Sumerian Steles: Vultures and Naram Sin

Sumerian Steles: Vultures and Naram Sin
Sumerian Steles: Vultures and Naram Sin

In the fruitful valley located between the Tigris and the Euphrates an important cultural focus was developed, of which a large part of its history is still unknown today; In the Mesopotamian area, great empires, or rather kingdoms, rose up and fought each other to gain control of the fertile valley. The towns located in this area were great warriors whose feats are not always known to us but fortunately some of them have been carved for posterity, in this sense the two works that are analyzed below have a common element: both are stelae that deal with to recall victory in a great battle.


In ancient art it was common for some facts of special relevance to remain carved on stelae, these being understood as monuments almost always of the monolithic type that have been an invaluable source of documentation for the historians and archaeologists of our time. Both the stela of the vultures and the stele of victory are practically contemporary in time, the first of them dating from the year 2450 BC. and the second, just a hundred years later around the year 2250 BC

The Stela of the Vultures commemorates the victory of the monarch Eannatum king of the city of Lagash over the king USH of Umma at the end of the archaic period. The stele appeared in Girsu and unfortunately it was found to be in a very bad state as it wasdivided into seven fragments and it seems that not all parts were found. The stela has both sides carved, in the obverse area there are mythological representations of the god Ningirsu and a goddess that has not been identified. For its part, in the reserve, we find the representation of the historical scene, with the soldiers of Eannatum arranged in different registers and commanded by their monarch. The name of the palette refers to the multitude of bugs and vultures that are under the feet of the soldiers, who are busy devouring the corpses of the already defeated enemies.


Pr its part the Victory Stela, also known as Naram Stela Sin was found in Sosa and is made of pink sandstone. The work commemorates the victory of Naram Sin over the Lullubi, although the documentary sources found in this regard make us consider the idea that the stela was more propagandistic than historical. Great detail is observed in it since the author has even bothered to represent a natural landscape for the background of the composition. In the upper part the monarch crushes his enemies, one of them lies on the ground with a spear through his chest and the other begs the king for forgiveness. In the lower area, Naram Sin's army dispenses justice.

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