The Inscriptions of the Kings of Agade

The Missing Fragment of the Nippur Tablet. CBS. 13972

By: Leon Legrain

Originally Published in 1923

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ABOUT B. c. 2600, a scribe of the temple of Enlil at Nippur who had the training of an historian, compiled on a large 28 column tablet, the inscriptions on the stelae, on the statues and their pedestals, and on other votive monuments erected by the kings of Agade in the courts of the temple to the glory of Enlil, and in memory of their own victorious campaigns from the upper to the lower sea, from the Persian Gulf to the mountains of Asia Minor.

This precious tablet of unbaked clay, that we fain wish had been preserved in its entirety, was excavated by the third Nippur Expedition, about 1894. The main portion was published¹ by A. Poebel in 1914. The large fragment now recovered is a welcome addition to the text that treasures for us the records of 45 centuries ago. It is a portion of the Columns 3 to 26 of Poebel’s text, to which it is linked very exactly by a few lines of the Columns 4 and 25.

Fragments of a tablet pieced together showing many lines of cuneiform inscription
Fig. 42. — The Inscriptions of the Kings of Agade, about B.C. 2700. The missing Fragments of the Nippur Tablet, CBS 13972. Obverse.
Museum Object Number: B13972

The most important and far reaching information concerns Sargon of Agade, the founder of the empire that extended from the upper to the lower sea. Sargon has always been a popular and leading figure of Babylonian and Assyrian history. The gods gave him power and he extended his rule over countries never subject to any of his ancestors. The kings and the ishakkus of the North and of the South stood as servants before him. His empire was a new feature in the land. Its limits were Elam and the Persian Gulf in the South; the Lebanon, the range of the Taurus, the Hittite land in the Northwest. In modern language Sargon controlled the main trading road that linked Asia Minor to the Indian Ocean, he was the master of a Bagdad line, which followed not the Tigris but the Euphrates.

His first drive South across the Sumerian land cleared his access to the sea. He not only defeated the king of Uruk, Lugalzaggisi, and led him as a prisoner through the gate of Enlil, but after a hard and renewed fight, forced the other cities, Ur, Lagash, Umma, and Adab to surrender. Their walls were destroyed. They ceased to be a barrier or a menace. Agade became the head harbour. The boats of Magan, Meluhha and Dilmun lined the quays in front of the city. These old geographical names cover the coasts and countries of Arabia, Ethiopia, and the isles of Bahrein, and prove the importance of the traffic by sea toward Egypt and India. Agade succeeded and replaced the ancient Eridu, probably the most primitive station connecting Sumer with Predynastic Egypt. Sargon’s campaign was thoroughly successful and he could wash his weapons in the sea. He gave honour to Enlil, the master of the Sumerian land, erected monuments to him, and had them engraved with an inscription on record in the temple of Nippur. The neighbouring countries, Elam and Mari, which is perhaps the later land of Ashur, made obeisance.

Sargon’s campaign toward the Northwest along the Euphrates is still more interesting. Here he was to reach the countries of Mari, Iarmuti, Ibla, as far as the cedar forest and the silver mountain, probably the Lebanon and the Taurus, a country of fine timber and rich mining, the upper land, and the upper sea. But the honour of the campaign goes this time not to the Southern Sumerian god Enlil, but to a strange new god Dagan, master of the northern country along the Euphrates, and of a new race, the Amorites. In his own city of Dŭdŭli—or Tutuli, in the Akkadian text—Sargon worships and bends his head unto him, as to the acknowledged lord of Mesopotamia from Sippar to Biredjik.

The location of Tutuli along the river is of great historical import. The shrine of Dagan marks one of the early centres of culture of the Amorites. While the precise site is not yet known, it might be tempting to identify it with the land and city of Hana, south of the Haboras at Tell ‘Ishar near Salhije.

Several monuments and tablets have been discovered at Tirqa and Tell ‘Ishar, which throw an interesting light on the history of Hana and the cult of Dagan. A temple was erected here to Dagan by the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad. On a contract tablet from Hana, the parties take the oath in the name of Shamash, of Dagan, and of a third indigenous god Idur-me-ir. The tablet is dated in the year when Isharlim son of Ibi-Marduk built the gate of the palace in the city of Kashdab. There was a king of Ḫana, son of Ilushaba, whose name Tukulti-me-ir, means, Me-ir is my protection, and strangely resembles the god Idur-me-ir invoked with Dagan on the contract tablet. Has this god anything in common with the thunder god Immer or Adad, thus establishing a close relationship between Sumer and Amurru? In any case the Euphrates was evidently the line of communication that would unite the two countries. Tablets and monuments date from the Cassites. Before them the retiring Hittite after ruining the first Babylonian dynasty and plundering Babylon left in Ḫana the statues of Marduk and Sarpanit, so as to show the superiority of Dagan over the vanquished Babylonian gods.

Copy of inscription on tablet fragment
Fig. 43. — The Inscriptions of the Kings of Agade. The missing fragment of the Nippur Tablet, CBS 13972.

A striking confirmation of the importance of Dagan of Tutuli is supplied by the Prologue of the Code of Hammurabi. It is a well known fact that the king was an Amorite. Among his many titles of worshipper and protector of many gods and cities, he singles out Dagan as the particular patron of his race and family. In his name he rules over the countries along the banks of the Euphrates and in particular over the inhabitants of Mera and Tutul. Tutul is the Dŭdŭlí, or Tutuli of Sargon, and Mera must be called after the god Idur-me-ir of the Ḫana text.

Three centuries earlier, under the kings of the third Ur Dynasty, we find Dŭdŭlí as a dependent and confederate city sending a body of auxiliary troops like Anshan and Nippur. There was a patesi of Dŭdŭl named Hunibar, and his troops under the command of Ishmeani return to Dŭdŭlí.

The cult of Dagan was not limited to Hana, but extended to neighbouring countries like Mari, Iarmuti and Ibla. Among the proper names on the Drehem tablets we see a man of Ibla called Ili dDagan, Dagan is my god. Not only the kings of Isin, Idin-Dagan, Ishme-Dagan, may have been born Amorites, but many foreigners living in Babylonia would be called servant of the god Ḫani : Ur Ḫani as a homage to the god of their original home. The god and country of Ḫani, as different from Hana, have been located in Hittite land west of the Euphrates between Antioch and Carchemish. A seal cylinder in the British Museum’ has preserved a representation of a war god armed with a sheaf of nine clubs and a scimitar, and stepping on a prostrate enemy. All details of beard, hair, headdress, and tunic betray Hittite influence. The seal belonged to Ḫa-a-ni-lu-ú, son of Ḫunubim, servant of Agabaraz. The god is attended by two minor servants or deities armed with the curved scimitar, while a bareheaded worshipper or priest with pail and cone stands on a two stepped altar or platform ready to pour the libation. The cult of Hani, or Dagan, copied closely the Babylonian rites.

The same foreign Amorite origin and influence may be traced in the proper names of Libanuk shabash patesi of Marharshi–Mar’ash?—and of Gimil-Ishhara of Mari, along the military and commercial road that led toward North Syria and Cappadocia. The Sumero-Akkadian colony which existed at Galashu or Ganish¹ in Cappadocia in the days of Sargon, bears witness to the extension of the cult of Dagal or Dagan, and to the spirit of enterprise of the ancient merchants.

Other names of rulers and cities, and details of campaigns and of votive offerings will be found in the recovered text of the missing fragment, which fortunately is connected with and completes the main portion published by A. Poebel.

Copy of inscription on tablet fragment
Fig. 44. — The Inscriptions of the Kings of Agade. The missing Fragment of the Nippur Tablet, CBS 13972. Reverse.
Col. 3 Col. 4
šar-um-GI [Sar-ru-GI] Unto Šarru-kin
lugal šà[r] king
kalam-ma-ra KALAM-MA [ki] of the land
den-lil-li den-lil Enlil
lù-érim ma-[hi-ra] gave
nu-na-si [la i-ti-sum] no foe (sem. adversary);
a[-ab-ba] [ti-a-am-dam] from the upper
igi-nim-ma-ta [a-lí-dam] sea
a-ab-ba [ù] to the lower
sî-šù [sa-bil-]dam sea
den-lil-[l]i den-lil Enlil
[mu-na-sì] i-ti-nu-sum gave unto him;
iš-tùm-ma and from
[a-ab-]ba ti-a-am-tim the lower
[si-]ta sa-bil-tim sea,
[dumu-me?] marê? the citizens?
[ag-gi-deki] a-ga-deki of Agade
[pa-te-si . . .] ISAG gu-a-tim the išakku of …
[ú-ga] ú-ga lù Uga the man
lù ma[-riki] ma-ríki of Mari
lù [nimki] ù ELAMki and Elam
igi šar-um-GI mah-rí-iš stand
lugal šar-ru-GI before
kalam-ma-ka-šù šàr Šarru-kin
(n)ì-làh-gi-èš KALAM-MAki king
i-za-zu-ni of the land.
Col. 5 Col. 6
About 4 lines missing
[šar-um-GI] šar-ru-GI Šarru-kin
[lugal] Mr king
[kiški] kiš[i] of Kiš
[34 . . .] ra 34 KAS-x won
[tún-]KÁR ne-sì LAM-KUR-ar 34 battles.
BÁD-BÁD he destroyed
nì-gul-gul (N)Ì-GUL-GUL the walls
zag a-ab-ba- a-ti-ma pu-ti as far as the front
ka-šù ti-a-am-tim of the sea.
má me-luh-ha má me-luh-ha The ships of Meluhh.a
má má-gánki má má-gánki the ships of Magan
má ni-tukki má dilmunki the ships of Dihnun
kár ag-gi-diki in ga-ri-im he collected.
-ka mahar a-ga-deki unto the quay
(n)ì kešda uš-ku-lì in front of Agade
šar-um-GI šar-ru-GI Šarru-kin
lugal šarni the king
dŭ-dŭ-liki a in tu-tu-liki in Tutuli
dda-gán-ra a-na unto
ki-a-mu-na-za ada-gán Dagan
KA (+?)mu . . . uš-ga-en he worshipped
kalam igi-nim . . . .gi? si . . . . and
mu-na-sì ma-dam he gave unto him
a-lí-dam the upper land,
i-(tím)ti-sum Mari
The lower part in PBS. IV, p 177 and Ibla
as far as
the cedar forest
and the silver
Col. 7
ù and
50 ISAG 50 išakku
ù and
šarrani kings
sù-ma his hand then
ŠU-DŬ-A captured
ù and
in na-gúr-za-amki with Nagurzam
KAS-x he battled
iš-ni-a-ma he repeated it
iš-gu-na-ma and insisted
LAM +KUR-ar and vanquished
ù and
in uríki in Ur
i-ni he returned
ig-sa-ma and seized it
di-da-ah- and had it
hi? za-ma in his power
da-wa-ar for ever
ù and
ub-meki Umma
in KAS-x in a battle
LAM-FKUR-ar he vanquished
ù and
URUki he smote
SAG-GIŠ-RA the city
ù and
la-BUR-ŠIRki with Lagaš
in KAS-x he battled
ù and
giš TUKUL-gi-su he washed
in ti-a-am-tim his weapons
[N]Ì-LAH in the sea
The lower part in PBS. IV, p. 179.
Col. 8
ù and
lugal-zag-gi-si with Lugalzaggisi
Šar king
urukk of Uruk
in KAS-x he battled,
ŠU-DŬ-A he captured him,
in SI-GAR-NE-RU in fetters
a-na KA through the gate
dden-lil of Enlil
ú-ru-uš he led him
šar-ru-GI Sarru-kin
šàr king
a-ga-deki of Agade
in KAS-x battled
uríki with Ur
LAM +KUR-ar he vanquished
ù and
URUki he smote
SAG-GIŠ-RA the city
ù and
BÁD-su destroyed
[N]Ì-GUL-GUL his wall.
The lower part in PBS. IV, p. 180.
Col. 9
[iš-tùm-ma] and from
[ti-a-am}-tim the lower
[sa-bil]-tim sea
[mar]ê? the citizens?
a-ga-deki of Agade
ISAG gu-a-tim the išakku of …
ú-ga lù Uga the man
ma-ríki of Mari
ù ELAki and of Elam
mah-rí-iš stand
šar-ru-GI before
šàr Sarru-kin
KALAM-MAki king
i-za-zu-ni of the land
šar-ru-GI Šarru-kin
šàr king
KALAM-MAki of the land,
[kiš]ki restored
[a]-ša-rí-su Kiš
i-ni in its place
ù and
URUki LAM+KUR the destroyed city
ú-di-hi-su-ni he possessed again
[ša] DUB whoever
[sù]-a shall destroy
ù-sa-za-ku-ni this inscription …
The lower part in PBS. IV, p. 181.


td>… which


td>. . Aratta?

Col. 10
[ ]-ni
den-lil Enlil
DI-KUD-su his judge
i-ti-nu-ma gave unto him
ù and
urukki he smote
6 lines missing
[ ] …..
[ kur?-]ru
ù nibruki and Nippur
a-na unto
den-lil Enlil
ù-li-il he prayed
šar-ru-GI unto Sarru-kin
šàr king
KALAM-MAki of the land
SU den-lil the hand of Enlil
ma-hi-ra has given
la i-ti-nu-sum no adversary
[ ] ….
The lower part in PBS. IV p. 183.
Col. 11
uruk [ki] Uruk
[ ] [ ]
about 6 lines missing
[50 IS]AG 50 išakku
ù and
šarrani kings
sù-ma his hand then
ŠU-DŬ-A captured.
ša DUB sù-a Whoever shall destroy
ú-sa-za-ku this inscription
den-lil may Enlil
ù and
dŠamaš Sama.
SUHUS-su tear out
li-zu-ha his foundation
ù and
ŠE-NUMUN-su destroy
li-íl-gu-da his seed
ma-ma-na whoever
DÙL shall hide
sù-a this
[ú]-a-ha-ru statue
Lower part in PBS. IV, p. 184.
Col. 12
[ELAM]ki of Elam
ù and
ba-ra-ah-siki of Barahsi
zag-mah ?a gub-ba Standing in front of the ….
nig-dún Tribute?
URU+Aki of Uru+a
sa-nam-si-mu-tam Sanamsimutam
ISAG išakku
ELAMki of Elam
lu-uh-iš-ilum Luhišilum
mâr hi-si-ib-ra-si-ni son of Hisibrasini
šàr king
ELAMki of Elam
nig-dún Tribute
sa-li-a-muki of Saliamu
nig-dún Tribute
kàr-ne-[ne?]ki of Karnene
ul-[ ] Ul…
šakanak šakanakku
ba-ra-ah-sì[ki] of Barahsi
Lower part in PBS. IV, p. 186.
Col. 13
….. …..
da-an the judge?
den-lil . . . Enlil
ú-gal-lim subjected it?
ma-ma-na None
ba-ni-su of his ancestors
ù-la ever
ú-ba-al ruled it.
ti-a-am-dam The upper
a-lí-dam and the lower
ù sa-bil-dam sea
i-ti-sum he gave unto him
šar-ru-GI Šarru-kin
šàr king
kiš[i] of Kiš
[ ] ……
Lower part in PBS. IV, p. 187.
Col. 14
má[ ]
in[ ]
ù[ ]
uš[ ]
šar-[ru-GI ] Šarru-kin
šàr king.
4 lines missing
[ ]-dam the upper
a-lí-dam [ ]
i-ti-sum he gave unto him
ni? [ ] [ ]
Col. 15
The upper part in PBS. IV, p. 187.
d[en-lil] . . Enlil
ú-gal-[lim] subjected it
ma-ma-na none
ba-ni-su of his ancestors
ù-la ever
ú-ba-al ruled it.
du[ ] [ ]
Col. 16
The upper part in PBS. IV, p. 188.
8 lù [ ] 8 men
3 an? šah [ ] 3….
71 giš-KU giš-erin? 71 logs?. .
hi-si-ib-ra-si-ri Hisibrasini
šàr king
ELAMki of Elam
ENGUR-RA-NE-NE-a-al-ku along the rivers
ŠU hi-ba-a-ab-ri by the hands of Hibâbri
ib-ba-li he returns.
ša(g)-bi-an . . In the middle of …
ki-gal-gal . . . on the pedestal …
rí-mu-[uš] Unto Rimuš
šàr king
[kiški] of Kiš
[] ….
šar Enlil
den-[lil] gave
i-ti-nu-[sum] the royalty?
The lower part in PBS. IV, p. 189.
Col. 17
The upper part in PBS. IV, pp. 189-191.
KALAM-[MAki] the land
ka-za-luki of Kazalu
12051 GURUŠ-GURUŠ 12051 men
ú-sa-am-gí-it he cast down
5862 LÙ+ŠU 5862 prison –
ŠU-DŬ-A he captured
ù and
a-ša-rí-id Ašarid
ISAG išakku
ka-za-luki of Kazalu
ŠU-DŬ-A he captured
ù and
BÁD-su his wall
[N]Ì-GUL-GUL he destroyed
naphar 54000 a total of 54000.
[ ] 16 GURUŠ-GURUŠ . . . 16 men
[ ] gí he …
[ ] tim ……

Cite This Article

Legrain, Leon. "The Inscriptions of the Kings of Agade." The Museum Journal XIV, no. 3 (September, 1923): 203-220. Accessed June 18, 2024.

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

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