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Tablette mentionnant les 12 rois de la dynastie d'Awan et les 12 rois de la dynastie des Simashki

© 2005 RMN / Franck Raux

Near Eastern Antiquities

Herbin Nancie

The cuneiform inscription on this tablet lists the kings of the Awan and Simashki dynasties, who reigned in Iran in the last third of the 3rd and the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The tablet gives a list of 12 kings for the two kingdoms. Little is known about the history of these two states, although it is known that their history is linked with that of Mesopotamia as well as the kingdom of Elam, which was soon to emerge.

A list of kings based on a Mesopotamian example

The inscription, written in Paleo-Babylonian, follows the example of the Mesopotamian schools. The cuneiform writing used in the inscription is the same as that found in texts dating from the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). The tablet lists the names of the kings of Awan and Simashki. The Mesopotamian lists of kings were used to establish the order of succession of the kings and as a means of dating past events. Several such lists from Mesopotamia and Elam have survived. The longest is the list of Sumerian kings composed in around 2000 BC. In the case of this tablet, the chosen method of presenting the order of succession is not clear, and the document cannot be considered a reliable historiographic source, as it gives neither the length of the individual reigns nor the precise order of succession. However, several of the kings listed are known from other written sources, both contemporary and later, from Susa and Mesopotamia.

The Awan dynasty

According to the list of Sumerian kings, the Awan dynasty ruled for 365 years. Certain Mesopotamian texts dating from the 2nd half of the 3rd millennium indicate that the kingdom of Awan lay in the mountains above Susa. Of the 12 kings of Awan listed, only the last, Puzur-Inshushinak, is recorded in a large number of monuments and inscriptions in Susa. His name indicates that he was probably from Susa himself. Ur-Nammu was king of Ur, reigning from 2115 to 2095 BC. He wrested Susa from Mesopotamian control and played an important role in creating an Elamite identity by adopting a new local style of writing. He was the first prince to stake a claim as ruler of both Susa and its region and Elam. Puzur-Inshushinak was defeated by Shulgi, 2nd king of the 3rd Ur dynasty. Susa fell back under Mesopotamian control and the Awan dynasty was at an end.

From the kingdom of Simashki to the Sukkalmah dynasty

During the same period, the region to the east of Susa was divided into several principalities which formed the kingdom of Simashki. These states were in frequent contact with the kingdom of Ur, rulers of Susa. Thanks to a system of alliances strengthened by royal marriages, the vast dynasty was able to rule over far-flung territories. Shortly before 2000 BC, Ur lost its hegemony and the kingdom of Simashki was split into two regions - Susa and Anshan. Contemporary inscriptions confirm that several dynasties listed on this tablet did indeed rule in Susa. Later on, one of the princes of Anshan founded the Sukkalmah dynasty. This list of kings may have been written later as a means of justifying the origin and succession of this dynasty.


Glassner Jean-Jacques, "Les dynasties d'Awan et de Shimashki. Un document de Suse", in Cahier de NABU, n 1, mars 1996, Paris,
Société pour l'étude du Proche-Orient ancien, 1996, pp. 25-29.
Stolper Matthew W, "On the Dynasty of Šimaški and the early Sukkalmahs", in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archälogie, Band 72/I, 1982, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1982, pp. 42 -67.

Technical description

  • Tablette mentionnant les 12 rois de la dynastie d'Awan et les 12 rois de la dynastie des Simashki

    Environ 1800 - 1600 avant J.-C.

  • Argile

    H: 82 cm; L: 84 cm

  • Inscription en akkadien

    Sb 17729

  • Near Eastern Antiquities

    Richelieu wing
    Ground floor
    Iran and Bactria
    Room 305
    Vitrine 4 : Suse V : époque néo-sumérienne, dynastie de Shimashki et des Sukkalmah

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