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Nippur(nĭpo͝or`), ancient city of Babylonia, a N Sumerian settlement on the Euphrates. It was the seat of the important cult of the god Enlil, or Bel. Excavations at Nippur have yielded the remains of several temples that date from the middle of the 3d millennium B.C. and were later rebuilt and restored many times. Over 40,000 clay tablets found there serve as a primary source of information on Sumerian civilization. Assurbanipal erected a ziggurat in Nippur. Relics of the Persian and Parthian periods have also been unearthed at the site.
(now Niffer or Nuffar), an ancient Sumerian city, northeast of modern Diwaniyah, Iraq; center of the Sumerian tribal union and seat of worship of the supreme god Enlil.
Seized by Babylonia in the 18th century B.C., Nippur later was granted autonomy. Archaeological excavations of Nippur in the middle and late 19th century permitted the partial restoration of the ancient city’s layout and architectural monuments. A canal, which is now dry, passed through the center of the city. A temple to Enlil called E-kur (The House of the Mountain) stood with a ziggurat on a hill in the northeast; both structures were rebuilt in the period from the third millennium to the end of the first millennium B.C. The most important buildings were those of the rulers Naram-Sin and Sharkalishari (second half of the third millennium B.C.), Ur-Nammu (end of the third millennium B.C.), and Ashurbanipal (seventh century B.C.). A large number of cuneiform tablets, which are presumed to have been school archives, have been found in Nippur. Most of the tablets are Sumerian literary texts, evidently copies made in the 19th and 18th centuries B.C. (the Nippur Canon texts). Also of great interest are the records of the commercial and money-lending house of Murashu (sixth century B.C.).