Eannatum was a Sumerian king of Lagash; he established one of the first verifiable empires in history. One inscription found on a boulder states that Eannatum was his Sumerian name, while his "Tidnu" (Amorite) name was Lumma.
Conquest of Sumer
Eannatum, grandson of Ur-Nanshe, was a king of Lagash who conquered all of Sumer, including Ur, Nippur, Akshak (controlled by Zuzu), Larsa, and Uruk (controlled by Enshakushanna, who is on the King List). He also annexed the kingdom of Kish, which regained its independence after his death. He made Umma a tributary, where every person had to pay a certain amount of grain into the treasury of the goddess Nina and the god Ingurisa, after personally commanding an army to subjugate the city.
Conquest outside Sumer
Eannatum expanded his influence beyond the boundaries of Sumer. He conquered parts of Elam, including the city Az off the coast of the modern Persian Gulf, allegedly smote Shubur, and demanded tribute as far as Mari. However, revolts often arose in parts of his empire. During Eannatum’s reign, many temples and palaces were built, especially in Lagash. The city of Nina, probably a precursor of Niniveh, was rebuilt, with many canals and reservoirs being excavated.
Stele of the Vultures
The so-called Stele of the Vultures, now in the Louvre, is a fragmented limestone stele found in Telloh, (ancient Girsu) Iraq, in 1881. The stele is reconstructed as having been 1.80 metres (5 ft 11 in) high and 1.30 metres (4 ft 3 in) wide and was set up ca. 2500–2400 BCE. It was erected as a monument of the victory of Eannatum of Lagash over Enakalle of Umma.
On it various incidents in the war are represented. In one register, the king stands in his chariot with a curved weapon in his right hand, formed of three bars of metal bound together by rings, while his kilted followers, with helmets on their heads and lances in their hands, march behind him. In another register a figure, presumed to be that of the king, rides on his chariot in the thick of the battle. On the other side of the stele is an image of Ninurta, a god of war, holding the captive Ummaites in a large net. This implies that Eannatum attributed his victory to Ninurta, and thus that he was in the god's protection (though some accounts say that he attributed his victory to Enlil, the patron deity of Lagash).
- Kleiner, Fred S.; Mamiya, Christin J. (2006). Gardner's Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective — Volume 1 (12th ed.). Belmont, California, USA: Thomson Wadsworth. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-495-00479-0.