Sites & cities that bear the name of Nippur


Today in : Iraq
First trace of activity : ca. 4,800 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 13th century C.E
Recorded names : Nibru, 𒂗𒆤𒆠, EN.LÍLKI, Nibbur

Description : Nippur (Sumerian: Nibru, often logographically recorded as 𒂗𒆤𒆠, EN.LÍLKI, "Enlil City;" Akkadian: Nibbur) was among the most ancient of Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind", ruler of the cosmos, subject to An alone. Nippur was located in modern Nuffar in Afak, Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate, Iraq. 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 had his main cult center, the E-shumesha temple, in the city-state. According to the Tummal Chronicle, Enmebaragesi, 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, son of Enmebaragesi; Mesannepada of Ur; his son Meskiang-nunna; Gilgamesh of Uruk; his son Ur-Nungal; Nanni of Ur and his son Meskiang-nanna. It also indicates that the practice was revived in Neo-Sumerian times by Ur-Nammu of Ur, and continued until Ibbi-Sin appointed Enmegalana high priest in Uruk (c. 1950 BCE). Inscriptions of Lugal-Zage-Si and Lugal-kigub-nidudu, kings of Uruk and Ur respectively, and of other early pre-non-Semitic 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, or governors.

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