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Nippur (
Sumerian
Sumerian
: ''Nibru'', often logographically recorded as , EN.LÍLKI, "Enlil City;"
The Cambridge Ancient History: Prolegomena & Prehistory
': Vol. 1, Part 1. Accessed 15 Dec 2010.
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
: ''Nibbur'') was an ancient
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian city. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a ...
, the "Lord Wind", ruler of the cosmos, subject to An alone. Nippur was located in modern Nuffar in
Afak , settlement_type = Town , pushpin_map = Iraq , pushpin_label_position = , pushpin_map_caption = , pushpin_mapsize = , subdivision_type = List of sovereign states, Country , subdivision_name = , subdi ...
,
Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate Al-Qadisiyah Governorate ( ar, القادسية, translit=Al Qādisiyah) is one of the governorates of Iraq Iraq consists of 19 governorates ( ar, محافظة, Muhafazah, muḥāfażah; ku, parêzgeh), also known as "provinces". Per the Ir ...
,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
.


History

Nippur never enjoyed political hegemony in its own right, but its control was crucial, as it was considered capable of conferring the overall "kingship" on monarchs from other city-states. It was distinctively a sacred city, important from the possession of the famous shrine of Enlil.
Ninurta Ninurta ( sux, 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅁: , "Lord Urta" meaning of this name not known), also known as Ninĝirsu ( sux, 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒄈𒋢: , meaning “Lord Girsu”), is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian god associated wit ...
had his main
cult In modern English, a cult is a social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Regardless, soc ...
center, the E-shumesha temple, in the city-state. According to the ''Tummal Chronicle'',
Enmebaragesi Enmebaragesi (Sumerian:𒂗𒈨𒁈𒄄𒋛) originally Mebarasi (Sumerian:𒈨𒁈𒋛) was the penultimate king of the first dynasty of Kish and is recorded as having reigned 900 years in the ''Sumerian King List''. Like his son and successor ...
, an early ruler of Kish, was the first to build up this temple. His influence over Nippur has also been detected archaeologically. The ''Chronicle'' lists successive early Sumerian rulers who kept up intermittent ceremonies at the temple:
Aga of Kish Aga (Sumerian language, Sumerian:𒀝𒂵) commonly known as Aga of Kish, was the twenty-third and last king in the first dynasty of Kish (Sumer), Kish during Early Dynastic Period (Mesopotamia)#Periodization, Early Dynastic I. He is listed in th ...
, son of Enmebaragesi;
Mesannepada Mesannepada ( sux, , ), Mesh-Ane-pada or Mes-Anne-pada ("Youngling chosen by An") was the first king listed for the First Dynasty of Ur The First Dynasty of Ur was a 26th-25th century BCE dynasty of rulers of the city of Ur in ancient Sumer. I ...
of
Ur
Ur
; his son Meskiang-nunna;
Gilgamesh , image = Hero lion Dur-Sharrukin Louvre AO19862.jpg , alt = , caption = Possible representation of Gilgamesh as Master of Animals The Master of Animals or Lord of Animals is a motif in ancient art showing a human betw ...

Gilgamesh
of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
; his son
Ur-Nungal Ur-Nungal of Uruk was the sixth Sumerian ruler in the First Dynasty of Uruk (ca. 26th century BC), according to the ''Sumerian King List'', which also claims he ruled 30 years.Thorkild Jacobsen, ''The Sumerian King List'' (Chicago: University of C ...
; Nanni of Ur and his son Meskiang-nanna. It also indicates that the practice was revived in the
Ur III period The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 179 ...
by
Ur-Nammu Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: , ruled c. 2112 BC – 2094 BC middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions a ...
of Ur, and continued until
Ibbi-Sin Ibbi-Sin ( sux, , ), son of Shu-Sin Shu-Sin, also Šu-Suen ( akk, 𒀭𒋗𒀭𒂗𒍪: ''dingir, DŠudingir, DSin (mythology), Sîn'', after the Moon God Suen, Sîn", the ":Wikt:𒀭, 𒀭" being a silent honorific for "Divine", formerly read Gim ...
appointed Enmegalana high priest in Uruk (c. 1950 BCE). Inscriptions of
Lugal-Zage-Si Lugal-Zage-Si ( ; frequently spelled ''Lugalzaggesi'', sometimes ''Lugalzagesi'' or "Lugal-Zaggisi") of Umma Umma ( sux, ; in modern in , formerly also called Gishban) was an ancient city in . There is some scholarly debate about the S ...
and Lugal-kigub-nidudu, kings of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
and
Ur
Ur
respectively, and of other early rulers, on door-sockets and stone vases, show the veneration in which the ancient shrine was then held, and the importance attached to its possession, as giving a certain stamp of legitimacy. On their votive offerings, some of these rulers designate themselves as ''
ensis ''Ensis'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscr ...
'', or governors.


Pre-Sargonic era

Originally a village of reed huts in the marshes, Nippur was especially prone to devastation by flooding or fire. For some reason, settlement persisted at the same spot, and gradually the site rose above the marshes – partly from the accumulation of debris, and partly through the efforts of the inhabitants. As the inhabitants began to develop in civilization, they substituted, at least in the case of their shrine, mud-brick buildings instead of reed huts. The earliest age of civilization, the "clay age", is marked by crude, hand-made pottery and thumb-marked bricks – flat on one side, concave on the other, gradually developing through several fairly marked stages. The exact form of the sanctuary at that period cannot be determined, but it seems to have been connected with the burning of the dead, and extensive remains of such cremation are found in all the earlier, pre-
Sargon
Sargon
ic strata. There is evidence of the succession on the site of different peoples, varying somewhat in their degrees of civilization. One stratum is marked by painted pottery of good make, similar to that found in a corresponding stratum in
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
, and resembling early Aegean pottery more closely than any later pottery found in Sumer. This people gave way in time to another, markedly inferior in the manufacture of pottery, but apparently superior as builders. In one of these earlier strata, of very great antiquity, there was discovered, in connection with the shrine, a conduit built of bricks in the form of an
arch An arch is a vertical curved structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to ...

arch
. At some point,
Sumerian
Sumerian
inscriptions began to be written on clay, in an almost linear script. The shrine at this time stood on a raised platform, and apparently contained a
ziggurat A ziggurat (; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the ...

ziggurat
.


Akkadian, Ur III, and Old Babylonian periods

Late in the 3rd millennium BCE, Nippur was conquered and occupied by the rulers of Akkad, or Agade, and numerous votive objects of
Sargon
Sargon
,
Rimush Rimush (or Rimuš, 𒌷𒈬𒍑 ''Ri-mu-uš'') was the second king of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَا ...
, and Naram-Sin testify to the veneration in which they also held this sanctuary. Naram-Sin rebuilt both the
Ekur Ekur ( ), also known as Duranki, is a Sumerian term meaning "mountain house". It is the assembly of the gods in the Garden of the gods Garden of the Gods ( Arapaho: ''Ho3o’uu Niitko’usi’i'') is a public park A park is an area of ...
temple and the city walls, and in the accumulation of debris now marking the ancient site, his remains are found about halfway from the top to the bottom. One of the few instances of Nippur being recorded as having its own ruler comes from a tablet depicting a revolt of several Mesopotamian cities against Naram-Sin, including Nippur under ''Amar-enlila''. The tablet goes on to relate that Naram-Sin defeated these rebel cities in nine battles, and brought them back under his control. The Weidner tablet (ABC 19) suggests that the Akkadian Empire fell as divine retribution, because of Sargon's initiating the transfer of "holy city" status from Nippur to Babylon. This Akkadian occupation was succeeded by occupation during the
third dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC ( middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to h ...
, and the constructions of
Ur-Nammu Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: , ruled c. 2112 BC – 2094 BC middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions a ...
, the great builder of temples, are superimposed immediately upon those of Naram-Sin. Ur-Nammu gave the temple its final characteristic form. Partly razing the constructions of his predecessors, he erected a terrace of bricks, some 12 m high, covering a space of about 32,000 m. Near the northwestern edge, towards the western corner, he built a
ziggurat A ziggurat (; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the ...

ziggurat
of three stages of dry brick, faced with kiln-fired bricks laid in bitumen. On the summit stood, as at Ur and Eridu, a small chamber, the special shrine or abode of the god. Access to the stages of the ziggurat, from the court beneath, was by an inclined plane on the south-east side. To the north-east of the ziggurat stood, apparently, the House of Bel, and in the courts below the ziggurat stood various other buildings, shrines, treasure chambers, and the like. The whole structure was oriented with the corners toward the cardinal points of the compass. Ur-Nammu also rebuilt the walls of the city on the line of Naram-Sin's walls. The restoration of the general features of the temple of this, and the immediately succeeding periods, has been greatly facilitated by the discovery of a sketch map on a fragment of a
clay tablet In the Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and sym ...
. This sketch map represents a quarter of the city to the east of the Shatt-en-Nil canal. This quarter was enclosed within its own walls, a city within a city, forming an irregular square, with sides roughly 820 m long, separated from the other quarters, and from the country to the north and east, by canals on all sides, with broad quays along the walls. A smaller canal divided this quarter of the city itself into two parts. In the south-eastern part, in the middle of its southeast side, stood the temple, while in the northwest part, along the Shatt-en-Nil, two great storehouses are indicated. The temple proper, according to this plan, consisted of an outer and inner court, each covering approximately , surrounded by double walls, with a ziggurat on the north-western edge of the latter. The temple continued to be built upon or rebuilt by kings of various succeeding dynasties, as shown by bricks and votive objects bearing the inscriptions of the kings of various dynasties of Ur and
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countrie ...
. It seems to have suffered severely in some manner at or about the time the Elamites invaded, as shown by broken fragments of statuary, votive vases, and the like, from that period. At the same time it seems to have won recognition from the Elamite conquerors, so that Rim-Sin I, the Elamite king of
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures ...
, styles himself "shepherd of the land of Nippur". With the establishment of the Babylonian empire, under
Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
, early in the 2nd millennium BCE, the religious, as well as the political center of influence, was transferred to Babylon,
Marduk Marduk (Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...
became lord of the pantheon, many of Enlil's attributes were transferred to him, and Ekur, Enlil's temple, was to some extent neglected.


Kassite through Sassanid periods

Under the succeeding
Kassite The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificatio ...
dynasty, shortly after the middle of the 2nd millennium, Ekur was restored once more to its former splendor, several monarchs of that dynasty built upon and adorned it, and thousands of inscriptions, dating from the time of those rulers, have been discovered in its archives. After the middle of the 12th century BCE follows another long period of comparative neglect due to the river Ephrates changing its course, but with the waters return and the conquest of Babylonia by the Assyrian king
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_.ht ...
, at the close of the 8th century BCE, we meet again with building inscriptions, and under
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal, also spelled Assurbanipal, Asshurbanipal and Asurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbrevi ...
, about the middle of the 7th century BCE, we find Ekur restored with a splendour greater than ever before, the ziggurat of that period being 58 by 39 m. After the fall of the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
Ekur appears to have gradually fallen into decay, until finally, in the
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...

Seleucid
period, the ancient temple was turned into a fortress ( grc-gre, Νιππούρ, ''Nippoúr''). Huge walls were erected at the edges of the ancient terrace, the courts of the temple were filled with houses and streets, and the
ziggurat A ziggurat (; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the ...

ziggurat
itself was curiously built over in a cruciform shape, and converted into an
acropolis An acropolis (Ancient Greek: ἀκρόπολις, ''akropolis''; from ''akros'' (άκρος) or ''akron'' (άκρον), "highest, topmost, outermost" and ''polis'' (πόλις), "city"; plural in English: ''acropoles'', ''acropoleis'' or ''acropol ...

acropolis
for the fortress. This fortress was occupied and further built upon until the close of the
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and offici ...

Parthia
n period, about 250 AD; but under the succeeding rule of the
Sassanid The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Persian imperial dynasty before the spread of I ...
s it in its turn fell into decay, and the ancient sanctuary became, to a considerable extent, a mere place of sepulture, only a small
village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena ...

village
of mud huts huddled about the ancient ziggurat continuing to be inhabited.


Islamic period and eventual abandonment

Nippur remained inhabited in Islamic times, and is mentioned by early Muslim geographers under the name of Niffar. It lay on the Nahr an-Nars canal, believed to have been built by Narses. By the late 800s, though, geographers no longer mentioned it, which indicates that the city had gone into decline by that time. This was part of a broader decline in settlements throughout Iraq, especially in the south, as decaying infrastructure and political violence resulted in large areas being completely abandoned. However, Nippur remained the seat of an
Assyrian Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, ...
Church of the East The Church of the East ( syc, , ''ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā''), also called the Persian Church, East Syrian Church, Babylonian Church, Seleucian Church, Edessan Church, Chaldean Church, or the Nestorian Church, was an church of the , based ...
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
bishopric In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
until the late 900s, when the bishopric was transferred to the city of Nil, further northwest. Nippur itself may have remained occupied even later, since ceramics found among the ruins display underglaze sgraffiato drawings, which were not used much prior to the end of the 10th century. By the time of
Yaqut al-Hamawi Yāqūt Shihāb al-Dīn ibn-'Abdullāh al-Rūmī al-Hamawī (1179–1229) ( ar, ياقوت الحموي الرومي) is famous for his great "geography", ''Mu'jam ul-Buldān'', an encyclopedia of Islam written in the late Abbāsid era and as muc ...
in the early 1200s, Nippur had been definitively abandoned, although Yaqut still recognized its ruins as the site of a famous place.


Archaeology

Nippur was situated on both sides of the Shatt-en-Nil canal, one of the earliest courses of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
, between the present bed of that river and the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of the Armenian Highlands through the Syrian Desert, Syrian and Arabian Deserts, and empti ...

Tigris
, almost 160  km southeast of
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
. It is represented by the great complex of ruin mounds known to the Arabs as ''Nuffar'', written by the earlier explorers ''Niffer'', divided into two main parts by the dry bed of the old Shatt-en-Nil (Arakhat). The highest point of these ruins, a conical hill rising about 30 m above the level of the surrounding plain, northeast of the canal bed, is called by the Arabs ''Bint el-Amiror'' "prince's daughter". Nippur was first excavated, briefly, by Sir
Austen Henry Layard Sir Austen Henry Layard (; 5 March 18175 July 1894) was an English traveller, archaeologist, cuneiformist, art historian, draughtsman, collector, politician and diplomat. He is best known as the excavator of Nimrud Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪ ...

Austen Henry Layard
in 1851. Full-scale digging was begun by an expedition from the
University of Pennsylvania The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a in , Pennsylvania. The university, established as the College of Philadelphia in 1740, is one of the nine chartered prior to the . , Penn's founder and first president, advocated an edu ...

University of Pennsylvania
. The work involved four seasons of excavation between 1889 and 1900 and was led by
John Punnett Peters John Punnett Peters (December 16, 1852 – November 10, 1921) was an American Episcopal Episcopal may refer to: *Of or relating to a bishop, an overseer in the Christian church *Episcopate, the see of a bishop – a diocese *Episcopal Church ...

John Punnett Peters
,
John Henry Haynes John Henry Haynes (27 January 1849 – 29 June 1910) was an American traveller, archaeologist and photographer, best known for his work at the first two American archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, and Mesopotamia at Nippur and Assos ...
, and
Hermann Volrath Hilprecht Hermann Volrath Hilprecht (July 28, 1859 – March 19, 1925) was a Germany, German-United States, American Assyriology, Assyriologist and archaeologist. Biography Hilprecht was born in 1859 at Hohenerxleben (now a part of Staßfurt), German Confede ...
. Thousands of tablets were found at a smaller mound, about 7.5 meters in average height and 52 square meters in area, southeast of the temple mound. Nippur was excavated for 19 seasons between 1948 and 1990 by a team from the
Oriental InstituteOriental Institute may refer to a number of university faculties, departments, and institutes of Oriental studies: ;United States * Oriental Institute (Chicago), part of the University of Chicago ;United Kingdom * Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxfor ...
of Chicago, joined at times by the
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology—commonly known as the Penn Museum—is an archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the pro ...

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
and the
American Schools of Oriental Research The American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR), founded in 1900 as the American School of Oriental Study and Research in Palestine, is an international organization whose mission is to initiate, encourage, and support research into, and public ...
. Finds included a tablet dated to the 4th year of the Kassite king
Shagarakti-Shuriash Šagarakti-Šuriaš, written phonetically ''ša-ga-ra-ak-ti-šur-ia-aš'' or d''ša-garak-ti-šu-ri-ia-aš'' in cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of th ...
, one dated to the 44th year of Ur III king
Shulgi Shulgi ( Dingir, dŠulgi, formerly read as Dungi) of Ur was the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ur. He reigned for 48 years, from c. 2094 – c. 2046 BC (Middle Chronology) or possibly c. 2030 – 1982 BC (Short Chronology). His accompli ...
, and an Indus Valley stamp seal. In 1977 they briefly excavated at the nearby site of Umm al-Hafriyat which was in the process of being heavily looted. The Oriental Institute resumed work at Nippur in April 2019 under
Abbas Alizadeh Abbas Alizadeh received his B.A. in art and archaeology of ancient Iran from the Department of Archaeology of Tehran University in 1975, and his M.A. in 1982 from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations of the University of Chica ...
.


Murashu archive

Almost directly opposite the temple, a large palace was excavated, apparently of the Seleucid period, and in this neighborhood and further southward on these mounds large numbers of inscribed tablets of various periods, including temple archives of the Kassite and commercial archives of the Persian period, were excavated. The latter, the "books and papers" of the house of Murashu, commercial agents of the government, throw light on the condition of the city and the administration of the country in the Persian period, the 5th century BCE. The former gives us a very good idea of the administration of an ancient temple. The whole city of Nippur appears to have been at that time merely an appendage of the temple. The temple itself was a great landowner, possessed of both farms and pasture land. Its tenants were obliged to render careful accounts of their administration of the property entrusted to their care, which was preserved in the archives of the temple. We have also from these archives lists of goods contained in the temple treasuries and salary lists of temple officials, on tablet forms specially prepared and marked off for periods of a year or less. The Persian conquest of Mesopotamia in 539 BCE resulted in improved irrigation, and thus immigration increased, drawing Lydians, Phrygians, Carians, Cilicians, Egyptians, Jews (many of whom were deported to Babylonia), Persians, Medes, Sacae, etc. to the area. In Nippur, the house of Murashu's surviving documents are reflective of this diverse populace as one-third of contracts depict non-Babylonian names, and they evidently intermingled peaceably. Enduring for at least three successive generations, the house of Murashu capitalized on the enterprise of renting substantial plots of farmland having been awarded to occupying Persian governors, nobility, soldiery, probably at discounted rates, whose owners were most likely satisfied with a moderate return. The business would then subdivide these into smaller plots for cultivation by indigenous farmers and recent foreign settlers for a lucrative fee. The house of Murashu leased land, subdivided it, then subleased or rented out the smaller parcels, thereby simply acting as an intermediary. It thereby profited both from the collected rents and percentage of amassed credit reflective of that year's future crop harvests after supplying needed farming implements, means of irrigation, and paying taxes. In 423/422 BCE, the house of Murashu took in "about 20,000 kg or 20,000 shekels of silver". "The activities of the house of Murashu had a ruinous effect upon the economy of the country and thus led to the bankruptcy of the landowners. Although the house of Murashu loaned money to the landowners initially, after a few decades it began more and more to take the landowners' place, and the land began to concentrate in its hands." On the upper surface of these mounds was found a considerable Jewish town, dating from about the beginning of the Arabic period onward to the 10th century AD, in the houses of which were large numbers of
incantation bowls An incantation bowl, also known as a demon bowl, devil-trap bowl, or magic bowl, is a form of early protective magic found in what is now Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially t ...
. Jewish names, appearing in the Persian documents discovered at Nippur, show, however, that Jewish settlement at that city dates in fact from a much earlier period.


Drehem

Drehem or ancient Puzrish-Dagan, sometimes called a suburb of Nippur, is the best-known city of the so-called redistribution centers of the Neo Sumerian period of Mesopotamian history. It is located some 10 kilometers south of Nippur. Witnessed by thousands of
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
tablets, livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) of the state was centralized at Drehem and redistributed to the temples, its officials and the royal palaces of
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
.
arkus Hilgert, Clemens D. Reichel, Cuneiform Texts from the Ur III Period in the Oriental Institute, Volume 2: Drehem Administrative Documents from the Reign of Amar-Suena, Oriental Institute Publications 121 Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2003 ISBN 1-885923-24-4 The temples of nearby Nippur, the religious capital of the Neo Sumerian culture, were the main destinations of the livestock. The city was founded by
Shulgi Shulgi ( Dingir, dŠulgi, formerly read as Dungi) of Ur was the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ur. He reigned for 48 years, from c. 2094 – c. 2046 BC (Middle Chronology) or possibly c. 2030 – 1982 BC (Short Chronology). His accompli ...
, king of . Some of its cuneiform archives are at the
Royal Ontario Museum The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM; french: Musée royal de l'Ontario) is a museum of Art museum, art, Culture, world culture and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest in Canad ...

Royal Ontario Museum
, Toronto.


Notable people

* Lu-diĝira, nobleman and poet


See also

*
Sumerian Farmer's Almanac The Sumerian Farmer's Almanac is the first farmer's almanac on record.Kramer, Samuel Noah, ''In the World of Sumer: An Autobiography'', Wayne State University Press, 1988, , p. 139, ''... a first "Farmer's Almanac." The farmer's almanac is dated to ...
*
Cities of the ancient Near East The earliest cities in history were in the ancient Near East, an area covering roughly that of the modern Middle East: its history began in the 4th millennium BC and ended, depending on the interpretation of the term, either with the conquest by ...
*
Short chronology timeline The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1728–1686 BC and the sack of Babylon to 1531 BC. The absolute 2nd millennium BC dates resulting from these re ...
*
Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise) The concept of a garden of the gods or a divine paradise may have originated in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized king ...
*
Bowl of Utu The Bowl of Utu also known as the Bowl of Udu, Uhub, Utug, U-tug, Utuk or Utu(k) is an ancient Sumerian bowl from the early 3rd millennium BC. Fragments of the bowl contain eight lines of an inscription. Controversy has surrounded its translation si ...


Notes


References

* *Marcel Sigrist, ''Drehem'', CDL Press, 1993, *McGuire Gibson (
Oriental InstituteOriental Institute may refer to a number of university faculties, departments, and institutes of Oriental studies: ;United States * Oriental Institute (Chicago), part of the University of Chicago ;United Kingdom * Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxfor ...
, U. of Chicago
'Patterns of occupation at Nippur
' 1992 *Donald E. McCown, Excavations at Nippur, 1948–50, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 169–176, 1952 *V.E. Crawford, Nippur the Holy City, Archaeology, vol. 12, pp. 74–83, 1959 *D.P. Hanson and G.f. Dales, The Temple of Inanna Queen of Heaven at Nippur, Archaeology, vol. 15, pp. 75–84, 1962
Edward Chiera, Cuneiform Series, Volume I: Sumerian Lexical Texts from the Temple School of Nippur, Oriental Institute Publication 11, 1929E. C. Stone, Nippur Neighborhoods, Oriental Institute, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, vol. 44, 1987
*A. L. Oppenheim, Siege Documents from Nippur, Iraq, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 69–89, 1955 *T. Fish, The Summerian City Nippur in the Period of the Third Dynasty of Ur, Iraq, vol. 5, pp. 157–179, 1938 *John P. Peters, University of Pennsylvania Excavations at Nippur. II. The Nippur Arch, The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 352–368, (Jul. - Sep., 1895) *John P. Peters, The Nippur Library, Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 26, pp. 145–164, 1905 *McGuire Gibson, A Re-Evaluation of the Akkad Period in the Diyala Region on the Basis of Recent Excavations at Nippur and in the Hamrin,
American Journal of Archaeology The ''American Journal of Archaeology'' (AJA), the peer-reviewed journal of the Archaeological Institute of America The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is a North America North America is a continent A continent is a ...
, vol. 86, no. 4, pp. 531–538, 1982

Elizabeth C. Stone and Paul E. Zimansky, Old Babylonian Contracts From Nippur: Selected Texts From the University Museum University of Pennsylvania, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago Microfiche Archives, Volume 1 Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976 *Zettler, Richard L., The Ur III Temple of Inanna at Nippur: The Operation and Organization of Urban Religious Institutions in Mesopotamia in the Late Third Millennium B.C. Berliner Beitraege zum vorderen Orient 11. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 1992 *Adams, Robert M. (1981). ''Heartland of Cities''. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. . *Tim Clayden - Bernhard Schneider: Assurbanipal and the Ziggurat at Nippur. KASKAL 12, 2015, 348-382.


External links


Nippur - Museum Bulletin of the Penn Museum, Volume X / Number 3-4 1944University of Pennsylvania Museum excavations at NippurThe Nippur Expedition: the holy city of Nippur - Oriental Institute of ChicagoNippur Archaeological Site Photographs at Oriental InstituteDrehem cuneiform tablets at Milliken University85/452 Tablet, cuneiform receipt for livestock, terracotta, Drehem, 2041 BCE
{{Authority control Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate Archaeological sites in Iraq Sumerian cities Holy cities Former populated places in Iraq