The oldest literary tradition about great heroic kings claiming to have been scions of the gods dates back to the Sumerian King List in which the Fir
The oldest literary tradition about great heroic kings claiming to have been scions of the gods dates back to the Sumerian King List in which the First Dynasty of Uruk is described as having been descended from the sun god, Utu. There are, however, myths that might even be older, myths that hold the key to gaining a better understanding of this very strange albeit fascinating claim. The earliest story of gods fathering earthly offspring was told about the first royal House of Uruk in Sumer. For the Sumerians this dynasty was unlike any other. They regarded this royal dynasty as one of the greatest dynasties, if not the very greatest, ever to have ruled over Sumer. On top of it all, this royal house was said to have been descended from the great gods themselves!
Uruk Archaealogical site at Warka, Iraq ( Public Domain )
Descent From The Gods
According to the Sumerian King List , the first House of Uruk, currently called the First Dynasty of Uruk so as to distinguish them from later dynasties who ruled in Uruk and who also tracked their descend back to the early Urukites, descended from the sun god, Utu. This means that the members of this dynasty were not mere human beings but rather offspring of the gods. For the ancients, this superhuman descent was visible in the great and mighty deeds done and performed by those heroes, mighty men like Enmerkar, Lugalbanda, Dumuzi and Gilgamesh. The epic deeds done by these heroes are reflected in the great monuments attributed to them, monuments that date back to the Uruk Period in Sumerian history. In fact, the tradition about these early Urukite kings can be correlated with remarkable consistency and precision with developments taking place during the Uruk Period.
In this reconstruction of events, Meskiagkasher, founder of the first House of Uruk and son of Utu, came from Aratta to the land of Sumer in the period directly after the great deluge, as attested to in the flood layers separating the Ubaid Period from the Uruk Period in southern Mesopotamia at places like Ur, Uruk, Eridu and elsewhere in the area. This means that the descent of the first House of Uruk from the sun god might have had its roots in an even earlier tradition going back to the time before the deluge .
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Dr Willem McLoud is an independent South African scholar whose main interests are ancient Middle Eastern studies, Kantian philosophy and philosophy of science. Willem’s main areas of study regarding the ancient Middle East are the Sumerian, Akkadian and early Egyptian civilizations, with special focus on the Uruk and Akkadian Periods in Mesopotamian history as well as the Old Kingdom Period in Egyptian history.
Top Image: The Sumerian Pantheon. ( Fredsvenn)