Sumerian King

Shulgi (𒀭𒂄𒄀 dŠulgi, formerly read as Dungi) of Ur was the second king of the Sumerian Renaissance in the Third Dynasty of Ur. He reigned for 48 years, from c. 2029 – 1982 BCE (short chronology). His accomplishments include the completion of construction of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, begun by his father Ur-Nammu. He was succeeded by his son Amar-Sin.

I am successful in finding solutions, and am wise in words.


  • When I am radiant in the holy crown like a brilliance that is renewed daily, and the majestic sceptre that amasses abundance has been entrusted into my hands, on my firmly founded throne, [...] granted as a gift, [...] I lift my head high. I am Culgi, the good shepherd of Sumer, and I have always established justice. Like a flood, like onrushing water, I have torn out wickedness as being unclean. As much great praise as I have had sung about me -- by the name of Enlil, none is false, and all is true.
Correspondence of the Kings of Ur, Old Babylonian period, ca. 1800-1600 BCE, at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature; their original date of composition and their historical accuracy are debated.
  • You have made me so happy with the news and everything. Who could give me a house-born slave such as you are? Who has such a capable man, so beneficial to his lord? [...] From today, you are my son who makes me happy. The cities of the province, the land of the Martu, Elam -- all of them I have placed before you: you are just as important as I am. So sit before them on a throne on a golden dais! [...] Let their messengers prostrate themselves in front of you! [...] Remove a governor -- appoint a governor! Appoint a commander! Designate a captain-general! Certainly you should put a man to death, a man who has killed: blind the man who has killed! Build your house of manhood for an attendant who has been favourably looked upon! Make sure your recompense is great! Now, you should not suddenly alter your word about all that I have been sending to you.
  • The man to whom I have sent you is not your subordinate -- he will not accept orders from your hand! [...] If I do not make my 'Sage of the Assembly' feel just as important as I am, if he does not sit on a throne on a dais, furnished with a high-quality cloth cover, if his feet do not rest on a golden footstool, if he is not allowed by his own highest authority both to appoint and then to remove a governor from his function as governor, an official from his charge, if he does not kill or blind anyone, if he does not elevate his favourite over others -- how else can he secure the provinces? If you truly love me, you will not bear him a grudge!
  • As I myself ordered, you were to secure the provinces, and to correctly guide the people and make them obedient. [...] That was how I had instructed you. Why have you not acted as I ordered you?
  • Let my roar be emitted over all the lands.
    Let my powerful arm, my heroic arm, fall upon all the lands.
    Let my storm cover the Land.
  • You are important, but you do not even know your own soldiers. Your eyes have learnt something about these men, and about Apillaca's heroism. If you, Aradju, are indeed my servant, you should both pay attention to my written communications. Come to an understanding, you two! Secure the foundations of the provinces! It is urgent!
  • When the master-builder has taken up the work concerned, he is to re-establish securely any place where the fortification has fallen into ruins. Let him reinforce and also rebuild it.
    • Variant: The master builder has taken up his work. Where substantial work has been neglected, let him return to it. He is to reiforce and rebuild it.
  • The orders are rigorous: you should not neglect your work load. They are to proceed with the building work by night and in the heat of noon. You will not be sleeping during the night or in the heat of noon!
  • [O]ver all the foreign lands and the widespread people, each of their towns and all their provinces, and the people of the widespread Land lay in green meadows. I made them rest in spacious habitations, in peaceful dwelling places. As for their men and women: the man among them goes wherever he pleases, and the woman with spindle and hair clasp goes wherever she pleases. After they had set up stock-pens in the vastness of the desert, and established their tents and camps, the workmen and the labourers spend the days in the fields.
  • In order that the ruler and the general manager can build everything for you concerning the fortress, carry out this work on the fortress now. The reputation of this fortress shall not be diminished.
    • About the fortress Igi-hursaja.
  • By consulting omens and according to my heart's desire I have benefitted the life of the troops and the province.

A tablet (𒁾) to Utu

Text online at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, early 2nd millennium BCE.
  • Youthful Utu, [...] brilliant light, great lion, [...] hero emerging from the holy interior of heaven, storm whose splendour covers the Land and is laden with great awesomeness; Utu, king of justice that befits the true offspring, made Culgi, the trustworthy shepherd, glorious in the battle. The great wild bull, youthful Utu, who like a torch illuminates the Land from the holy heavens; the wise one of all the countries, the fearsome radiance of Urac, the just god among the Anuna gods, the long, holy dragon, the first-born son cherished by Suen, the lord born to command -- Utu bestowed the kingship of the Land on Culgi.
  • Like a mace with three lion-heads, he makes the mountains tremble and then destroys the rebel lands.
  • Utu, assign a sweet destiny to the king.
  • Because of your purity, youthful Utu has made everything abundant for you; may a sweet life be your lot, son of Ninsumun.
  • Youthful Utu chose the shepherd in his heart. Years of plenty are assigned to Culgi, the trustworthy shepherd, the king, as his fate. From the shrine in Nibru, Enlil bestowed this on the trustworthy shepherd, whose fate is determined by Utu.
  • Lord of all the great divine powers, borne by Ningal! Youthful Utu, lord of all the great divine powers, borne by Ningal.

Quotes about Shulgi

  • We are going, we are going, [...] we are going to the house, to the [house] of the lord, to the [city] of Prince Culgi, to the city that has been restored, to where speech and opinions are good, to where lips and hearts are pure, to where feet are firm on the ground. We are going to the shrine Nibru, Dur-an-ki, to [...] brick-built Tutub, to the majestic Abzu, brick-built Eridug, to the E-cumeca with the princely divine powers, in Urim to the house of Suen, to the E-kic-nu-jal of Nanna, to the Agrun-kug, the beloved house of the lady, to the E-hursaj, the house of the king, to the E-namtila of Prince Culgi.
Correspondence of the Kings of Ur, Old Babylonian period, ca. 1800-1600 BCE, at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature; their original date of composition and their historical accuracy are debated.
  • My lord, you have given me instructions about every matter, from the waters of the sea and the land of Dilmun, from the salt waters and the borders of the land of the Martu, to the side of Simurrum. [...] Their various cities and all their environs, their canals, fields, arable tracts and their embankments and ditches. [...] All the cities are listening to my lord. [...] I have established strong guards for their fortresses, and I have made all their troops submit.
  • My lord, the vast territory which has been given to you as booty has been made obedient: it is of one mind. The people, abundant as vegetation, belong to Culgi, shepherd of the reliable word. You are the god of mankind, in the south and the highlands. They keep their gaze fixed on you. The widespread people, abundant as vegetation, say: "Hail, my lord!", from the flooding Tigris and Euphrates.
  • Say to my lord: this is what Puzur-Culgi, the commander of the fortress Igi-hursaja, your servant, says:
    All the gold and silver that my lord has been fashioning for the gods -- is it not for his own life? For the life of the troops and his land, my king has built the great fortress Igi-hursaja for the people of his land, because of the wicked enemy. [...] May it be known that, by night or by day the enemy's sins are forever grave. I am the loyal servant of my lord Culgi. Let this not be the death of me! May my lord know!

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
At Wikiversity, you can learn about: