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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines changes in the images of kingship in Sumerian literature, particularly in the hymns, myths, and narratives of the late third and early second millennia bc. It investigates whether ancient Mesopotamian kings were able to influence and model intellectual activity in order to maintain and support their political rule. The analysis reveals that royal hymns and other literary texts, such as the Sumerian Gilgameš tales and the narratives surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, the legendary kings of Uruk, disseminated an 'ideal' image of the king as a centre of social and cosmic order.

Keywords: kingship, Sumerian literature, Mesopotamian kings, intellectual activity, royal hymns, literary texts, Sumerian Gilgameš tales, Enmerkar, Lugalbanda

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