Memorial cone of the Mesilim Treaty
As a result of Peter Sand for contributing this put up!
[Footnotes after the jump.]
The Musée du Louvre in Paris holds tangible proof of the world’s first recognized licensed settlement on boundary water sources: viz., the Mesilim Treaty, concluded throughout the 25th century B.C. between the two Mesopotamian states of Lagash and Umma. The phrases of the treaty have been preserved as cuneiform inscriptions on a limestone cone (decide 1) and a stele commemorating Lagash’s victorious battle imposing the treaty. Fragments of every artifacts had been excavated in 1878-1912 by French archeologists on web sites at Tellō (Tall Lawh, Dhi Qar Governate in Southern Iraq), the standard temple-city of Girsu, as quickly because the capital of Lagash. The inscriptions, transcribed and translated into French, German, Italian and English, turned out to match a lot of completely different texts on corresponding archeological finds of the interval. The necessary factor exhibit, the so-called ‘Stele of the Vultures’, depicts Lagash ruler E’anatum principal his army, and vultures devouring slain Umma warriors (figures 2 and three).
Mesilim [or Mesalim, born ca. 2600 B.C.] was the ruler of Kish, a kingdom extra to the north of Lagash and Umma, which held a typical ‘hegemonic’ place throughout the free alliance of small adjoining Sumerian city-states throughout the space between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, south of what was to grow to be Babylon. Because of the prevailing precarious rainfall circumstances, the agricultural monetary system of your full basin area has always been crucially relying on irrigation, primarily from the ‘good Tigris’, by an elaborate system of canals and levees which inevitably require shut inter-community cooperation. The geographic focus of the bilateral Lagash-Umma settlement, concluded beneath Mesilim’s authority as exterior arbiter, was the fertile Gu-edena valley, roughly ten by four kilometers massive and irrigated by Tigris waters from a canal named Lum-magirnunta on the border between Umma and Lagash, with boundaries marked by stone steles.
|Decide 2: Stele of the Vultures|
|Decide three: Stele of the Vultures|
Part of the treaty was a crop-sharing affiliation for a portion of boundary land (some eleven sq. kilometers) downstream on Lagash territory, that was cultivated by Umma beneath lease, in opposition to charge of an annual rental cost (máš, calculated in silver-shekel equivalents of barley crops) to cowl the costs of canal repairs. However, when Umma repeatedly refused to honor its accrued tenancy cash owed, hostilities broke out, resulting in partial destruction of the canal and in unilateral diversions of water upstream. In a lot of successive navy confrontations (‘the first recognized battle in historic previous that was, in essence, fought about water’), Umma was lastly defeated by Lagash (first beneath the administration of E’anatum, ca. 2470 B.C.; and later beneath his nephew Enmetena, ca. 2430 B.C.), and was pressured to simply settle for the reconstruction (and extension) of the canal and the reinstatement of the boundaries as initially drawn up by Mesilim.
Alas, the treaty so renewed and ‘writ in stone’, and the peace so re-established, does not seem to have survived for prolonged, and was in the end overtaken and mooted by exterior political events (the Akkadian/Sargonic invasions) in subsequent generations. Even so, the settlement has been hailed as ‘the first worldwide arbitration’, and as ‘the oldest treaty of which there is a reliable file’. It stays a singular early attempt at resolving a dispute over boundary waters by formal reference to a superior religious order (on this case, the deities of every occasions, repeatedly ‘sworn to’ throughout the textual content material), and due to this fact might definitely qualify as a precursor of worldwide regulation on this self-discipline – properly over 4,000 years prior to now.
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