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(lā`găsh) or


(shĭrpo͝or`lə), ancient city of SumerSumer
and Sumerian civilization
. The term Sumer is used today to designate the southern part of ancient Mesopotamia. From the earliest date of which there is any record, S Mesopotamia was occupied by a people, known as Sumerians, speaking a non-Semitic language.
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, S Mesopotamia, now located at Telloh, SE Iraq. Lagash was flourishing by c.2400 B.C., but traces of habitation go back at least to the 4th millennium B.C. After the fall of Akkad (2180 B.C.), when the rest of Mesopotamia was in a state of chaos, Lagash was able to maintain peace and prosperity under its ruler Gudea. Excavations begun on the site in 1877 revealed the beautiful sculptures of Gudea, which had been dedicated to the city's patron goddess, Ningirsu. Thousands of inscribed tablets were also found at the site.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an ancient state in Sumer in what is now Iraq. It comprised a number of settlements, among them Girsu (the modern archaeological site of Tello); Lagash proper, or Urukuga (the modern site of al-Hibba); and Sirara, or Nina (the modern site of Surghul). Archaeological excavations were conducted from 1877 by the French archaeologists E. de Sarzec, G. Cros, H. de Génouillac, and A. Parrot.

The first settlements at the site of Lagash date from the end of the fifth millennium B.C. Lagash is mentioned in written documents from the 26th century B.C. to the time of the Seleucids (second century B.C.). It flourished during the rule of the dynasty founded by Ur-Nanshe (26th-24th centuries B.C.). Eannatum and Entemena, the heirs of Ur-Nanshe, subjugated most of Sumer. One of Eannatum’s victories (over the city of Umma) is described in the inscription and depicted in the reliefs of the famous Stela of the Vultures (25th century B.C.). Dating from the rule of Lugal-anda and the rule of Uruinimgina (incorrectly called Urukagina, 24th century B.C.) is the large temple archives of the goddess Bau, which provide important information on socioeconomic relations in Sumer.

In the 24th century B.C., Lagash was conquered by the Akkadian king Sargon. It experienced a new rebirth under the rule of Gudea (22nd century B.C.). In numerous inscriptions and cultic narratives inscribed on statues and clay cylinders Gudea describes the construction of temples and the numerous trade ties with other countries. Under Gudea, Lagash’s influence spread to a substantial part of Sumer. Gudea’s inscriptions and the portrait sculpture of his time are examples of the high artistic skill of the Sumerians. From the 21st century B.C., Lagash lost its importance.


D’iakonov, I. M. Obshchestvennyi i gosudarstvennyi stroi drevnego Dvurech’ia. Shumera. Moscow, 1959.
Struve, V. V. Gosudarstvo Lagash. Moscow, 1961.
Parrot, A. Tello. Vingt campagnes de fouilles (1877–1933). Paris, 1948.
Falkenstein, A. “Die Inschriften Gudeas von Lagas.” In Analecta oriental, vol. 30. Rome, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.