Shulgi (c. 2094-2047 B.C.E.)

Shulgi was a Sumerian king during the Third Dynasty of Ur. His father, Ur-Nammu, founded the dynasty, and so Shulgi was the second king.

Shulgi had a standing army, imposed new tax regulations, and instated government-owned production and distribution of agricultural produce.

There is an enormous output of writing from his reign, as the scribes needed to keep up with the flourishing economic activity and commerce of the time. During Shulgi’s reign, documents were written in Sumerian.  Shulgi also standardized weights and measures.

He unified his kingdom under one strong and central government, and eventually declared himself a deity. A cult of statues depicting him followed; hymns were written about him.  Shulgi was not the first Mesopotamian king to consider himself a god: the first was in fact Naram-sin, the grandson of Sargon of Akkad.

Shulgi conquered Anshan in western Iran, thus expanding his empire.  He was probably murdered in a palace revolt, and was succeeded by his son Amar-Sin.


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The Rare Book Department is in the Parkway Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
This entry was posted in Period Overview, Shulgi (reigned c. 2094-2047 B.C.E.), Third Dynasty of Ur. Bookmark the permalink.

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