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Ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos




Victory Stele of King Eannatum


AO 50

Richelieu room 1
 
 

The stele known as the Stele of Vultures,
erected in 2450 BCE by this King of Lagash
to commemorate his victory
over the city of Umma,
 
is one of the oldest historical
documents in our possession.
  
It provides information
about the way the Sumerians
viewed relations between States
and their relationships
with the gods.

The stele of the Vultures,
one of the first historical documents

The text and its illustrations appear on both sides. On the mythological side, the figure (the exceptionally large size, the long beard and the symbol of the god seem to indicate that it refers to Ningirsu) is striking one of the enemies trapped in a large net.
 
On the historical side, on the upper register, the phalanxes of warriors are riding roughshod over the soldiers of Umma.

On the historical side, the king and his troops have their hair untied for war.

This look was to be described in the Bible by Judge Barak:
“For letting the hair hang loose in Israel [for war], For the people’s volunteering” - Judges 5:2.
 
 
The net was often used to represent a way of catching someone in a trap, to surround him in order to hold him captive. Speaking of God, the Psalmist wrote: “You have brought us into a hunting net; You have put pressure on our hips.” (Psalm 66:11) and Job: “KNOW, then, that God himself has misled me, And his hunting net he has closed in upon me.” Job 19:6.
 
 

“You have brought us into
a hunting net;You have put
pressure on our hips.”
Psalm 66:11

“KNOW, then, that God himself
has misled me, And his hunting net
he has closed in upon me.”
Job 19:6.

“And I shall certainly spread my net
over him, and he must be caught
in my hunting net.”
Ezekiel 12:13

 The metaphorical use of the net is also found in the Bible

Other occurrences of this figurative use are found in Micah (7:12) and Jeremiah (Lamentations 1:13). The way the Chaldeans conquered nations is compared to a drganet (Habakkuk 1:6, 15-17). God’s judgement pronounced by Hosea on Israel reads as follows: “Whichever way they go, I shall spread out over them my net. Like flying creatures of the heavens I shall bring them down. ” (Hosea 7:12).

This metaphor was used again by Ezekiel (12:13) against King Zedekiah, the unfaithful liege: “And I shall certainly spread my net over him, and he must be caught in my hunting net; and I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chal·de´ans, but it he will not see; and there he will die. ”
 
The stele of the Vultures Louvre

 





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