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Ca. 2144-2124 BCE

Mesopotamia / Kings /

King Gudea of Lagash

Statue of Gudea, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.

Face of Gudea.
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Face of Gudea.

Ruler of the city-state of Lagash, ca. 2144-2124 BCE, possibly a governor under the Gutians.
He never called himself "king", used the title "ensi", which can be translated into governor. Historians often choose to call him prince.
He proved to be a very effective ruler, bringing great prosperity to Lagash and other Sumerian cities. Inscriptions indicating that he built several temples in other cities clearly suggest that his domain was extended far beyond Lagash. It must have include Ur, Nippur, Adab and Uruk. He himself claimed to have conquered Elam and Anshan, vast lands corresponding to southwestern Iran, but this is not likely. Rather he seem to have opened up trade with these lands. His wealth is shown in his statues being built from expensive materials imported from faraway lands like Canaan, Egypt and Oman.
Exploiting Lagash' wealth, he secured great artistic development. Among his favourite art motives was himself, a great number of statues showing him have been found, some even made from diorite, a highly expensive stone of those days.

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By Tore Kjeilen