January 24, 2022

Sumer (Akkad. Šumerû) or Kiengi (noise. Ki-en-gi (-r)) is an ancient region in southern Mesopotamia, on the territory of modern Iraq. In the 19th century, after the name of this area, researchers gave the name to the Sumerian language and the population that spoke it - the Sumerians. Sometimes Sumer is called the Sumerian civilization itself and the territory of the distribution of the Sumerian language corresponding to it (including the region of Akkad). Sumer was the leading region of Ancient Mesopotamia in the early Bronze Age: the most ancient city-states were located there: Ur, Uruk, Lagash, Nippur, Larsa and others.


The name "Sumer" is of Akkadian origin (Akkadian Šumerû); the Sumerian name for the area is "Kiengi(r)". The first known mention of the toponym "Kiengi" is known from the source of the early dynastic time - the inscription of the Uruk king Enshakushanna (c. 2450 BC), in which the latter calls himself "lord of Kiengi, king of the country (that is, Sumer)". The etymology of the name “Kiengi” does not have a generally accepted interpretation: if O. Westenholtz raises it to Ki-eme-gir15 (where noise. Ki is “place, earth”, and noise. eme-gir15 is “Sumerian language”; it turns out: “earth Sumerian language”), then W. H. F. Römer offers a different interpretation: noise. Ki is "place" and noise. eĝi - "prince". It is assumed that initially "Kiengi" was only the name of a settlement near the ancient city of Nippur, in which Ekur, the temple of the Sumerian supreme god Enlil, was located; however, later this name spread to the entire central and southern part of Southern Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia). The first known mention of the Akkadian toponym "Sumer" refers to the reign of Rimush, king of Akkad (23rd century BC). The etymology of the name "Sumer" is debatable. According to A. Falkenstein Akkad. Šumerû reproduces Sumerian noise. Ki-en-gi (-r) (Kiengi (r)), or rather the dialect form of this name. Objecting to him, I. M. Dyakonov pointed out the lack of convincing evidence of the dialect transition k > š and suggested considering the spelling Ki-en-gi as a composite ideogram KI.EN.GI with the reading Šumer. In later eras, the title "king of Sumer and Akkad" (Akkad. šar Šumeri u Akkadî), used by the Babylonian kings, became widespread; it was by him that the region, language and population were identified.


Sumer region

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