Characteristic of Kingship in Ancient Sumerians

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The entire story of Gilgamesh can be described as the one that embodies a lot of characters that makes Gilgamesh to be seen as a bad ruler. Basically, it is the tyrannical tendencies which makes his folk to seek intervention from their gods for a relief, and they send Enkidu in a bid of acting as the Gilgamesh’s foil. Bot of their friendship and also the adventures are some of the significant aspect that lead to the transformation of the Gilmaresh. In this essay, we will discuss the features of the kingship among the ancient Sumerian society.


The ancient Sumerian society, kings were highly placed people and they represented the will of gods. In Uruk which was the city located among the river Tigris and Euphrates, Gilgamesh was their fifth king and he is portrayed as possessing divine privileges and also responsibility as the king.

The king was a revered person and often seen as a god and because they possessed divine privileges, they could sleep with their bride before the husband was permitted to do so. They also had slept with the virgins as they were accorded this right as the kings, and also due to their higher status as the god and also the old-birthright granted to them. Thirdly, kings were able to enforce the harsh work mandate uncensored.

Kings also were granted human responsibilities as the ruler of the people. It was their duty to build and maintain the city. In most of the political meeting, the King’s Counsel was highly valued by the council of elders and the king was not subjected to the senate. For instance, there is an illustration when Gilgamesh talks about ‘the wise of the Uruk’.


We can conclude and say that the roles of a king was a divine one, it exhibited the significance placed to the religions and gods by the Sumerian people. Despite the fact that Gilgamesh was trusted to be a custodian of the will of the people, there was much exploits of the citizens by the king.

The code of law for Hammurabi

As far as the social structure Babylonians is concerned, they were governed by code of laws. These were a group of Semites who majorly communicated in Hammurabi dialect. The code of law was authored by Marduk their god. Under this code, men were granted powers over their families. In severe instances, men were given rights to sell their wives and also the children to such activities such as slavery in order to pay off their debt. Secondly, they had power to disinherit their son if they wished to do so. But for them to carry out these extreme cases, the laws provided that they have to prove their cases in a court of law so that they can be granted a go-ahead. The law never protected women and children enough. For instance, a son could have his hands cut off if he ever struck his father. When a child did a wrong once under the code, she or he was not punished but in the instance that the child made a second error, the code provided that the father was able to punish her or him as he wished. It can be drawn that the father was the center of the Babylonians life as the code gave them extensive powers over their families as far as the social structure was concerned.

Features of pre-historic phase

According to the pre-history notes, the term pre-history basically refers to ‘the time before civilization or the history itself’ which is in other word the period before the emergence of cities, before writing at around 3000 BCE just before the growth and development of ancient cities such as Mesopotamia. Let us examine some of the characteristic that were predominant in this time.

Scientist such as Mary Leakey can be credited with working to provide the missing link concerning the evolution of human being from a certain period to another. One of the feature in this period was the domestication of specific animals and development of agriculture. This were what led to the growth of cities in the later stages as people were concentrated on similar locations. The author states that this was the ‘the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic--that did not happen all at once--and that transition was traditionally dated as 3000 BCE.’ Secondly, in the Paleolithic duration, the discovery made by scientist in the caves of Gobekli in Turkey have shown the early man was very religious. In this site, they were able to discover religious shrines where the ancient man used to worship their gods. This has indicated ‘would push back the dating of how early mankind was engaged in any kind of formal, ritualistic religious observations.’ Also these community used to get their food majorly from being hunters and gatherers and lived in caves and trees. In this stage, man was just but an advanced ape that was bi-pedal and upright. The presence of an opposable thumbs was key for them being able to grasp and also manipulate things in a better way. Thirdly, his brain size has greatly increased making them to start coming up with new innovations so as to make their life better such as the discovery of fire. It can be concluded that man has come from a long way to the modern day human being.

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Characteristic of Kingship in Ancient Sumerians. (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved June 24, 2024 , from

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