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Meskalamdug

Meskalamdug
𒈩𒌦𒄭
King of Ur
King of Kish
Meskalamdug helmet, British Museum electrotype copy, original is in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad. The holes around the border suggest that another piece was normally affixed, as for example in the full mask attributed to Sargon of Akkad. The hairbun attached at the back of the head is visible in other rulers as well, such as Sargon or Eannatum in the Stele of the Vultures.
Reignfl. circa 2600 BC
PredecessorUr-Pabilsag
SuccessorAkalamdug
HouseFirst Dynasty of Ur
Golden helmet of Meskalamdug, at time of excavation.
Location of Ur, in Western Asia, modern Iraq.

Meskalamdug (𒈩𒌦𒄭, mes-ug-du10, MES-KALAM-DUG[1] "hero of the good land")[2] was an early Sumerian ruler of the First Dynasty of Ur in the 26th century BCE. He does not appear in the Sumerian King List, but is known from a royal cylinder seal found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, a royal bead inscription found in Mari, both mentioning him as King, and possibly his tomb, grave PG 755 at the Royal Cemetery at Ur.

It has been suggested that Puabi may have been his second queen.[3]

Royal seal

The existence of a "King Meskalamdug" is known for certain, from a seal discovered at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (cylinder seal U 11751, discovered in the tomb of a queen, PG 1054),[4] which bears the title Meskalamdug Lugal (𒈩𒌦𒄭 𒈗) "King Meskalamdug".[5][6][7] The same name of "Meskalamdug" has been found inscribed on the grave goods of tomb PG 755 at the Royal Cemetery of Ur, but without the title "King", which has raised doubts about the identification of King Meskalamdug with the young man found in that rather small grave.[5]

The seal is made of shell, with a core in lapis-lazuli. It shows two crossed lions attacking bulls, with Enkidu and a naked man in profile participating to the fight.[8] It is now in the British Museum (BM 122536).[9]

Mari bead

King Meskalamdug is again mentioned on a lapis-lazuli bead found in Mari, in the so-called "Treasure of Ur". It reads:[11][12]

𒀭𒈗𒌦 / 𒈩𒀭𒉌𒅆𒊒𒁕 / 𒈗𒋀𒀊𒆠 / 𒌉𒈩𒌦𒄭 / 𒈗𒆧𒆠 / 𒀀𒈬𒈾𒊒

dlugal-kalam / mes-an-ne2-pa3-da / lugal uri5ki / dumu mes-ug-du10 / lugal kishki / a munaru

"To god Lugalkalam ("the Lord of the Land", identified with Dagan or Enlil), Mesannepada, king of Ur, son of Meskalamdug, king of Kish, has consecrated this bead""

It is unclear how this bead came to be in Mari, which was quite far from Ur (about 700 kilometers to the northwest), but this points to some kind of relation between Ur and Mari at that time.[17] The bead was discovered in a jar containing other objects from Ur or Kish, probably used as a dedication to a local temple.[18] The God "Lugal-kalam" (𒀭𒈗𒌦, "Lord of the Land") to whom the dedication is made, is otherwise known in a dedication by a local ruler Šaba (Šalim) of Mari, also as Lugal-kalam, or in the dedication of Ishtup-Ilum where he is named "Lugal-mātim" (𒀭𒈗𒈤𒁴, "Lord of the Land"), and is considered identical with the local deity Dagan, or Enlil.[19]

Tomb of Meskalamdug (PG 755)

Inscriptions related to Meskalamdug, found at the Royal Cemetery at Ur:[21]
U 10001: "Meskalamdug" (on a golden bowl found in tomb PG 755)[22]
U 11751: "Meslamdug, King" (discovered on a seal impression in tomb PG 1054)

The tomb of Meskalamdug, PG 755, discovered by English archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in the Royal Cemetery of Ur in 1924, contained numerous gold artifacts including a golden helmet with an inscription of the king's name.[23] By observing the contents of this royal grave, it is made clear that this ancient civilization was quite wealthy. His wife's name was queen Ninbanda. Meskalamdug was also mentioned on a seal in another tomb with the title lugal (king), however because his own tomb lacked attendants, Woolley assumed that he was not royal. The controversy remains though, because he is named on a bead inscription discovered in Mari by French archaeologist André Parrot ten years later, as the father of king Mesannepada of Ur, who appears in the king list and in many other inscriptions.[23]

Since tomb PG 755 lacks the monumental scale and splendor of other royal tombs at the Royal Cemetery of Ur, it has been suggested that it was not the tomb of king Meskalamdug himself, but rather a young prince of the same name, for example a son of king Meskalamdug and queen Nibanda.[5][24][25] Julian Reade has suggested that tomb PG 755 was the tomb of a "Prince Meskalamdug", and that the actual tomb of the King Meskalamdug, known from seal U 11751, was tomb PG 789.[5] Alternatively, it may be more likely that the Meskalamdug of the inscriptions in tomb PG 755, and the Meskalamdug of the royal seal are simply the same person, who took the royal title lugal at a late stage of his life.[26]

Tomb artifacts (tomb PG 755)

An alternative: the "King's grave" (tomb PG 789)

Tomb PG 789 appears in "E", just behind Tomb PG 755.

According to Julian Reade, tomb PG 755 was the tomb of a "Prince Meskalamdug", but the actual tomb of King Meskalamdug, known from seal U 11751, is more likely to be royal tomb PG 789.[5] This tomb has been called "the King's grave", where the remains of numerous royal attendants and many beautiful objects were recovered, and is located right next to the tomb of Queen Puabi, thought to be the second wife of King Meskalamdug.[5][27]

See also

References

  1. ^ Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald); Woolley, Leonard; Legrain, Leon (1934). Ur excavations. Trustees of the Two Museums by the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. p. Plates 163, 191.
  2. ^ Excavations At Ur. Routledge. 2013. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-136-21137-9.
  3. ^ Reade, Julian (2003). Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-58839-043-1.
  4. ^ Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald); Woolley, Leonard; Legrain, Leon (1900). Ur excavations. Trustees of the Two Museums by the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. pp. 97–98.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Reade, Julian (2003). Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-1-58839-043-1.
  6. ^ Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. UPenn Museum of Archaeology. 1998. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-924171-54-3.
  7. ^ Tinney, Steve; Sonik, Karen (2019). Journey to the City: A Companion to the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-931707-17-6.
  8. ^ Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald); Woolley, Leonard; Legrain, Leon (1900). Ur excavations. Trustees of the Two Museums by the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. p. 340, item 55.
  9. ^ "Image gallery: cylinder seal". British Museum.
  10. ^ Modern photograph and transliteration in "CDLI-Archival View". cdli.ucla.edu.
  11. ^ a b Description with photograph: Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2003. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-58839-043-1.
  12. ^ a b Orientalia: Vol. 73. Gregorian Biblical BookShop. p. 183.
  13. ^ Orientalia: Vol. 73. Gregorian Biblical BookShop.
  14. ^ "CDLI-Archival View". cdli.ucla.edu.
  15. ^ Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2003. ISBN 978-1-58839-043-1.
  16. ^ "Mission archéologique de Mari" volume 4, p. 44, fig. 35 (photo); p. 53, fig. 36
  17. ^ orientalia Vol.38. Gregorian Biblical BookShop. p. 358.
  18. ^ Matthews, Donald M. (1997). The Early Glyptic of Tell Brak: Cylinder Seals of Third Millennium Syria. Saint-Paul. p. 108. ISBN 978-3-525-53896-8.
  19. ^ Orientalia: Vol. 73. Gregorian Biblical BookShop. p. 322.
  20. ^ Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2003. ISBN 978-1-58839-043-1.
  21. ^ Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald); Woolley, Leonard; Legrain, Leon (1900). Ur excavations. Trustees of the Two Museums by the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. p. 316.
  22. ^ Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald); Woolley, Leonard; Legrain, Leon (1934). Ur excavations. Trustees of the Two Museums by the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. p. Plate 163.
  23. ^ a b "Behind the deceased's head was agold helmet. He held in his hands a gold bowl inscribed with the name Meskalamdug. In the coffin, for example, were gold and silver lamps, a second gold bowl inscribed with the name Meskalamdug, and electrum ax heads. On the northeast side opposite the upper part of the body was a substantial collection of jewelry" in Hansen, Donald P.; Pittman, Holly (1998). Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology. pp. 24–25. ISBN 9780924171543.
  24. ^ Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. UPenn Museum of Archaeology. 1998. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-924171-54-3.
  25. ^ Tinney, Steve; Sonik, Karen (2019). Journey to the City: A Companion to the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-931707-17-6.
  26. ^ "Woolley assumed that there were two people called Meskalamdug, but it is more likely that we are dealing with one individual, whose grave furniture reflected his importance in temple hierarchy, and who at a later stage of his life assumed the title lugal as inscribed on the seal found in PG1054." in Ur. Iraqi Cultural Centre. 1981. p. 37.
  27. ^ Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald); Woolley, Leonard; Legrain, Leon (1900). Ur excavations. Trustees of the Two Museums by the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. p. 63.

Sources

Regnal titles Preceded byUr-Pabilsag King of Ur ca. 26th century BC Succeeded byAkalamdug
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Meskalamdug
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