ABSTRACT

FOR a hundred years, from 2112 to 2015 B.C., under thefive kings of the Third Dynasty, Ur was the capital of agreat empire and its rulers were at pains to make it acentre worthy of its political pre-eminence. We very seldom excavated the ruins of a temple without finding some record of that period; either it had originally been founded or it had been restored by some one king of the Third Dynasty. Ur-Nammu, the first of his line, was particularly active as a builder. 'For Nin-gal his Lady Ur-Nammu the mighty man, King of Dr, King ofSumer andAkkad, has built her splendid Gig-par', 'For Inanna the noble lady ... UrNammu has built.Esh-bur, her beloved temple', 'For Nannar the Lord of Heaven', 'For Anu King of the gods', 'For Nine-gal his Lady' and so on; it is a formidable list of works undertaken by the new ruler. His reign was not a long one, only eighteen years, and did not suffice for the programme on which he embarked; the Ziggurat itself and E-khursag the Palace were begun by him but finished by his son, and in some cases either haste or economy led him to construct in mud brick only and it was left to his successors to pull down the rather shoddy walls and rebuild in baked brick. Certainly by the time the Third Dynasty was drawing to its close the city of Dr was crowded with magnificent monuments testifying to the wealth and piety of its kings; it was but natural that when Ibi-Sin, the last ofUr-Nammu's line, was defeated by an alien enemy those monuments should be specially signalled out for destruction. With the exception of the Ziggurat there are very few Third Dynasty buildings of which the walls still stand up above ground level; when the time came to restore the ruined temples it was a case not of

that it was but a repetition on a slightly larger scale of the Ziggurat of Ur; and it too was built by Ur-Narnmu.