Sulilu/Sulê (Ṣilulu)

A possible identification has been proposed between Sulili/u (or Sulê), the ruler who appears in the Assyrian King List [] as the first of six rulers [ eponymies] "[who(se names) appear on] bricks, (but) whose eponyms are not known" (two rulers before the beginning of the Puzur-Aššur Dynasty), and Ṣilulu, to whom the seal described below originally belonged. Following K. Veenhof, Sulili/Ṣilulu might have been Aššur's earliest independent ruler or a governor of Aššur for the Ur III Empire who later became independent (see, however, Michałowski's theory on Zarriqum [/riao/fromcolonytocitystate23341809bc/sargonicanduriiiperiods/zarriqum/index.html]). Whatever the situation may have been, it is certain that Ṣilulu was regarded as an important ruler of Aššur. This is clear from that fact that the composers of the AKL fictitiously created a direct link between him and Samsī-Addu I [] by referring to Ṣilulu as the son of Aminu [] and grandson of Ilā-kabkabī, thereby making Ṣilulu the older brother of Samsī-Addu (see the general introduction to the AKL []). If the two Ṣilulus in question are in fact one and the same individual, then that Old Assyrian ruler's name may have survived into the first millennium BC only in fragmentary form. This might explain its corruption in the AKL, probably the sole source upon which Adad-nārārī III's text no. 1 [] relied when it refers to Sulili as a royal forefather; the relevant passage of that inscription reads "offspring of Ilu/Enlil-kabkabī, an earlier king, a predecessor from before the sovereignty of Sulili, whose name Aššur called from of old."

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The inscription engraved on the seal of Ṣilulu is known from several impressions on clay tablets and envelopes discovered at Kaniš (modern Kültepe). The seal was later reused by a second Ṣilulu (son of Uku and possibly a merchant who inherited the seal from his royal ancestor; see Lewy 1964); this man had part of the original inscription (line 7) erased since its contents did not apply to him.


Kt g/k 407(?). Nagel, AfO 18 (1957-58) fig. 3

Access the composite text [] of Ṣilulu 1.

Sources: (1) Ist Ka 0927     (2) kt b/k 0265     (3) kt b/k 0685      (4) kt c/k 0843     (5) kt c/k 1285     (6) kt b/k 0271a     (7) kt b/k 0285     (8) kt b/k 0683a     (9) kt g/k 0407


1950 Landsberger and Balkan, Belleten 14 p. 231 (ex. 1, edition)
1952 Hrozný, ICK 1 no. 29a seal B (ex. 1, copy)
1954 Landsberger, JCS 8 p. 108 n. 200 (study)
1955 Balkan, Observations pp. 54-57 figs. 6-11 (exs. 2-5, photo; exs. 1-8, edition)
1956 J. Lewy, HUCA 27 pp. 25-31 (exs. 1-8, edition)
1957 Balkan, Letter pp. 60-61 and figs. 22-23 (ex. 9, photo, study)
1957-58 Nagel, AfO 18 pp. 97-103, 322-23, and fig. 3 (ex. 9?, photo, copy, edition)
1961 Borger, EAK 1 p. 3 (study)
1963 Garelli, Les Assyriens pp. 35-43 and 79 (study)
1972 Grayson, ARI 1 XXVII 1 (translation)
1976 Larsen, City-State pp. 117 and 146-47 n. 120 (study)
1980 Al-Gailani Werr, BIA 17 p. 58 no. 36 (exs. 3, 9, copy)
1987 Grayson, RIMA 1 p. 12 A.0.27.1 (edition)

Further Liturature

Lewy, H., 'Notes on the political organisation of Asia Minor in the time of Old Assyrian texts,' Or. 33 (1964), pp. 181-189.
Michel, C., 'Sulili,' Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 13 (2011-12), p. 282.
Yamada, S., 'The Editorial History of the Assyrian King List,' ZA 84 (1994), pp. 11-37, esp. 19.

Nathan Morello

Nathan Morello, 'Sulilu/Sulê (Ṣilulu)', The Royal Inscriptions of Assyria online (RIAo) Project, The RIAo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2021 []

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