Stela of Eannatum

Stela of Eannatum, Ngirsu, circa 2450 B.C.E.  Louvre Museum, Paris.

The Stele of the Vultures is one of the sections of a monument from the reign of Eannatum in the Early Dynastic III period (2600–2350 B.C.E.) in Mesopotamia, celebrating the victory of the city-state of Lagash over its neighbor state Umma. The stela shows various battle and religious scenes and is named after the vultures that can be seen in one of them. The stele was originally carved out of a single slab of limestone. Only seven fragments exist today; they were found at Tello (ancient Girsu) in southern Iraq in the late 19th century and are now on display in the Louvre.

Other sections of the stela depict various incidents in the war. In one register, the king stands in his chariot with a curved weapon formed of three bars of metal bound together by rings in his right hand; his kilted followers, with helmets on their heads and lances in their hands, march behind him. In another register a figure, presumed to be that of the king, rides on his chariot in the thick of battle. On the other side of the stele is an image of Ninurta, a god of war, holding the captive Ummaites in a large net. This implies that Eannatum attributed his victory to Ninurta and thus that he was in the god's protection

Stela of Eannatum Ngirsu

An upright stone slab usually inscribed or carved for commemorative purposes.

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