Jemdet Nasr and "Early Dynastic" (1970-1604 bc/ *3100-2370)
There are no stones in
Nimrod's dynasty ended in the days of
Archaeologically, the days of Nimrod to Abraham spanned the periods of Uruk IV, Jemdet Nasr, and Early Dynastic I & II — lasting from c. *3100 to c. *2600 bc, supposedly at the end of which time Gilgamesh ruled. In actuality, however, Uruk IV marks the end of the line of Nimrod, Jemdet Nasr marks the upheaval of the 1900's (c. 1970-1900/ *3100-2900), and ED I (c. 1940-1890/ *2900-2750) & ED II (1910-1860/ *2750-2600) seem to have some shadowy reality, but for the most part act as a saving device for the standard chronology.
The "incipient internationalism" of the post-Sodom (Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic) period is notable in
One of the few types of evidence of Early Dynastic I are seal impressions in levels from
The history of this era has been misplaced with regard to its archeology. This grave mistake was possible because we are dealing with the proto-literate period, during which we simply do not find very much writing at all, to guide us. I am not the first to note that without the testimony of the written word, archeology finds as many riddles as it solves. The archeology of the Bronze Age has even greater confusion in this regard. It is only with the rise of the Sumerians that "history", as it is commonly understood, begins.
race: The origin of the Sumerians is, of course, a complete mystery to standard historians. Because
The Sumerians themselves have told us where they came from. Two Sumerian epics about En-Me-Kar (Ashur?), and two about Lugal-Banda (
Sumerians related that kingship first came to Eridu, below
Through their writings, it appears that the Sumerians retained the original names for the Tigris and Euphrates (as Americans have retained the name of the Mississippi); they also adopted non-Sumerian words for such workaday terms as "farmer", "herdsman", "fisherman", "plow", and "potter". Given the Confusion at
We have met already some alien, hyphenated Sumerian names: each syllable is a word, so a name is effectively a sentence. The Sumerian term lugal, "king", literally means "big man", and was first used in
The Sumerian tongue has no known relatives, in either modern or ancient languages. This implies that after the Confusion, the entire ‘Sumerian’ population remained in its original homeland — it was utterly unique in this regard — even the Semites scattered. The price of this privilege, however, was eventual linguistic extinction. We cannot even say what the language of
Only a few examples are known of the ancient literature, due to “inadequate knowledge of the languages: insufficient acquaintance with the vocabulary and, in Sumerian, major difficulties with the grammar. . . .the structure of Sumerian words themselves is far from adequately investigated . . . . Attempts to identify Sumerian more closely by comparative methods have as yet been unsuccessful and will very probably remain so, as languages of a comparable [agglutinative] type are only known from ad 500 (Georgian) or ad 1000 (Basque).” Although Sumerian words can still be found in living languages, such as Armenian, attempts to find a genetic relationship between Sumerian and, say, Hungarian have been judged unsuccessful.
In any event, if a descendant of the Sumerian tongue has survived, I suggest — given the scattering at
cuneiform: With regard to writing, cuneiform is considered to be the earliest known form. Egyptian hieroglyphs, however, seem to have been a Dynasty I innovation, which makes them at least as old as cuneiform. In any case, although some other system may have been used by the pre-Flood patriarchs, it seems more likely that there was no true writing before the Flood, given that we find only an evolving pictographic script prior to the development of cuneiform (and hieroglyphs). Along with the incredible life-spans of the pre-Flood race, these people would have had incredibly long-reaching memories: writing became necessary only after the language of mankind had been divided. We have already speculated that as part of the cognitive transformation which implanted new languages, memory was also affected.
At first, a vocabulary of about 2,000 simple pictures was scratched into clay, but over time the characters were formed by pressing into the clay with a wedge, and the images were simplified and stylized. Our own alphabet underwent an analogous process: for example, the letter ‘A’ was originally a picture of the head of a bull, now turned with its horns downward. Out of this process, Sumerian cuneiform was born.
There is no doubt but that it was the Sumerians who developed cuneiform, enough so that it may be said they invented it. We deduce this from several facts. Cuneiform signs are stylizations of the original pictographs, and so represent the first generation of true writing, where a specific word is meant by a sign. It was Sumerians who were present during this evolution, and this writing appears only after Sumerian dominance. Furthermore, as “far as they can be assigned to any language, the inscribed documents from before the dynasty of [Sargon's]
Eventually, the ideographic nature of cuneiform (where the symbol represents an idea rather than a sound) was replaced by a system of phonics (where the symbol became associated with a specific syllable). Since Sumerian is almost totally monosyllabic, with many homophones, it was actually a small step for the pictures to lose their representational value, and come instead to stand for the sound of a word. Thus, when a scholar of another race used cuneiform to write his language, he would actually be pronouncing Sumerian; to a Sumerian, it would have sounded like meaningful words randomly strung together. This was a rapid development, and within a few generations, in the time of the Elamite/ Sumerian culture of Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic (c. 1900/ *2900-2600), connected prose was being recorded. The earliest surviving example of literature, however, is from 300 years later, in Sargon's day (c. 1600/ *2350 bc).
From tablets we glean most of our knowledge of the Sumerians, and through their legends, something of the period of Nimrod. Here we might address the question as to why contemporary scholars teach that
A final observation is of the largely-unrestored literature of ancient
culture: Remembering that the earliest place-names were Semitic, we might suppose that after the Confusion at
The culture of
After the collapse of Nimrod's empire, with the destruction of the first dynasties of
We may deduce something of the government of
historiography: It seems likely that in the time of Nimrod, the kings of Ur and other prominent cities were ethnic Sumerians — but as we have seen, they did not become dominant until after the disruption of Nimrod's empire, which ended at the war of Amraphel and Chedorlaomer of Elam. It seems to have been after the tectonic upheaval at
The Sumerian King List focuses on cities, upon which the ‘kingship’ descended. “According to the theory — or rather ideology — of this work, there was officially only one kingship in Mesopotamia, which was vested in one particular city at any one time; hence the change in dynasties brought with it the change of the seat of kingship . . .” Notice the contrast made here between ‘theory’ and ‘ideology’: it is a false distinctions. Although it is clear that the Sumerian scribe who composed the King List was in error in his teaching that the dynasties were consecutive rather than contemporary, yet as an example of historiography, it is not fair to call it an ideology. The conventional reconstruction of earliest history is as much a theory (or ideology) as that of some ancient author. The Sumerians sought to teach the primacy of their people, as the creators of civilization; the modern construct seeks to prove the Evolutionary conception of endless time and the rise of mankind from bestiality.
The standard chronology of this time is hopelessly muddled, but the era of Sumerian dominance — called the Early Dynastic period — is given !600 years by the modernists, whereas it actually took up something less than 350 years. How did this confusion originally arise? We have already seen the false assumptions which modernists make. As for the scribes, they envisioned their past as a series of successive dynasties, each centered in a given city. “The king list gives as coming in succession several dynasties that now are known to have ruled simultaneously.” These scribes were writing many centuries later, and it is clear that they misunderstood their data, most obviously by ignoring the fact that while a given city may have come into prominence for a time, only a few, rather than all the kings of its dynasty enjoyed expanded power. It has long been recognized that the “problem of parallel dynasties is one of the most troublesome for Babylonian chronologists.” Dynasties which were supposedly successive were actually contemporary. This is exactly the same problem which has so disastrously ruined our understanding of Egyptian chronology, but because the Egyptian dynasties came to us already numbered — and that, dogmatically — this error has not been recognized.
Archeology has uncovered monuments, and tablets from temple archives, which tell us the history of some of the cities of
It was during the 1900's that the Sumerians rose, and the Elamites also. Apparently the Elamites who invaded
Early Dynastic I & II are grossly distorted artifacts of a faulty paradigm, as we have seen. When we enter real time (if not real dates), with ED IIIa & IIIb, the picture comes into focus, and it is no surprise that the “archaeological remains of the Third Early Dynastic period are more numerous than those of any other period of ancient
History: Such a dispute was mediated around 1900 bc/ c. *2600, by king Mesilim, who dictated the boarders of the rivals. Mesilim appears in no king list, but he called himself "king of
In any event, Mesilim may be listed under another name, in one of the several city-state dynasties of this era. Indeed, from the similarity of the names, he may be identified as the contemporary Mes-He, or Melam-Anna, of Erech/ Uruk III (see Table 7-1). But in terms of chronology, all we really know is that he was a contemporary of king Lugal-Shagengur of
The tombs of
How can I explain this apparent anachronism, of the missing Jemdet Nasr? Well, first, “the archaeological evidence for the date of Mesanepada is very tenuous . . .” But more to the point, we need only notice that the dynasty of
With Ur-Nanshe's grandson, Eannatum (E-Anna-Tum — c. 1780/ c. *2480), the period designated as Early Dynastic IIIb begins. Eannatum ruled
The dispute between
The third king to follow him was Lugalanda (c. 1638-1632/ *2384-2378), followed by the last king of
Under Uru-Inimgina, the state of
In the 1620's,
Finally, Lugalzaggesi himself was overthrown by Sargon I (the Great) of
You may have noticed that I have assumed an average length of rule for the kings of
To summarize, we have seen that the culture called Jemdet Nasr appeared in the 1900's, apparently inaugurated by the war of Chedorlaomer against
.D.E. Edzard, "Mesopotamia and
.Edzard, p. 969.
.E. Porada, "The Relative Chronology of
.E. Porada, p. 160 — citations ignored.
.Porada, p. 160 — citation ignored.
.Porada, p. 161.
.Porada, p. 161 — citation ignored.
.Edzard, Vol. 11, pp. 965, 968, 969.
.Porada, pp. 155-156 — the hyphen is added to "Ca" for clarity.
.Edzard, pp. 970‑971.
.Edzard, p. 969; parenthetical dates are excluded after ‘
.F.R. Steele, "
.Edzard, p. 971.
.Edzard, p. 970.
.Edzard, p. 970.
.L. Legrain, Publication of the Babylonian Section of the
.Weidner, Archiv fuer Keilshcrift-forschung (I, 1923), p. 95; Weidner, Archiv fuer Orient-forschung (III, 1926), p. 198; cited in Hoeh, p. 236.
.Porada, p. 163.
.Edzard, p. 971.
.Porada, p. 162.
.Porada, p. 162.
.Porada, pp. 162-163.
.Porada, p. 136 — emphasis added for clarity.
.Edzard, p. 971.