Tag Archives: King List

The Sumerian King List – Weld-Blundell Prism

From time immemorial since the Land was founded until the people multiplied, who has ever seen a reign of kingship that would take precedence for ever? Lament of Sumer and Ur (Oxford etcsl 1998 368-70).

The Weld-Blundell Prism

Kingslist_000The term ‘Sumerian King List’ refers to the listings of Sumerian and neighbouring ruling dynasties derived from a number of sources mainly discovered early in the last century. The principal, most comprehensive, of these is the ‘Weld-Blundell Prism’. There are some twenty copies of the list or parts of it, some of which had been discovered before the Prism (Bienkowski & Millard 2000 169); (Wikipedia). Later king lists preserved and utilised this format at least up to the ‘Babylonica’, the History of Babylon, written by Berossus during the Hellenistic period in about 280 BC. (Burstein 1989 1)

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The Sumerian King List

Sumerian King List

The Sumerian King List is an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer (ancient southern Iraq) from Sumerian and neighboring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of “official” kingship. Kingship was believed to have been handed down by the gods, and could be transferred from one city to another, reflecting perceived hegemony in the region. Throughout its Bronze Age existence, the document evolved into a political tool. Its final and single attested version, dating to the Middle Bronze Age, aimed to legitimize Isin’s claims to hegemony when Isin was vying for dominance with Larsa and other neighboring city-states in southern Mesopotamia.


The Weld-Blundell Prism – The Sumerian kings list artifact, displaying all four sides.

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