“I am the canopy of Sumer, a pleasant shade” – The construction of a royal ideology

Ludovica Bertolini – University of Rome, La Sapienza

The expected goal of this paper is to provide an overlook of the attestations of vegetal metaphors, and more generally floral figures of speech, regarding the Ur III and Isin sovereigns, mostly in the context of the royal praise-poems. The analysis will focus on the detection of the aforesaid metaphors and similes that are linked to the work of construction of the public image of the ruler or of the reign. In this regard, the inheritance of the vegetal figures of speech, pertaining to the so called Sumerian Love Songs, will also been analyzed, in order to highlight the dependence of the royal model built by some of the kings, mentioned in the genre taken into account, from the love lyrics of Inanna and Dumuzi. Not only the metaphors strictly relating to the kings will be taken into consideration, but also those mentions of the vegetal world that are implied in the literary statement of the concept of reign. The latter being understood as the tangible image of the ability of the king to order the “cosmos”,  a feature precisely derived from the gods that support and uphold his government legitimacy.