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Sukkalmah dynasty

Seal impression of King Ebarat (𒂊𒁀𒊏𒀜), founder of the Sukkalmah Dynasty, also called "Epartid Dynasty" after him. He uses the title of king (𒈗 Šàr, pronounced Shar) in the inscription. Louvre Museum, reference Sb 6225. King Ebarat appears enthroned. The inscription reads "Ebarat the King. Kuk Kalla, son of Kuk-Sharum, servant of Shilhaha"[1][2][3][4]
Location of Susa, capital of the Sukkalmah Dynasty.

The Sukkalmah Dynasty (c. 1900-1500 BCE), also Epartid Dynasty after the founder Eparti/Ebarat,[5][6] was an early dynasty of West Asia in the ancient region of Elam, to the southeast of Babylonia. It corresponds to the latest part of the Old Elamite period (dated c. 2700-1600 BC).

The Sukkalmah dynasty followed the Shimashki Dynasty (c. 2200-1900 BCE).[7][8] The name of the dynasty comes from the name Sukkalmah meaning "Grand Regent", the title used by Elamite rulers.[7]

Numerous cuneiform documents and inscriptions remain from this period, particularly from the area of Susa, making the Sukkalmah period one of the best documented in Elamite history.[7]

Origin of the title "Sukkalmah"

Sukkalmah was a Sumerian title first attested in the Pre-Sargonic texts from Girsu, where it seems to have had the meaning of "prime minister" or "grand vizier."[9] The title was well-attested under the powerful Ur III state, where it remained associated with Girsu and nearby Lagash. The Sukkalmahs of Lagash held effective control over the entire ma-da or buffer zone to the north and east of the Ur III core territory, and thus held authority over Susa.[10] The Sukkalmah Arad-Nanna held the title of shagina or military governor of Pashime on the southern coast of Iran, indicating that the influence of the Neo-Sumerian Sukkalmahs could extend quite deep into Elamite territory.[11] The later adoption of the title Sukkalmah by the Elamites probably reflects the considerable political influence that the Neo-Sumerian Sukkalmahs had on Susiana and Elam, and may have also been favored due to similarity between the Sumerian sukkal and the Elamite title sunkir or sukkir meaning "king".[12]

The dynasty

The founder of the dynasty was a ruler named Shilhaha, who described himself as "the chosen son of Ebarat", who may have been the same as King Ebarti mentioned as the 9th King of the Shimashki Dynasty.[8] Ebarat appears as the founder of the dynasty according to building inscriptions, but later kings rather seem to refer to Shilhaha in their filiation claims.[5]

The dynasty was roughly contemporary with the Old Assyrian period, and the Old Babylonian period in Mesopotamia. During this time, Susa was under Elamite control, but Akkadian-speaking Mesopotamian states such as Larsa and Isin continually tried to retake the city. Notable Sukkalmah dynasty rulers in Elam during this time include Siruk-tuh/Sirukdukh (c. 1850), who entered into various military coalitions to contain the power of the south Mesopotamian states. Siruk-tuh was the king of Elam when Hammurabi first ruled,[13] he and later kings of the Elamite dynasty were referred to as "great king" and "father" by kings in Syria and Mesopotamia and were the only kings that the Mesopotamian Kings considered to be higher in status than themselves.[14][15] Siwe-Palar-Khuppak, who for some time was the most powerful person in the area, respectfully addressed as "Father" by Mesopotamian kings such as Zimrilim of Mari, Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria, and even Hammurabi of Babylon. During his reign alone, Elam interfered extensively with Mesopotamian politics, allowing messengers and envoys to travel far west to Emar and Qatna in Syria.[16] His messenger reached Emar and sent his three servants to King Amut-piʾel II of Qatna (1772-1762 BC), and the king of Qatna also sent two messengers to Elam.[17] The Elamite rulers had become increasingly involved in Mesopotamian politics during the Sukkalmah dynasty. In fact, Rim-Sin of Larsa himself was of Elamite descent, notwithstanding his Akkadian name.[18] Kudur-Nahhunte, who plundered the temples of southern Mesopotamia. But Elamite influence in southern Mesopotamia did not last. Around 1760 BC, Hammurabi drove out the Elamites, overthrew Rim-Sin of Larsa, and established a Babylonian Empire in Mesopotamia. Little is known about the later part of this dynasty, since sources again become sparse with the Kassite rule of Babylon (from c. 1595).

Gunagi vessels

The names of Ebarat and Shilhaha, the founding members of the Sukkalmah Dynasty, have been found on the Gunagi silver vessels, inscribed in the Linear Elamite script. The Gunagi vessels were discovered relatively recently, in 2004. French archaeologist François Desset identified repetitive sign sequences in the beginning of the Gunagi inscriptions, and guessed they were names of Kings, in a manner somewhat similar to Grotefend's decipherment of Old Persian cuneiform in 1802-1815.[19] Using the small set of letters identified in 1905-1912, the number of symbols in each sequence taken as syllables, and in one instance the repetition of a symbol, Desset was able to identify the only two contemporary historical rulers that matched these conditions: Shilhaha and Ebarat, the two earliest kings of the Sukkalmah Dynasty.[20] Another set of signs matched the well-known God of the period: Napirisha:[20][21]

  • E-b-r-t, Ebarat II, founder of the Sukkalmah Dynasty.[20][21]
  • Shi-l-ha-ha, Shilhaha, second king of the Sukkalmah Dynasty.[20][21]
  • Na-pi-r-ri-sha, God Napirisha.[20][21]

Artifacts of the Sukkalmah


Name Portrait Title Born-Died Entered office Left office Family Relations Note
Sukkalmah or Epartid dynasty,[24] c. 1970–c. 1500 BC
1 Eparti II


king of Anshan & Susa ?–? c. 1973 BC ? Married with a daughter of Iddin-Dagan king of Isin in 1973 BC.[25] cont. Iddin-Dagan king of Isin
2 Shilhaha


Sukkalmah ?–? ? ? "chosen son of Ebarat" [26]
3 Kuk-Nashur I Sukkalmah ?–? ? ? son (ruhushak)[27] of Shilhaha
4 Atta-hushu Sukkal and Ippir of Susa, Shepherd of the people of Susa, Shepherd of Inshushinak ?–after 1894 BC ?1928 BC after 1894 BC son of Kuk-Nashur I (?)
5 Tetep-Mada Shepherd of the people of Susa ?–? after c. 1890 BC ? son of Kuk-Nashur I (?)
6 Palar-Ishshan Sukkalmah ?–? ? ? ?
7 Kuk-Sanit ?–? ? ? son of Palar-Ishshan (?)
8 Kuk-Kirwash Sukkalmah, Sukkal of Elam and Simashki and Susa ?–? ? ? son of Lan-Kuku & nephew of Palar-Ishshan
9 Tem-Sanit ?–? ? ? son of Kuk-Kirwash
10 Kuk-Nahhunte ?–? ? son of Kuk-Kirwash
11 Kuk-Nashur II Sukkalmah, Sukkal of Elam, Sukkal of Elam and Simashki and Susa ?–? ? ? son of Kuk-Nahhunte (?)
12 Shirukduh Sukkalmah ?–? c. 1790 BC ? ? cont. Shamshi-Adad I king of Assyria
13 Shimut-Wartash I ?–? ? ? son of Shirukduh
14 Siwe-Palar-Hupak Sukkalmah, Sukkal of Susa, Prince of Elam ?–? before 1765 BC after 1765 BC son of Shirukduh
15 Kuduzulush I Sukkalmah, Sukkal of Susa ?–? ? ? son of Shirukduh
16 Kutir-Nahhunte I Sukkalmah ?–? c. 1710 BC ? son of Kuduzulush I
17 Atta-Merra-Halki ?–? ? ? son of Kuduzulush I (?)
18 Tata II Sukkal ?–? ? ? brother of Atta-Merra-Halki
19 Lila-Irtash ?–? ? ? son of Kuduzulush I
20 Temti-Agun Sukkalmah, Sukkal of Susa ?–? ? ? son of Kutir-Nahhunte I
21 Kutir-Shilhaha Sukkalmah, Sukkal ?–? ? ? son of Temti-Agun
22 Kuk-Nashur III Sukkal of Elam, Sukkal of Susa ?–? before 1646 BC after 1646 BC son of Kutir-Shilhaha
23 Temti-Raptash ?–? ? ? son of Kutir-Shilhaha
24 Shimut-Wartash II ?–? ? ? son of Kuk-Nashur III
25 Shirtuh King of Susa ?–? ? ? son of Kuk-Nashur III
26 Kuduzulush II Sukkalmah, King of Susa ?–? ? ? son of Shimut-Wartash II
27 Tan-Uli Sukkalmah, Sukkal ?–? ? ? ?
28 Temti-Halki Sukkalmah, Sukkal of Elam and Simashki and Susa ?–? ? ? son of Tan-Uli
29 Kuk-Nashur IV[28] Sukkalmah ?–? ? ? son of Tan-Uli
30 Kutik-Matlat[29] ?–? c. 1500 BC ? son of Tan-Uli

See also


  1. ^ The Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1992. p. 114. ISBN 9780870996511.
  2. ^ "Site officiel du musée du Louvre".
  3. ^ Potts, D. T. (1999). The Archaeology of Elam: Formation and Transformation of an Ancient Iranian State. Cambridge University Press. p. 147. ISBN 9780521564960.
  4. ^ Harper, Prudence O. (1992). Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 114.
  5. ^ a b Stolper, Matthew (1984). Elam: Surveys of Political History and Archaeology. University of California Press. p. 26.
  6. ^ Bryce, Trevor (2009). The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the fall of the Persian Empire. Routledge. p. 221. ISBN 9781134159079.
  7. ^ a b c Sigfried J. de Laet; Ahmad Hasan Dani (1994). History of Humanity: From the third millennium to the seventh century B.C. UNESCO. p. 579. ISBN 978-92-3-102811-3.
  8. ^ a b Álvarez-Mon, Javier; Basello, Gian Pietro; Wicks, Yasmina (2018). The Elamite World. Routledge. p. 289. ISBN 9781317329831.
  9. ^ Potts (1999), p.160
  10. ^ Luca Peyronel in Álvarez-Mon, et al. (2018), p.217
  11. ^ P. Michalowski (2013). Garfinkle, Steven; Molina, Manuel (eds.). From the 21st Century BC to the 21st Century AD: Proceedings of the International Conference on Neo-Sumerian Studies Held in Madrid, 22-24 July 2010. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. pp. 169–205. ISBN 9781575068718.
  12. ^ Stolper (1984), p.24
  13. ^ De Graef, Katrien. 2018. "In Taberna Quando Sumus: On Taverns, Nadītum Women, and the Cagum in Old Babylonian Sippar." In Gender and Methodology in the Ancient near East: Approaches from Assyriology and beyond, edited by Stephanie Lynn Budin et al., 136. Barcino monographica orientalia 10. Barcelona: University of Barcelona.
  14. ^ Potts, Daniel T. 2012. "The Elamites." In The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History, edited by Touraj Daryaee and Tūraǧ Daryāyī, 43-44. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  15. ^ Charpin, Dominique. 2012a. "Ansi parle l' empereur' à propos de la correspondance des sukkal-mah." In Susa and Elam. Archaeological, Philological, Historical and Geographical Perspectives: Proceedings of the International Congress Held at Ghent University, December 14-17, 2009, edited by Katrien De Graef and Jan Tavernier, 352. Leiden: Brill.
  16. ^ Kenneth Anderson Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 321
  17. ^ Charpin, Dominique (2010). Writing, Law, and Kingship in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia. Translated by Todd, Jane Marie. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-10159-0. p. 124
  18. ^ Amanda H. Weavers, Scribes, and Kings: A New History of the Ancient Near East. Oxford University Press, 2022. 269. ISBN 9780190059040.
  19. ^ Desset, François (2018). "Nine Linear Elamite Texts Inscribed on Silver "Gunagi" Vessels (X, Y, Z, F', H', I', J', K' and L'): New Data on Linear Elamite Writing and the History of the Sukkalmaḫ Dynasty". Iran. 56 (2): 140. ISSN 0578-6967.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Desset, François (2018). "Nine Linear Elamite Texts Inscribed on Silver "Gunagi" Vessels (X, Y, Z, F', H', I', J', K' and L'): New Data on Linear Elamite Writing and the History of the Sukkalmaḫ Dynasty". Iran. 56 (2). ISSN 0578-6967.
  21. ^ a b c d Desset, François (CNRS Archéorient of Lyon) (2020). "Breaking The Code. The decipherment of linear Elamite, a forgotten writing system of Ancient Iran (3rd millenium BC)".
  22. ^ Harper, Prudence O. (1992). Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 117–118.
  23. ^ Harper, Prudence O. (1992). Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 115.
  24. ^ Cameron, 1936; The Cambridge History of Iran; Hinz, 1972; The Cambridge Ancient History; Majidzadeh, 1991; Majidzadeh, 1997; Vallat, "Elam ...", 1998.
  25. ^ Vallat, "Elam ...", 1998.
  26. ^ F.W. König. Die elamischen Königinschriften. Graz, 1965"
  27. ^ "Ruhushak" means son of sister but probably it refers to a dynastical marriage between siblings. See Vallat, "Elam ...", 1998.
  28. ^ Potts, 1999.
  29. ^ Cameron, 1936.


  • Cameron, George, "History of Early Iran", Chicago, 1936 (repr., Chicago, 1969; tr. E.-J. Levin, L’histoire de l’Iran antique, Paris, 1937; tr. H. Anusheh, ایران در سپیده دم تاریخ, Tehran, 1993)
  • Potts, D. T., The Archaeology of Elam, Cambridge University Press, 1999.
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Sukkalmah dynasty
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