Ensi and Lugal
We have to discuss 3 titles,
Sumerian for "great man", the Akkadian
equivalent is read "sharrum" (king);
close to priest-lord and
conventionally translated as city ruler
The difference between En
Jacobsen in his 'Toward the Image of Tammuz' (1970),
p.384 n.71, explains that Ensi[g/k] when attested at all, "seems
to denote specifically the ruler of a single major city with it's
surrounding lands and villages, whereas both "lord"
(en) and "king"(lugal) imply ruler over a region with
more than one important city....the ensi[g/k] seems to have been
originally the leader of the seasonal organization of the townspeople
for work on the fields: irrigation, ploughing, and sowing. "
The author assigns the meaning of the word as "manager of
the arable lands" and comments that it would not be difficult
than, to see how the ensi[g/k] could gain high political influence
in Early Dynastic times.
Differences between Lugal
Jacobsen (1970) writes about (among other things) primitive democracy
(pg.138) and explains that the assembly (mirrored in myth by the
divine assembly) might in times of crises make certain essential
decisions. When there was threat of war or dangers to the community
they might elect a lugal - however, when there were "internal
administrative crises- need for organization of large communal
undertaking or for checking banditry and lawlessness" the
assembly would elect a "lord" (en). That author describes:
"The "lord" was chosen for proven administrative
abilities (he would normally be the head of a large estate) and
charismatic powers, magical ability to make things thrive, was
the core of his office."
In a JNES article Jacobsen/Kramer touch briefly
on the differences between en and lugal (JNES 12, 179, n.41):
"The traditional English rendering [of en]
"lord" would be happier if it had preserved overtones
of its original meaning "bread-keeper" (Blaford), for
the core concept of En is that of the successful economic manager.
The term implies authority, but not the authority of ownership,
a point on which it differs sharply from bêlum (Sumerian
has no term for owner but has to make shift with lugal and constructions
with -t u k u) , and it implies successful economic management:
charismatic power to make things thrive and to produce abundance."
(Adapted from "Fischers
Weltgeschichte - Die Altorientalischen Reiche I "1965)
Lugal is the royal title "par excellence",
like that known from the Sumerian king-list. Nam-Lugal is the
kingship as a form of ruling. Lugal connected with a name is found
first in Kish and Ur (Mebaragesi, Meskalamdug), but the combination
of the signs
is already known in UrukIII-Jemdat-Nasr-Time.
Unlike the title Lugal and Ensi, the title En as a ruler title
[with political as well as social powers] is only known from Uruk.
Enmerkar, Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh are called "En of Kulaba"
(Kulaba is a city district of Uruk) in the "hymn literature",
also Meskianggasher, ancestor of the first dynasty of Uruk, and
again Gilgameš [have the same title] in the king-list.
The statement of Lugalkingenešdudu (ca. beginning 24th
century), "he owns the Enship (Nam-En) of Uruk and the Kingship
(Nam-Lugal) of Ur" is a characteristic for the connection
of En and Uruk. Only one time, at the reign of Enshekushanna of
Uruk (ca end of 25th century) the title "En of Sumer"(En
Epigraphically En is earlier attested then Lugal.
The cuneiform sign is found in texts from UrukIVa, at the time
of the archaic Sumerian "high culture". The personal
name "The En fills the Kulaba", from archaic Ur, shows
the high prestige of the title En outside of Uruk.
The title En as a title for a priest was often used in Ur (since
Akkadian times). Here it is the high priestess of Nanna, city-god
of Ur, who used the title. If the En of Uruk was a ruler with
a female city-god, Inanna, the title En would necessarily be opposite
in gender to the city-god.
The En of Uruk-Kulaba was probably more involved into cultic functions
then the Lugal, and so, the figure of the priest displayed in
priestly functions on cylinder seals from UrukIV layers is to
be identified as the En.
Important for Uruk was that the high priest also
was the leader of the city, so he had also command over the military
The politcal aspect of En only shows up in the stories of Lugalbanda
and Gilgamesh. In cities like Ur or Girsu (the main city of the
state of Lagash) the Lugal or Ensi didn't unify the highest cultic
and worldly functions in one person from the beginning. Under
Entemena of Lagash in Girsu there was a highpriest of the city-god
Ningirsu, called Sangu who stood next to the Ensi. But this is
a relatively late reference (end of 25th century).
*A classic note on the En is in Kramer's the Sumerians
pg. 141, which states that while the Sanga was the administrative
head of the temple, the En was the spiritual head of the temple
"..lived in a part of the temple known as
the Gipar. The en's, it seems, could be women as well as men,
depending upon the sex of the deity to whom their service were
dedicated. Thus in Erech's main temple, the Eanna, of which the
goddess Inanna became the main deity, the en was a man; the hero's
Enmerker and Gilgamesh were originally designated en's though
they may also have been kings and were certainly great military
leaders. The en of the Ekishnugal in Ur, whose main deity was
the moon-god, Nanna, was a woman and usually the daughter of the
reigning monarch of Sumer. (We actually have the names of almost
all, if not all, the en's of the Ekishnugal from the days of Sargon
The Merging of En and Lugal:
Oppenheim calls the relationship between these
two functions "complex" and "ill-defined"
and referring back to Jacobsen 1970, pg. 144, its explained thats
the distinctions between these roles is in fact sometimes blurred.
"The related tendencies of kings and lords [en's] to strengthen
their position by ruthlessly suppressing all rivals may be seen
as a reason why in the various regions of Mesopotamia, as we find
them in the epics, only one ruler, either a "king" or
a "lord," is met with. With the regional unification
of power in one hand goes a gradual merging of the various functions
of the two offices, for all of them were needed for a community
to thrive. The general warlike conditions would, in the case of
the "lord," stress his powers of maintaining order and
expand his police powers to full military scope. The "king"
on th other hand, could not well disregard internal administrative
and economic problems in his realm and would thus naturally came
to assume also the "lord's" responsibilities for fertility
and abundant crops. Thus the magic and ritual responsibilities
were added to his earlier military and judiciary functions to
form the combination so characteristic of later Mesopotamian kingship."
In rank, Ensi was lower then Lugal and En. Ensi's were called
rulers that reigned independently over a city and the surrounding
lands, or rulers, that were dependent from another king.This limitation
of the title Ensi shows an inscription of Eanatum of Lagash;,
who said that he owned "...additionally to the ensi-ship
of Lagash the kingship of Kish". The rulers of Umma called
themselves Lugal in their inscriptions, but from the view of Lagash
they were called Ensi´s.
Perspective on En's:
Why the En makes such an appearance in Jacobsen's
1970 study "Toward the image of Tammuz" because apparent
in referring to his note one page 375, n.32:
"The en's basic responsibility is toward
fertility and abundance, achieved through the rite of "sacred
marriage" in which the en participated as bride or bridegroom
of a deity.In cities where the chief deity was a goddess, as in
Uruk and Aratta, the en was male (akkadian enum) and attained,
because of the economic importance of his office, to a position
of major political importance as "ruler"." In cities
where the chief deity was male, as in Ur, the en was a woman,
(Akkadian enum or entum) and therefore, while important religiously,
did not attain a ruler's position. Whether male and politically
important as a ruler, or female and only cultically important,
the en lived in a building of sacred character, the Giparu. Where
the en was male and a ruler that building in time took on the
features of an administrative center, a palace (see the epics
of "Enmerker and the Lord of Aratta" and of "Enmerker
and Ensukeshdanna"). Where the en was female this did not
In regards the Sacred Marriage, Jacobsen quotes a line from TRS
60: "At the lapis-lazuli door which stands in the Giparu
she (Inannak) met the end, at the narrow(?) door of the storehouse
which stands in Eannak she me Dumuzid.....The connection between
the en and Giparu ["storehouse"] are made clear by the
text as a whole, which, dealing with the "sacred marriage"
shows it to be a rite celebrating the bringing in of the harvest.
It describes first how Inannak, the bride, is decked out for her
wedding with freshly harvested date clusters, which represent
her jewelry and personal adornments. She then goes to receive
her bridegroom, the en, Dumuzid, at the door of the Giparu- this
opening of the door for the bridegroom by the bride was the main
symbolic act of the Sumerian wedding, see BASOR 102 (1946 15-
and has him led into the Giparu, where the bed for the sacred
marriage is set up.......Summing up we may say thus that-at least
in Uruk- the en lives in the storehouse, the Giparu, because the
crops are in the storehouse and the en is the human embodiment
of the generative power, Dumuzid or Amaushumgalanak, which produces
and informs them."
Enheduanna and en-priestesses
The Gipar at Ur was uncovered by Woolley and was
found to be a self-contained residence with kitchens, ceremonial
rooms etc and even a crypt. The was the residence of the en priestesses
and a bedroom was incorporated within the shrine which presumably
relates to the Sacred Marriage ritual. J.N Postgate (1992 ph.130)
relays: "The earliest En known to us was a daughter of Sargon
of Akkad called Enheduana. She is also the most famous, since
she is one of the very few authors of a Mesopotamian literary
work whose name is known, but she was followed by a long line
of important ladies, most if not all of whom were close relatives
of the current royal family. Thus among others we find the daughters
of Naram-Sin of Akkad, Ur-Bau of Lagash;, Ur-Nammu, $ulgi, (and
probably subsequent Ur III kings),Ishme-dagan of Isin, and Kudu-mabuk
- the last being sister of Warad-Sin and Rim-sin of Larsa. The
memory lived on for well over a thousand years, when the last
king of Babylon, Nabonidus, in a consciously traditional gesture
made his daughter priestess of the moon-god at Ur."
 It is tempting to use the titles of rulers
as a criterion for dating the Adab rulers, since the writing GAR.énsi
looks like an archaism. But the GAR.énsi title in Adab
was used consistently from the time of Nin-kisal-si down to that
of E-igi-nim-pa-è, who would be closest to the Akkadian
Elsewhere, the same title was used by Sá-tam, Ruler of
Uruk, during early Sargonic times. It therefore seems clear that
the GAR.énsi title is not an archaism, but simply a (regional?)
pecularity.Concerning the list i have drawn together above, i
have not included in it the ruler named Lum-ma, despite the fact
that his name is found on two votive inscriptions from Adab (A208
and A 217),one of which describes him as PA.SI.GAR. Lum-ma´s
title was written PA.SI.GAR and PA.GAR.TE.SI, instead of the standart
GAR.PA.TE.SI of the other Adab rulers; his title was never followed
by the qualification "of Adab". These data would seem
to indicate that Lum-ma was not a local ruler of Adab, but a ruler
from another city who placed votive vessels in the E-sar temple.
 "Adab" by