Enki’s Gift: How Civilization Bubbled From the Waters of Mesopotamia

April 24, 2013, National Geographic Newswatch

“To finish off all living things, that the four-legged creatures of Sakkan should lay no more dung on the ground, that the marshes should be so dry as to be full of cracks and have no new seed, that sickly-headed reeds should grow in the reed-beds, that they should be covered by a stinking morass…”

Those lines are from The Lament for Sumer and Ur, written in the 21st century BC as the Sumerian capital city of Ur was falling to an Elamite invasion from the east. Sumerians had inhabited lower Mesopotamia for more than two millennia at that point. Just a century before, a golden age in Sumerian history — the Third Dynasty of Ur — had begun.

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