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Royal And Divine Hymns

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the following question: can it be shown that, no matter what their actual experience, the Neo-Sumerian and Old Babylonian states of southern Mesopotamia regarded unification as a theoretical norm of their political thought, in short as a political ideal? There are a number of well-known grounds for an affirmative answer to this question, foremost among which is, perhaps, the Sumerian king list. Second, certain royal titles and epithets were, at any given time, the prerogative of just one dynasty, though the authority which the title implied might be quite as fictitious as the unity it was supposed to suggest. The chapter considers the royal hymns that include all those Sumerian hymns which honor, pray for or otherwise commemorate specific kings. It discusses the new hymns to the kings of Isin and compares the new Ur-Nammu hymn from Ur with an unpublished parallel from the Yale Babylonian Collection.

Keywords: divine hymns; Isin; Mesopotamian unity; royal hymns; Ur-Nammu hymn



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