The Isin-Larsa Dynasties

The Babylonian Collections of the University Museum

By: Leon Legrain

Originally Published in 1944

View PDF

Statuette of a seated lady wearing a flounced garment and with her hands clasped together at her midriff, the panels of her chair are covered with an inscription in cuneiform.
Figure 41. Statue of the Goddess Ningal, dedicated by the high priest, Enannatum, 1963 B.C.
Museum Object Number: B16229
Image Number: 8439

The cult of the moon-god survived the ruin of the city. After forty years the statue of Nannar was brought back to Ur. Temple, tower, courts and shrines were rebuilt in turn by the new kings of Isin, Larsa – and Uruk – who had portioned out the Sumerian land. In the Akkadian north the power of the Amorite kings of Babylon was daily growing. At Ur, inscribed bricks and clay cones, door sockets and foundation tablets witness the building activity and devotion of the rulers of Isin and Larsa to the ancient shrine of Nannar. In keeping with an honoured tradition, Enannatum, a prince of Isin, was appointed high priest. There is in the Babylonian Section a charming statuette of a seated Ningal presented by him to the Egipar shrine. Three sides of the square stool bear a votive inscription. The goddess wears a long flounced sleeved robe. Her hands are clasped. Long locks fall on her shoulders and a now missing metal crown once adorned her head. (Figure 41.)

This period of transition of the kings of Isin and Larsa before the establishment of the First Dynasty of Babylon, has been called “The Age of Abraham.” Of course no direct record of the patriarch has so far come out of the trenches. But a rich hoard of Sumerian tablets discovered at Ur, in a well-preserved quarter of the city, abundantly illustrates the normal conditions of life of the inhabitants of Ur at that time. In a rapidly changing world, where Sumerian traditions were threatened by the ascendency of the Semitic rule and language, the scribes were busy collecting and compiling the Sumerian lore of the past. In a somewhat decadent type of script and schoolman dialect-like the low Latin of the Middle Ages-they incessantly copied religious and legal documents, lists of dynasties and lists of years of each king, astronomical records, medical recipes, school exercises of all kinds, vocabularies, mathematical, metrological tables, etc. The same learned activity developed in the schools attached to all the other famous temples in the land, and accounts for the large collection of tablets of Nippur and Sippara.

Cite This Article

Legrain, Leon. "The Isin-Larsa Dynasties." Museum Bulletin X, no. 3-4 (June, 1944): 57-58. Accessed February 28, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/2663/


This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

Report problems and issues to digitalmedia@pennmuseum.org.