Ancient city, Mesopotamia. Located northwest of Ur on the Euphrates River, it was one of the greatest cities of Sumer and was enclosed by brickwork walls that, according to legend, were built by the mythical hero Gilgamesh. Excavations have traced successive cities that date from the prehistoric Ubaid period (circa 5000 BC) to Parthian times (126 BC–AD 224), when in circa 70 BC an ancient school of learned scribes was still using cuneiform script. Urban life in what is known as the Erech-Jamdat Nasr period (circa 3500–2900 BC) is more fully illustrated at Erech than at any other Mesopotamian city.
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Although the exact location of Erech is not specified with any accuracy, the Book of Jubilees 9:3 identifies that the land of Shinar was allocated to Asshur, second son of Shem, and these Kings are associated with Nineveh in the northern part of Mesopotamia.
The Sumerian Kings List is the primary source indicating that Erech was a name for the southern city of Uruk. The cuneiform tablets were found by Lenzen in 1954 at Uruk. The Early Dynastic period in the list runs from 2900 to 2370BC, and is the first series in the Kings List with realistic dates for the lengths of the rule of Kings. Prior to this the Kings list shows only mythical kings who reigned for millennia . The Early Dynastic period starts with the first Kish dynasty north of Uruk, before the 'Dynasty of Erech' was founded in Uruk by Meskia-gasher. This was the period of the famous Gilgamesh, whose legend is so strongly associated with Uruk. This would indicate that the influence of Asshur and King Nimrod extended across the whole area, both northern and southern Mesopotamia.
Uruk is the Akkadian version of the city’s name and is found on cuneiform tablets discovered in the northern sites of Kish, Nineveh and Babylon, mostly referring the conquest of the southern region by the Babylonian king Sargon I.
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