- (modern ABU SHAHREIN)South Mesopotamian city, regarded by Sumerian scribes as the oldest city in the world, where “kingship came first from heaven.” The kings of Eridu, according to the Sumerian King List, all enjoyed phenomenally lengthy reigns; the first, Alulima, for 28,800 years, the second for 36,000 years. In historical times, Eridu was never the seat of a dynasty. Its importance was religious rather than political, as the site of the main sanctuary of Enki. Numerous Mesopotamian kings contributed to the buildings at the site, which reached its greatest size during the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur. It became deserted in the 18th century B.C. The cult of Enki continued to be maintained at other shrines, notably at nearby Ur. The archaeological excavations by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities in the 1940s revealed a long sequence of buildings, one above the other, which began in the Ubaid period, around 4900 B.C. There are altogether 18 building levels of what came to be known as the Eunir, the temple of Enki.See also KURIGALZU I.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.