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Near East Kingdoms

Ancient Mesopotamia


MapCity State of Umma

Umma (modern Tell Jokha/Djoha) was a Sumerian city state which was situated in central southern Mesopotamia. Its patron saint was Shara.

A minor city for much of its existence, Umma was engaged in a drawn-out border conflict with its more powerful neighbour, Lagash, which it eventually won during the reign of Lugalzaggesi, under whose guidance the city reached its zenith. He was the last ethnic Sumerian king before the conquest of Sumer by Sargon of Akkad, and was also the only king of Uruk's Third Dynasty. He was arguably the first king to unite Sumer as a single kingdom.

c.2550 BC

Mesilim of Kish is famous for drawing the border between Umma and Lagash, a contentious point between these two cities. His decision, accepted by both parties, appears to favour Lagash over Umma.

c.2455 BC

Ensi Ush

Possibly killed Akurgal of Lagash.

c.2445 BC


Defeated by Eannatum of Lagash and made tributary.

c.2430 BC

Lugalure of Uruk helps Lagash to defeat Umma after Enakalle rips out the steele of Mesilim, subsequently attacking Lagash itself.

c.2425 BC


Urlumma drains the boundary canal at Girsu and destroys shrines there, forcing Enannatum of Lagash to defend the religious centre by offering battle at Ugigga, in the fields near Girsu. Urlumma is totally defeated and flees, only to be killed at Umma. Enannatum establishes a vassal ruler at Umma.

c.2420 BC

Ili of Girsu

Priest of Ininni of Esh in Girsu.

Ili proves to be unfaithful to Lagash and continues Urlumma's aggressive work against Girsu, leading to unspecified hostilities between the two city states which continue until Umma is conquered by Sargon I.



c.2355 - 2330 BC

Lugalzaggesi / Lugal-Zage-Si

Conquered Uruk and became king there.

Under the priest-king Lugalzaggesi, Umma overthrows Lagash's domination (in circa 2355 BC), captures Uruk and Akshak (circa 2353 BC), claims an empire which extends from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Umma's domination only lasts for Lugalzaggesi's lifetime, however.

The kingship passes next to Elamite Awan (and rejoins the information shown in the king list).

c.2330 BC

Umma is defeated by Sargon I as the latter creates his Akkadian empire.

c.2112 BC

Lagash controls Umma for a short time but with the ascendancy of Ur's Third Dynasty, Umma falls under its control.

Girizal Governors (Ur III) of Umma

During the Ur III Period (circa 2112-2004 BC) the conquered Province of Umma was governed by the members of one family. In the local literature this family is either referred to as the Ruling Family of Ur III Umma, or the Family of Girizal/GIRI.NI. The ancestor of the family, GIRI.NI, is only attested through the seal-inscriptions of his sons, and he remains an almost mythical figure.

Due to the scarcity of sources relating to the earliest years of Ur's hegemony over Umma it is difficult to estimate the role of the ruling family. However, it is likely that the members of this family were appointed to their offices in Shulgi's thirty-third year. During the remaining forty-or-so years of Ur's rule, the governor's office, as well as a majority of the remaining important offices in Umma's administration were in the hands of the same family.

c.2061 BC

Shulgi of Ur appoints the first Girizal governor of Umma.


Son of Girini? Chief Cattle Administrator. Title inherited.

c.2061 - 2038 BC


Son. Ur's Governor of Umma for 23 years.

c.2038 - 2029 BC

Akala / Aakala / Ayakalla

Brother. Ur's Governor of Umma for 9 years.

c.2029 - 2022 BC


Brother. Ur's Governor of Umma for 7 years.


Brother. Chief Cattle Administrator.


Son. Probable Chief Cattle Administrator.

Umma probably declines during the Old Babylonian Period, as it receives no major mention. Its final fate is unknown, but at some point it is abandoned.

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