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Under their king Eannutum, Lagash became the centre of a small empire which included most of Sumer and parts of neighboring Elam.This empire was still extant under the king Lugal-Zage when a young man, who later claimed to have been the king’s gardener, seized the throne.Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Kuwait) which is generally considered the cradle of civilization.The name comes from Akkadian, the language of the north of Mesopotamia, and means “land of the civilized kings”.According to the Sumerian King List, when the gods first gave human beings the gifts necessary for cultivating society, they did so by establishing the city of Eridu in the region of Sumer.
This period is also known as The Sumerian Renaissance due to the remarkable advances in culture – touching upon virtually every single aspect of civilized human life – which were made.
According to the Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer, “The first ruler of Sumer, whose deeds are recorded, if only in the briefest kind of statement, is a king by the name of Etana of Kish, who may have come to the throne quite early in the third millennium B. In the King List he is described as `he who stabilized all the lands’.” The Sumerian King List is a cuneiform document, written by a scribe of the city of Lagash, sometime around 2100 BCE which lists all of the kings of the region, and their accomplishments, in an attempt to show continuity of order in society dating back to the beginning of civilization.
As the Mesopotamians generally, and the Sumerians specifically, believed that civilization was the result of the gods’ triumph of order over chaos, the King List is thought to have been created to legitimize the reign of a king named Utu-Hegal of Uruk (who ruled c.
The kingship also arose at this time and the city-states of Sumer came to be ruled by a single monarch who was assisted by a council of elders (which included both men and women).
The kings following Etana were Semites, not Sumerians, as attested to by their names such as Enmebaraggesi of Kish.