Enheduanna is the ﬁrst named poet, writing over 4,000 years ago.
Archaeological evidence for Enheduanna as a person and a poet is signiﬁcant.
- Her image and name appear on a carved alabaster disk found at the site of the city of Ur. She is the figure in the layered skirt.
- Her name appears in the text and as the author of many lines of poetry which she signed “by the hand of Enheduanna High Priestess at the Temple of Ur”
- There are references to her on cylinder seals which were like the ID cards of her staﬀ, and in the historical records of her father, two brothers and nephew, all of whom were kings of Sumer and Akkad.
Enheduanna lived most of her life in the city of Ur at a time when the river Euphrates ﬂowed nearby. She was in charge of Ur’s important temple of the moon god, Nannar, as the en-priestess.. She was probably born in Akkad (Agade), the city founded by her father Sargon as the capital of his empire, the ﬁrst empire in world history. Her mother’s name—Tashlutum—is Sumerian.
The exact dates of Enheduanna’s birth and death are unknown but have been estimated by the Sumerologist William W. Hallo to be 2285-2250 BCE. The poetry attributed to Enheduanna was composed more than a thousand years before Sappho and Homer.
Information and recording courtesy of the Enheduanna Society.
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