Inscriptions of Ur-Ningirsu II and Igi-hatet in the National Museum of Iran

CDLN 2017:1

Cuneiform Digital Library Notes (ISSN: 1546-6566)

Published on 2021-02-01

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The Sumerian and Akkadian inscriptions, presented here, were brought to my attention by Simin Piran during my work for the CDLI in the National Museum of Iran.[1] The Sumerian inscription mentions the name Ur-Ningirsu II, son of Gudea, king of Lagaš, who ruled ca. 2110 BC. The text is well-known from previous publications, but all other examples are from Iraq. The Akkadian inscription of Igi-hatet was also previously published, but the nature of these publications left many questions unanswered. The inscription was also unlocated, and previous studies may have been done primarily from low resolution photos or early hand copies.

Inscription of Ur-Ningirsu II (NMI 8491) RIME 3/

Artifact type: Sumerian brick

Measurement: 300x300x60 mm

Provenance: Susa (?)

Date: Neo-Sumerian

The Tehran inscription is a duplicate of one of the previously known types of Ur-Ningirsu inscriptions (Van Dijk-Coombes, 2017: 372-374; Edzard, 1997 181-188). The text records the building of Ningirsu`s gigun (temple cella) (Edzard 1997: 182). The museum records lack information as to whether this inscription was found during archaeological excavations. Nor do they show whether it was confiscated from smugglers. Although the possibility of a modern acquisition can not be completely ruled out, it is also possible that the brick was brought to Elam together with other Mesopotamian artifacts during the military campaigns of Šutruk-Nahhunte and Šilhak-Inšušinak in the late second millennium BC.  

Col i

1- d.˹nin-ĝir2˺-su

2- ˹ur˺-saĝ kala-ga

3- ˹d.en-lil2-la2˺ 

4- lugal-˹a˺-ni

5- ur-d.nin-˹ĝir2˺-su

6- ensi2

7- lagaški

8- dumu gu3-de2-a

Col ii

9- ˹ensi2˺

10- lagaški

11- lu2 e2-˹ninnu˺-

12- d.nin-ĝir2-su-ka

13- ˹in-du3˺-a-ke4

14- ˹gi-gun4˺-ki-aĝ2-ĝa2-ni

15- šim-˹eren˺-na

16- mu-na-ni-du3

For Ningirsu, the mighty warrior of Enlil, his king, Ur-Ningirsu, the ensi of Lagaš, son of Gudea, the ensi of Lagaš, who built the E-ninnu of Ningirsu, built its beloved gigun in the scent of cedars for him.

Inscription of Igi-hatet (NMI 8519; 2b2 in Steve 1987)

Artifact type: Akkadian brick

Measurements: 320x80x110 mm

Provenance: Deh-e-no (?)

Date: Middle Elamite

This inscription is a brick of Igi-hatet, an Elamite king, whose name was first deciphered in a brick found in the Tehran Automobile Museum (NCMI 001 ), by Meysam Abdoli and I in 2015 (Daneshmand and Abdoli 2015). This is the second brick, wherein the name of Igi-hatet is preserved. This brick together with a duplicate brick (2a) was first published by Marie-Joseph Steve (1987: 12 Fig. 4, Pl. 1 4), where he mistakenly identified the name of the king as Igi-halki. Steve did not mention if he studied the originals or worked only from photos. Nor did he indicate the location of the bricks. It is possible that Steve had only access to the photo of the inscription, leading to his misreading of the name of the king. Steve considered the brick (2a) as the main text, and thus did not offer a complete transliteration and translation of 2b2 (the NMI brick).

1- m.i-gi-ḫa-te-et  ma-an-za-˹at˺ iš-si2  iš-me-šu-ma šar-ru-ut  v. […..]

       igi-ḫatet manzat issi išmēšū-ma šarrūt [šušim]

2-  u3  an-za-an  id-di-iš-šum-˹ma˺  ku-ku-na  ša3 e-pi-ir la-bi-ra! 

     u anzan iddiššum-˹ma˺ kukunnâ ša epirti labīra

3- u2-uš-ši2-iš-ma a-na  ma-an-za-at id-di-in ma-an-za-at

    uššiš-ma  ana manzat iddim  manzat

4- ba-la-ṭa2 da-<ra>  li-id-˹di˺-iš-šu

   balāṭa dāra ˹liddiššu˺

5-  šar-ru-ut  ḫu-ud  li-ib-˹bi˺  li-še-pi-iš-su2

       šarrūt ḫūd ˹libbi˺ lišēpissu

(1-3) Igi-hatet called Manzat, she heard him (and) bestowed the kingdom of [Susa] and Anshan on him, and he (=Igi-hatet) renewed the kukunnû of old backed brick, and gave it to Manzat.

(3-4) May Manzat give a long life to him.

5- May she (=Manzat) make a joyful kingship for him.


l- The end of the line is broken, where we expect the word šušim, but there is the sign DIŠ after šarrūt, which suggests against the formula šarrūt šušim, attested in other witnesses. However, no other possibilities seem plausible.

3- Steve reads uš-ši2-ir (Steve 1987: 12). In our 2015 article, Abdoli and I were in doubt whether our reading id-di-in in the NCMI brick was correct, but the study of the NMI brick, and the matching of the second sign in this verb with the sign DI in line 4, now prove that the verb in question is certainly iddin, and the reading 2-ši2-ir is thus ruled out.


[1] - I wish to thank Dr. Jebrael Nokandeh, director of the National Museum of Iran (NMI), for permitting me to publish these inscriptions as part of the joint project of the NMI and the CDLI aimed at digitizing the cuneiform collections of the NMI . I am also grateful to Simin Piran, curator of the Inscription Section of the National Museum of Iran, for her generous cooperation during my work in the museum. My thanks are also due to Sima Abed Kahnamoui, head of the Smuggled Goods Office of the National Museum of Iran.



Daneshmand, P. and M. Abdoli
  2015 A New King of Susa and Anshan. CDLIB
Edzard, D. O.
  1997 Gudea and His Dynasty. Toronto Buffalo London: University of Toronto Press.
Steve, M.-J.
  1987 Nouveaux mélanges épigraphiques : inscriptions royales de Suse et de la Susiane. Nice: Nice: Éditions Serre.
Van Dijk-Coombes, R. M.
  2017 Portrait of a Ruler: The Portrayal of Ur-Ningirsu in Statuary and Inscriptions. Journal for Semitics, 358-381.