his vision had been Ningirsu, the god of his city, Ningishzida, his patron deity, his sister Nidaba, and Nindub, and that certain words he had heard uttered were an order that he should build E-ninnu. He had beheld Nindub drawing a plan upon a tablet of lapis-lazuli, and this Nina explained was the plan of the temple he should build. Nina added instructions of her own as to the gifts and offerings the patesi was to make to Ningirsu, whose assistance she promised him in the carrying out of the work. Gudea then describes in detail how he obtained from Ningirsu himself a sign that it was truly the will of the gods that he should build the temple, and how, having consulted the omens and found them favourable, he proceeded to purify the city by special rites. In the course of this work of preparation he drove out the wizards and sorcerers from Lagash, and kindled a fire of cedar and other aromatic woods to make a sweet savour for the gods; and, after completing the purification of the city, he consecrated the surrounding districts, the sacred cedar-groves, and the herds and cattle belonging to the temple. He then tells us how he fetched the materials for the temple from distant lands, and inaugurated the manufacture of the bricks with solemn rites and ceremonies.
We are not here concerned with Gudea's elaborate description of the new temple, and of the sumptuous furniture, the sacred emblems, and the votive objects with which he enriched its numerous courts and shrines. A large part of the first cylinder is devoted to this subject, and the second cylinder gives an equally elaborate account of the removal of the god Ningirsu from his old shrine and his installation in the new one that had been prepared for him. This event took place on a duly appointed day in the new year, after the city and its inhabitants had undergone a second course of purification. Upon his transfer to his new abode Ningirsu was accompanied by his wife Bau, his sons, and his seven virgin daughters, and the numerous attendant deities who formed the members of his household. These included Galalim, his son, whose special duty it was to guard the throne and place the sceptre in the hands of the reigning patesi; Dunshagga, Ningirsu's water- bearer; Lugal-kurdub, his leader in battle; Lugal-sisa, his counsellor and chamberlain; Shakanshabar, his grand vizir; Uri-zi, the keeper of his harim; Ensignun, who tended his asses and drove his chariot; and Enlulim, the shepherd of his kids. Other deities who accompanied Ningirsu were his musician and flute-player, his singer, the cultivator of his lands, who looked after the machines for irrigation, the guardian of the sacred fish-ponds, the inspector of his birds and cattle, and the god who superintended the construction of houses within the city and fortresses upon the city-wall. All these deities were installed in special shrines within E-ninnu, that they might be near Ningirsu and ready at any moment to carry out his orders.
The important place which ritual and worship occupied in the national life of the Sumerians is well illustrated by these records of the building and conse- cration of a single temple. Gudea's work may have been far more elaborate than that of his predecessors, but the general features of his plan, and the ceremonies and rites which he employed, were doubtless fixed and sanctified by long tradition. His description of Ningirsu's entourage proves that the Sumerian city-god was endowed with all the attributes and enjoyed all the privileges of the patesi himself, his human counterpart and representative. His temple was an elaborate structure, which formed the true dwelling-place of its owner and his divine household ; and it included lodgings for the priests, treasure-chambers, store-houses, and granaries, and pens and stabling for the kids, sheep and cattle destined for sacrifice. It is interesting to note that in the course of building Gudea came across a stele of Lugal-kisalsi, an earlier king of Erech and Ur. From the name which he gave it we may infer that he found it in Girnun, which was probably one of the shrines or chapels attached to E-ninnu ; and he care- fully preserved it and erected it in the forecourt of the temple. In the respect which he showed for this earlier record, he acted as Nabonidus did at a later day, when he came across the foundation-inscriptions of Naram-Sin and Shagarakti-Buriash in the course of his rebuilding of E-babbar and E-ulmash, the temples of Shamash and of the goddess Anunitu.
Of the artistic productions of Gudea's period the most striking that have come down to us are the series of diorite statues of himself, which were found together in the late palace at Tello. From the inscriptions upon them it is clear that they were originally prepared by the patesi for dedication in the principal temples of Lagash, which he either founded or rebuilt. Three were installed in E-ninnu, of which one is the statue of the architect with the plan, and another, a seated figure, is the only one of the series of colossal proportions. Three more were made for the temple of Bau, and others for Ninni's temple E-anna, and the temples of the goddesses Gatumdug and Ninkharsag. The small seated figure, destined for the temple of Ningishzida, is the only one of which we possess the head, for this was discovered by Commandant Cros during the more recent diggings at Tello, and was fitted by M. Heuzey to the body of the figure which had been preserved in the Louvre for many years. From the photographic reproduction it will be seen that the size of the head is considerably out of proportion to that of the body; and it must be admitted that even the larger statues are not all of equal merit. While in some of them the stiffness of archaic convention is still apparent, others, such as the seated statues for E-ninnu and that of the architect with the rule from the temple of Gatumdug, are dis- tinguished by a fine naturalism and a true sense of proportion.
Some interesting variations of treatment may also be noted in two of the standing statues from the temple of Bau. One of these is narrow in the shoulders and slender of form, and is in striking contrast to the other, which presents the figure of a strong and broad-shouldered man. It would seem that the statues were sculptured at different periods of Gudea's life, and from the changes observable we may infer that he ascended the throne while still a young man and that his reign must have been a long one. The diorite which he used for them was very highly prized for its durability and beauty, and the large block that was required for his colossal figure appears, when the carving was completed, to have been regarded as far more precious than lapis-lazuli, silver, and other metals. Certainly the preparation of so hard a stone presented more difficulty than that of any other material, and that Gudea's sculptors should have learnt to deal successfully with such large masses of it argues a considerable advance in the development of their art.
The small copper figures of a kneeling god grasping a cone are also characteristic of Gudea's period, but in design and workmanship they are surpassed by the similar votive figure which dates from Ur-Bau's reign. A fine example of carving in relief is furnished by the oval panel, in which Gudea is represented as being led into the presence of his god; a similar scene of worship, though on a smaller scale, is engraved upon his cylinder- seal. A happy example of carving in the round, as exhibited by smaller objects of this period, is his small mace-head of breccia decorated with the heads of three lions. In design this clearly resembles the mace-head referred to on one of the statues from E-ninnu, though, unlike it, the small mace-head was probably not gilded, since the inscription upon it mentions the mountain in Syria whence the breccia was obtained. But other carved objects of stone that have been recovered may well have been enriched in that way, and to their underlying material they probably owe their preservation. The precious metal may have been stripped from these and the stone cores thrown aside ; but similar work in solid gold or silver would scarcely have escaped the plunderer's hands.
With the exception of the period of drought, in consequence of which Gudea decided to rebuild Ningirsu's temple, it is probable that during the greater part of his reign the state of Lagash enjoyed unparalleled abundance, such as is said to have followed the completion of that work. The date-formula for one of his years of rule takes its title from the cutting of a new canal which he named Ningirsu-ushumgal, and there is no doubt that he kept the elaborate system of irrigation, by which Lagash and her territories were supplied with water, in a perfect state of repair. Evidence of the plentiful supplies which the temple-lands produced may be seen in the increase of the regular offerings decreed by Gudea. On New Year's day, for instance, at the feast of Bau, after he had rebuilt her temple, he added to the marriage-gifts which were her due, consisting of oxen, sheep, lambs, baskets of dates, pots of butter, figs, cakes, birds, fish, and precious woods, etc. He also records special offerings of clothing and wool which he made to her, and of sacrificial beasts to Ningirsu and the goddess Nina. For the new temple of Gatumdug he mentions the gift of herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, together with their herdsmen and shepherds, and of irrigation-oxen and their keepers for the sacred lands of E-ninnu. Such refer-ences point to an increase in the revenues of the state, and we may infer that the people of Lagash shared the prosperity of their patesi and his priesthood.
While Gudea devoted himself to the service of his gods, he does not appear to have enriched the temples at the expense of the common people. He was a strict upholder of traditional privileges, such as the freedom from taxation enjoyed by Gu-edin, Ningirsu's sacred plain; but he did not countenance any acts of extortion on the part of his secular or sacred officials. That Gudea's ideal of government was one of order, law, and justice, and the protection of the weak, is shown by his description of the state of Lagash during the seven days he feasted with his people after the consecration of E-ninnu. He tells us that during this privileged time the maid was the equal of her mistress, and master and slave consorted together as friends; the powerful and the humble man lay down side by side, and in place of evil speech only propitious words were heard; the laws of Nina and Ningirsu were observed, and the rich man did not wrong the orphan, nor did the strong man oppress the widow. This reference to what was ap-parently a legal code, sanctioned by the authority of the city-god and of a goddess connected with the ancient shrine of Eridu, is of considerable interest. It recalls the reforms of the ill-fated Urukagina, who attempted to stamp out the abuses of his time by the introduction of similar legislation. Gudea lived in a happier age, and he appears to us, not as a reformer, but as the strong upholder of the laws in force.
That the reign of Gudea was regarded by the succeeding generations in Lagash as the golden age of their city may perhaps be inferred from his deification under the last kings of the Dynasty of Ur. There is no evidence that, like Sargon and Naram-Sin, he assumed divine honours during his own lifetime, for in his inscriptions his name is never preceded by the determinative of divinity, and it also occurs without the divine prefix upon the seals of Gimdunpae, his wife, and of Lugal-me, his scribe. In the later period his statues were doubtless worshipped, and it has been suggested that the perpetual offerings of drink and food and grain, which he decreed in connection with one of them, prove that it was assimilated from the first to that of a god. But the names of his statues suggest that they were purely votive in character, and were not placed in the temples in consequence of any claim to divinity on Gudea's part. It was the custom of the Sumerian patesis to give long and symbolical names to statues, stelae and other sacred objects which they dedicated to the gods, and Gudea's statues do not form an exception to this rule. Thus, before he introduced the statue with the offerings into E-ninnu, he solemnly named it "For-my-king-have-I-built-this-temple-may-life-be-my-reward!".
A smaller statue for E-ninnu was named "[The-Shepherd] who loveth his king am I may my life be prolonged!", while to the colossal statue for the same temple he gave the title "Ningirsu the king whose weigty strength the lands cannot support hath assigned a favourable lot unto Gudea the builder of the -temple." The small standing statue for the temple of Ninkharsag bore the equally long name "May Nintud (i.e. Ninkharsag ) the mother of the gods the arbiter of destinies in heaven and upon earth prolon the life of Gudea who hath built the temple!", and another small statue for the temple of Bau was named "The lady the beloved daughter of the pure heaven the mother goddess Bau in Esilsirsir hath given Gudea life." The statue for the temple of Ningishzida was named "To Gudea the builder of the temple hath life been given," and that for E-anna bore the title "Of Gudea the man who hath constructed the temple ma the-life be prolonged!". It will be seen that these names either assert that life and happiness have been granted to Gudea, or they invoke the deity addressed to prolong his life. In fact, they prove that the statues were originally placed in the temples like other votive objects, either in gratitude for past help, or to ensure a continuance of the divine favour.
Such evidence as we possess would seem to show that at the time of Gudea no Sumerian ruler had ever laid claim to divine rank. It is true that offerings were made in connection with the statue of Ur-Nina during Lugal-anda's reign, but Ur-Nina had never laid claim to divinity himself. Moreover, other high personages treated their own statues in the same way. Thus Shagshag, the wife of Urukagina, made offerings in connection with her own statue, but there is no evidence that she was deified. In fact, during the earlier periods, and also in Gudea's own reign, the statue was probably intended to represent the worshipper vicariously before his god. Not only in his lifetime, but also after death, the statue continued to plead for him. The offerings were not originally made to the statue itself, but were probably placed near it to represent symbolically the owner's offerings to his god.
This custom may have prepared the way for the practice of deification, but it did not originate in it. Indeed, the later development is first found among the Semitic kings of Akkad, and probably of Kish, but it did not travel southward until after the Dynasty of Ur had been established for more than a generation. Ur-Engur, like Gudea, was not deified in his own lifetime, and the innovation was only introduced by Dungi. During the reigns of the last kings of that dynasty the practice had been regularly adopted, and it was in this period that Gudea was deified and his cult established in Lagash along with those of Dungi and his con- temporary Ur-Lama I. By decreeing that offerings should be made to one of his statues, Gudea no doubt prepared the way for his posthumous deification, but he does not appear to have advanced the claim himself. That he should have been accorded this honor after death may be regarded as an indication that the splendour of his reign had not been forgotten.
Gudea was succeeded upon the throne of Lagash by his son Ur-Ningirsu, and with this patesi we may probably establish a point of contact between the rulers of Lagash and those of Ur. That he succeeded his father there can be no doubt, for on a ceremonial mace-head, which he dedicated to Ningirsu, and in other inscriptions we possess, he styles himself the son of Gudea and also patesi of Lagash. During his reign he repaired and rebuilt at least a portion of E-ninnu, for the British Museum possesses a gate-socket from this temple, and a few of his bricks have been found at Tello recording that he rebuilt in cedar-wood the Gigunu, a portion of the temple of Ningirsu, which Gudea had erected as symbolical of the Lower World. Moreover, tablets have been found at Tello which are dated in his reign, and from these we gather that he was patesi for at least three years, and probably longer. From other monuments we learn that a highly placed religious official of Lagash, who was a contemporary of Dungi, also bore the name of Ur-Ningirsu, and the point to be decided is whether we may identify this personage with Gudea's son.
the official, was high-priest of the goddess Nina, and he also held the
offices of priest of Enki and high-priest of Anu. Moreover, he was a
man of sufficient importance to stamp his name upon bricks which were
probably used in the construction of a temple at Lagash. That he was
Dungi's contemporary (Shulgi, Ur Dynasty III) is known from an
inscription upon a votive wig and head-dress in the British Museum,
which is made of diorite and was intended for a female statuette. The
text engraved upon this object states that it was made by a certain
Bau-ninam for his lady and divine protectress, who was probably the
goddess Bau, as an adornment for her gracious person, and his object in
presenting the offering was to induce her to prolong the life of Dungi,
"the mighty man, the King of Ur". The important part of the text
concerns Bau-ninam's description of himself as a craftsman, or
subordinate official, in the service of Ur-Ningirsu, "the beloved
high-priest of Nina." From this passage it is clear that Ur-Ningirsu was
high-priest in Lagash at a period when Dungi, king of Ur, exercised
suzerainty over that city. If therefore we are to identify him with
Gudea's son and successor, we must conclude that he had meanwhile been
deposed from the patesiate of Lagash, and appointed to the priestly
offices which we find him holding during Dungi's reign.
alternative suggestion that Ur-Ningirsu may have fulfilled his
sacerdotal duties during the lifetime of Gudea while he himself was
still crown-prince, is negatived by the subsequent discovery that during
the reign of Dungi's father, Ur-Engur, another patesi, named Ur-abba,
was on the throne of Lagash; for tablets have been found at Tello which
are dated in the reign of Ur-Engur and also in the patesiate of Urabba.
To reconcile this new factor with the preceding identification, we must
suppose that Ur-Ningirsu's deposition occurred in the reign of Ur-Engur,
who appointed Ur-abba as patesi in his place. According to this view,
Ur-Ningirsu was not completely stripped of honours, but his authority
was restricted to the purely rehgious sphere, and he continued to enjoy
his priestly appointments during the early part of Dungi's reign. There
is nothing impossible in this arrangement, and it finds support in
account-tablets from Tello, which belong to the period of Ur-Ningirsu's
reign. Some of the tablets mention supplies and give lists of precious
objects, which were destined for "the king", "the queen", "the king's
son", or " the king's daughter", and were received on their behalf by
the palace-chamberlain. Although none of these tablets expressly mention
Ur-Ningirsu, one of the same group of documents was drawn up in the
year which followed his accession as patesi, another is dated in a later
year of his patesiate, and all may be assigned with some confidence to
his period. The references to a "king" in the official account-lists
point to the existence of a royal dynasty, whose authority was
recognized at this time in Lagash. In view of the evidence afforded by
Bau-ninam's dedication we may identify the dynasty with that of Ur.
The acceptance of the synchronism carries with it the corollary that with Ur-Ningirsu's reign we have reached another turning point in the history, not only of Lagash, but of the whole of Sumer and Akkad. It is possible that Ur-Engur may have founded his dynasty in Ur before Gudea's death, but there is no evidence that he succeeded in forcing his authority upon Lagash during Gudea's patesiate; and, in view of the comparative shortness of his reign, it is preferable to assign his accession to the period of Gudea's son. Sumer must have soon acknowledged his authority, and Lagash and the other southern cities doubtless formed the nucleus of the kingdom on which he based his claim to the hegemony in Babylonia. This claim on behalf of Ur was not fully substantiated until the reign of Dungi, but in Sumer Ur-Engur appears to have met with little opposition. Of the circumstances which led to Ur-Ningirsu's deposition we know nothing, but we may conjecture that his acknowledgment of Ur-Engur's authority was not accompanied by the full measure of support demanded by his suzerain. As Gudea's son and successor he may well have resented the loss of practical autonomy which his city had enjoyed, and Ur-Engur may in consequence have found it necessary to remove him from the patesiate. Ur-abba and his successors were merely vassals of the kings of Ur, and Lagash became a provincial city in the kingdom of Sumer and Akkad.