Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wall Porn: The Sumerians’ Amorite Wall

Wall of Mardu / Amorite Wall / Western Wall

The Sumerian empire founded by Ur-Nammu was consolidated by Shulgi. In virtue of his wide dominion Shulgi changed his title about the forty-second year of his reign, and henceforth described himself as "King of Ur, king of the four regions". The empire had been roughly divided into four lands, Sumer and Akkad, Elam, Subartu and Amurru. Amar-Sin, son of Shulgi, succeeded to the throne in 2046 BC and reigned eight years, receiving divine honors from the date of his accession. The Sumerian tenure of power was founded largely upon prestige of ancient culture and religion, acknowledged by Elam as well as Akkad.

Amar-Sin, son of Shulgi, succeeded to the throne of Sumer (BC 2046) and reigned eight years, receiving divine honors from the date of his accession. His name (youth of the moon-god) is a Semitic translation of a good Sumerian type, and the fact reflects the increasing influence of the Semites. The real military power of Ur-Nammu and Shulgi was probably founded upon the Semitic element. Many seals of his reign have the usual dedication to the deified emperor and in all his inscriptions he retains the later title of Shulgi, "King of Ur, king of the four regions". He was succeeded by his son, Migir-Sin, or rather Gimil-Sin (a Semitic rendering of the Sumerian Shu-Sin).

The only parts of the empire which caused trouble in the reign of Amar-Sin were those of the ever turbulent peoples of the Zagros table-lands. Disturbances in the reign of Shu-Sin were confined to the area east of the middle Tigris. Simanum revolted in the second year and Zabshali in the sixth year.

In his third year [ 2034 BC ] Gimil-Sin built a wall known as the "Wall of Amurru", or the Amorite Wall, usually translated as the Western Wall. Inscriptions from Umma which commemorate the construction of the temple of the god Shara, E-shaggipadda, have interesting chronological detail. When he built the Amorite Wall "Murik-Tidnim" and restored the Amorite route of Madanu. Murik-Tidnim means '"Wall which keeps Tidnu at a distance", and Tidnu (or Tidanu) has been identified with the Anti-Lebanon mountain region. The Assyrian geographers employ it for the west as a synonym of Amorite. The location of this wall is unknown. The name recalls the old Median wall north of Sippar between the rivers, built to restrain an invasion from the north. At all events the name suggests that the Amorites now threatened Sumer and Akkad. Shu-Sin was obviously losing control of the restless lands of his far-flung frontiers, for in his second year he transferred several eastern patesi-ships and governorships to Arad-Nannar, patesi of Lagash.

In the Bronze Age the neolithic population of Canaan was succeeded by one of Sem type, which introduced the use of metal, and buried its dead. The name of Amorite has been given to it, this being the name under which the Sem population of Canaan was known to the Babylonians. Gezer was surrounded by a great wall of stone intersected by brick towers; at Lachish the Amorite wall was of crude brick, nearly 29 ft. in thickness (cf Dt 1 28). A "high-place" was erected at Gezer consisting of 9 monoliths, running from N. to S., and surrounded by a platform of large stones.

Shu-Sin (2037-2029 B.C.) attempted to forestall the encroachments of the tribal Amorites by the construction of his Wall of Mardu, or Amorite Wall. In 2034 BC he built 'the Amorite wall' in order to keep the city safe from barbarian attacks. But the wall did not hold them for long. The Amorites established themselves as rulers of most most of the numerous city-states and petty kingdoms into which Mesopotamia again quickly disintegrated.

According to various sources, the Euphrates channel known as the Abgal could be located south of Kish where it branched from the right bank of the Purattum (Kish Branch) and then flowed on toward Marad along the approximate line of the modern al-Hillah. Another important channel attested since the Ur III period (20th cent. BC) - the Me-Enlila - is supposed to have run on a natural levee located between the Abgal, at some distance south of Kish, and the city of Nippur. This reconstruction allows a more precise location of the districts of Kish, Kiritab, Kazallu, Api-'ak and Marad, all known from the 'Cadastre of Ur-Nammu'. It also allows to locate securely the western end of the so-called 'Amorite Wall' of Shu-Sîn not very far south of Kish or from the 'mouth' of the Abgal.Source

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