More Šu-Suen Seals During the Reign of Amar-Suen

CDLN 2010:3

Cuneiform Digital Library Notes (ISSN: 1546-6566)

Published on 2010-06-01

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except when noted otherwise and in the case of artifact images which follow the CDLI terms of use.

As already noted by Waetzoldt (1970/71), there are several tablets that, while dated to the reign of Amar-Suen, nevertheless bear seal impressions with a dedication to his successor Šu-Suen. The recent publications of BPOA 6 and 7 (Sigrist and Ozaki 2009) add 10 new such tablets to this group. These include (arranged by date):
BPOA 6, 948 (AS 7)
BPOA 6, 788 (AS 8 xii 12)
BPOA 6, 1461 (AS 8)
BPOA 6, 824 (AS 9 i 2)
BPOA 7, 2818 (AS 9 i 30)
BPOA 6, 786 (AS 9 vii 30)
BPOA 6, 445 (AS 9 x 9)
BPOA 6, 250 (AS 9 xi)
BPOA 7, 1672 (AS 9 xii 16)
BPOA 7, 1725 (AS 9)

Several of these occurrences date to late in Amar-Suen's ninth year, after the king's death around AS 9 ii 9 (Sallaberger 1999: 167), and may simply be explained as honoring the new king—Šu-Suen—even if, for administrative purposes, the calendar had not yet recognized his ascension to the throne.

Nevertheless, at least five of the texts listed above are dated to before Amar-Suen's death. In his discussion of this phenomenon, Waetzoldt (1970/71) posited a co-regency for Amar-Suen and Šu-Suen, but the argument remains unconvincing (Sallaberger 1999: 166). Thus, other possibilities must be explored.

In attempting to answer this question, a comparative approach is useful. In particular, it is noteworthy that there are no attestations of seals dedicated to Amar-Suen before AS 1. Indeed, such seals are not even present during the short time between Šulgi˺s death ca. Š 48 xi 2 (Michalowski 1977b) and AS 1.

The case of Ibbi-Sin, the last king of the dynasty, is somewhat more complicated. Several tablets, e.g. SA 154, NYPL 264, and Nik 2, 190, bear impressions of dedicatory seals to Ibbi-Sin, but are dated to ŠS 9. The former is dated to the 11th month of the year, and thus approximately one month after Šu-Suen˺s death (Sallaberger 1999: 171). It is likely that NYPL 264 and Nik 2, 190, while not dated to the month, were similarly written after Šu-Suen˺s death.

More vexing are texts like SAT 3, 1892, BIN 3, 585, and SET 115. The first is dated to ŠS 9 ix 18, just a few days before our terminus ante quem for Šu-Suen˺s death. The texts BIN 3, 585 and SET 115, however, are unequivocally dated to a time when Šu-Suen was alive; the former to ŠS 9 v and the latter to ŠS 8. If, as in the case of Amar-Suena and Šu-Suen, a co-regency between Šu-Suen and Ibbi-Sin seems unlikely, then some other explanation is necessary. Was the end of Šu-Suen's reign plagued by internal strife as has been tentatively posited for the case of Amar-Suen (Michalowski 1977a)? Or can this phenomenon be explained via some mundane administrative practice that has yet to be discerned?




Michalowski, Piotr
  1977a “Amar-Su'ena and the Historical Tradition.” In M. Ellis, ed., Essays on the Ancient Near East in Memory of Jacob Joel Finkelstein. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, pp. 155-157.
  1977b “The Death of Shulgi.” OrNS 46, 220-225.
Sallaberger, Walther
  1999 “Ur III-Zeit.” In P. Attinger and M. Wäfler, eds., Mesopotamien. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 160/3. Freiburg, Switzerland - Göttingen: Academic Press, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 121-390.
Sigrist, Marcel, and Ozaki, Tohru
  2009 Neo-Sumerian Administrative Tablets from the Yale Babylonian Collection, Parts 1 and 2. BPOA 6 and 7. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Waetzoldt, Hartmut
  1970/71 “Thronfolger auch Mitregent?” Mesopotamia 5/6, 321-323.
Cite this Article
Allred, Lance. 2010. “More Šu-Suen Seals During the Reign of Amar-Suen.” Cuneiform Digital Library Notes 2010 (3).
Allred, Lance. (2010). More Šu-Suen Seals During the Reign of Amar-Suen. Cuneiform Digital Library Notes, 2010(3).
Allred, Lance (2010) “More Šu-Suen Seals During the Reign of Amar-Suen,” Cuneiform Digital Library Notes, 2010(3). Available at: (Accessed: April 16, 2024).
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-04-16]},
	address = {Oxford; Berlin; Los Angeles},
	author = {Allred,  Lance},
	journal = {Cuneiform Digital Library Notes},
	issn = {1546-6566},
	number = {3},
	year = {2010},
	publisher = {Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative},
	title = {More {\v {S}}u-{Suen} {Seals} {During} the {Reign} of {Amar}-{Suen}},
	url = {},
	volume = {2010},

AU  - Allred,  Lance
DA  - 2010///
PY  - 2010
ET  - 2010/6/1/
ID  - cdln-2010-3
IS  - 3
J2  - CDLN
SN  - 1546-6566
T2  - Cuneiform Digital Library Notes
TI  - More Šu-Suen Seals During the Reign of Amar-Suen
UR  -
VL  - 2010
Y2  - 2024/4/16/
ER  - 
This website uses essential cookies that are necessary for it to work properly. These cookies are enabled by default.