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Art, travels

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 5

The word “freedom” was first written down in Sumer. “Amagi” was the first known word that signified what has come to be of foremost importance to every living human being.

It’s first known use is in the reforms of UruKaGina, a king of Lagash in the 24th century BCE. He reformed the priesthood and bureaucracy and made human rights a guarantee from the king. Almost entirely unknown to the world today, he was the first great reformer known to mankind. Unfortunately, his regime was not to last, and he as well as his city was defeated by Lugalzagesi, the king of neighboring Umma.

The conical tablet below records this momentous occasion, the first written record of the word “Freedom”.

This Sumerian document comes from the archives of UruKaGina, a new man who was brought to power by the people after the overthrow of the Ur Nanshe dynasty. From his advent, he undertook a policy of reforms aimed at restoring the previous order compromised by the abuses of the powerful and the rich, the palace and the temples mainly. The character and scope of these reforms may have been anticlerical but also a desire to relieve the oppressed. They resulted in a reduction of taxes levied by the priests.

“We respected the goods of the temple, and from one end of the country to the other (…) there was no longer a collector. UruKaGina had established the freedom of the citizens of Lagash. He also rid the city of loan sharks, thieves, and criminals. If the son of a poor man set up a pond to fish, no one would steal his fish from him now.”

These reforms failed to restore his power to Lagash. UruKaGina was defeated by Lugalzagesi, king of Umma, a lifelong rival, and Lagash did not recover.


About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.


9 thoughts on “Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 5

  1. Incredible!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by LionAroundWriting | 19/12/2020, 2:57 AM
  2. I’m quite happy to see that you are still very active here! How are you doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Trablogger | 17/02/2020, 10:55 PM
  3. …n the24th century BCE, wow!!
    Thank you for the history lesson, Dr. Hb!

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by Amy | 11/02/2020, 9:21 PM

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