The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Eridu (or Eridug) was an ancient city seven miles southwest of Ur. Eridu was the southernmost of the conglomeration of cities that grew about temples, almost in sight of one another, in Sumer, southern Mesopotamia. It was most likely founded close to the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the Euphrates river, but with accumulation of silt at the shoreline over the millennia, the remains of the city are now some distance from the gulf at Abu Shahrain in Iraq.

Archaeological investigations were carried out in the 1940s. It seems that the earliest settlement was around 5000 BC. According to Oppenheim, "Eventually the entire south lapsed into stagnation, abandoning the political initiative to the rulers of the northern cities." and the city forsaken in 600 BC.

In the Sumerian king list, Eridu is named as the city of the first kings:

After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug. In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years. Alaljar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridug fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.

The king list gave particularly long rules to the kings who came before the "flood". Adapa was a half-god king and caretaker of Eridu.

In the court of Assyria, special physicians trained in the ancient lore of Eridu, far to the south, foretold the course of sickness from signs and portents on the patient's body, which we must not too hastily connect with "symptoms" in our worldview, and they offered the appropriate incantations and magical resources.

In Sumerian mythology Eridu was the home of the god Enki, the Sumerian counterpart of the water-god Ea. Like all the Sumerian and Babylonian gods, Enki/Ea began as a local god, who came to share, according to the later cosmology, with Anu and Enlil, the rule of the cosmos. His kingdom was the waters that surrounded the world and lay below it.

External links


A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a dead civilization,

Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46