country of a people who probably originated in southern Kurdistan; the form of the name is identical in both Sumerian and Akkadian, namely Lulubi and Lulubum respectively.


LULUBI, country of a people who probably originated in southern Kurdistan; the form of the name is identical in both Sumerian and Akkadian, namely Lulubi and Lulubum respectively (for the various spellings see Klengel, 1965, p. 350; Edzard, Farber, and Sollberger, 1977, p. 111). The Early Dynastic Listof Geographical Names [LGN]from Abū Ṣalābīḫ (third millennium BCE) has Lulubuna, which is identified by Frayne (1992, p. 61) with the city of Luluban in Old Akkadian texts from Gasur (near modern Kirkuk, Iraq). He locates this city in modern Ḥalabjah (southwest of Lake Zeribor). Apart from the above-mentioned form, there is also a shorter form of this ethnonym from the second millennium BCE onwards, namely Lullu, Lullim (for spellings and variants see Fincke, 1993, pp. 190-193, s.v. N/Lull(e); Nashef, 1982, pp. 188 f.; Parpola, 1970, pp. 228 f.).

Speiser (1930, pp. 90 f.) and Klengel (1965, p. 357) follow Hüsing in asserting that the Lullubian language was related to Elamite. Their only argument is that <bi> of the ethnonym (whose function, if any, eludes us) is identical with the animate plural marker /p/ in Elamite. On a purely descriptive level, the segmentation of the ethnonym into Lullu- and -bi is defensible, in view of the synchronic occurrences of forms with and without the second component. However, the second component is spelled, not only with <b>, but also with <m>. There is no evidence that this alternating second component has the same function as the above-mentioned /p/ marker in Elamite. There is no evidence that the Lullubians, who inhabited part of modern Kurdistan, are the ancestors of the modern Lurs, who dwell further south (in Luristan, pace Speiser, 1930, pp. 95 f.).

It is impossible to indicate the boundaries of the land of the Lullubians. The heart of their country is thought to be the valley of Šahrzor (district of Solaymāniya). In the third millennium BCE the abodes of the Lullubians are still delimitable to some extent.

The only description of Lullubum, albeit partial, is found in the “Sargon Geography,” which goes back to an Old Babylonian, if not an earlier, tradition. It is located between Uruna (LGN Uranu[?]; see Frayne, 1992, p. 76) and Ṣinu (location unknown; see Horowitz, 1998, pp. 76 ff. ad no. 68, line 12). The land of Lulumî is identified in the first millennium BCE with the region of Zamua (cf., e.g., Winckler, 1889,II, p. 8, line 11).

The only known Lullubian word is ki-ú-ru-um = Akkadian ilu “god” (recorded in a late Assyrian vocabulary; see Frank, 1928-29, p. 42). The inhabitants of the region of Sipirmena in Zamua “twitter like women” according to an Assyrian royal inscription from 880 BCE (see Zaccagnini, 1982, p. 415 with n. 44). Due to the fact that we know next to nothing about the language of the Lullubians, it is even not clear whether they ever formed a distinct ethnolinguistic group. The ascription of any corpus to a distinctive “Lullubian” group is doubtful, as Eidem (1992, p. 53) states: “Lullean [Lullubian] ... in a linguistic sense has little meaning except as a collective label for residual elements.” The more optimistic assessment of Astour (1987, p. 29, n. 189; pp. 37 f. with n. 259) is based only on elimination: he tentatively regards as Lullubian the non-Hurrian and non-atypical names of the Ur III list from Shashrum (Struve, 1952; cf. Eidem, 1992, p. 52 with n. 41; Zadok, 2001). The thorough treatment of the “Lullubian” onomasticon by Speiser (1930, pp. 91-94) is necessarily tentative and overly optimistic. Moreover, there seems to be a late and secondary geographical extension of Lullubum (in the second millennium BCE: “mountain dwellers; strangers”; see Klengel, 1965, pp. 166 f.), and there is no definite delimitation between Gutium (Qutium; see GUTIANS) and Lullubum.

Lulubi was in the periphery of the state of Sargon of Akkad. The Lullubian ruler Satuni was a contemporary of Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BCE) from Akkad, who defeated the Lullubians. Kanishba, king of Simurrum, instigated his people and the Lullubians to rebel against Erridu-pizir king of Gutium, according to the latter’s inscription (extant only in an Old Babylonian copy). The center of Erridu-pizir’s arena of operations in Simurrum and Lullubum is a place named Madga. Erridu-pizir is not mentioned in other sources. Th. Jacobsen and R. Kutscher tentatively suggest regarding him as the successor of the Akkad dynasty (i.e., sometime after 2154 BCE), thereby being the first recorded member of the Gutian dynasty, which ruled over Mesopotamia as well (see Kutscher, 1989, pp. 62 f., 67 f.).

A Lullubian functionary with a Sumerian name is mentioned at late-Sargonic or Ur III Lagash (de Genouillac, 1912, IV, no. 7087, r., line 1; cf. Edzard, Farber, and Sollberger, 1977, p. 111). Lullubians are recorded in Girsu in the time of the second Lagash dynasty (see Steinkeller, 1988, p. 53, n. 21). According to Old Akkadian and Ur III economic documents, Lullubum exported livestock to Mesopotamia and imported grain from there.

The Neo-Sumerian king Shulgi (2094-2047 BCE) boasts of military successes against Lullubum in his 46-45th and 25th years (together with Simurrum, Urbilum, and Karahar); once he states that Simurrum and Lullubum were raided “for the ninth time.” Lulubuna is considered a Lullubian colony near Lagash by Falkenstein (but see the reservations of D. O. Edzard in Parpola et al., 1977, pp. 164 f.). A chief magistrate (or mayor, Akkadian hazānum) of Lulubu bearing a Sumerian name is recorded in Ur III (de Genouillac, 1912, III, no. 5367, r., line 2; cf. Edzard and Farber, 1974, p. 112). The same documentation has the anthroponyms Lu-lu-bu-um (Thureau-Dangin, 1910, I, no. 211; Pettinatto, Waetzoldt and Pomponio, 1977, no. 249, line 1) and Lu-lu-bí-tum (Thureau-Dangin, 1910, I, no. 828), i.e., “Lullubian” (male and female respectively). The contingent of Lulubu in the service of the Ur III state (8th year of Amar-Suen, i.e., 2039 BCE) is listed between that of Agaz and that of Hamazi (in the central Zagros and its piedmont). This may indicate that the Lullubians were under the control of the Neo-Sumerian state (see Sigrist, 1979, p. 168, ad loc.). [Lul(?)]lubum is recorded in an inscription of Shu-Suen (Kutscher, 1989, p. 101 with n. 63). The Lullubian ruler Irib brought sheep and goats according to a document from Puzrish-Dagan (modern Drehem) from the second year of Shu-Suen (2036 BCE; Sigrist, 1995, I, no. 132, line 5). Darianam of Lullubum is also recorded in Ur III (Walker, 1985, pp. 90, no. 2 and 146, n. 7 [unavailable to the author, quoted by Frayne, 1992, p. 61 with n. 473).

The rock relief of Anubanini, King of Lulubum in Sar-e Pol-e Zohāb is dated to the end of Ur III or the beginning of the Old Babylonian period. It is not certain whether Anubanini himself was a Lullubian (see Diakonoff, 1956, p. 102). There is no telling whether he led a political alliance of the Lullubian tribes. The numerous kings of Lullim (all anonymous) are described in documents from Old Babylonian Shusharra (modern Tall Shimshara). Old Babylonian sources show the extension of the term Lullu to an international “social” label. So far there is no evidence for an ethnolinguistic reality behind the opposition Lullean/Turukkean. Lulleans have become a designation for “highlanders” ~ “barbarous” (Eidem, 1992, pp. 50 f. following Klengel, 1965, p. 357). They inhabited the less accessible mountains, not the plain intermontane valleys, and were basically engaged in herding and hunting, not in agriculture. Some Lullubians (perhaps = Turukkeans) are recorded in Old Babylonian Tall ar-Rimāḥ and Tuttul on the Middle Euphrates (see Krebernik, 2001, p. 90 ad Keilschrifttexte aus Tutul, no. 138). The gentilic Lullāyu was borne by individuals from Dūr-Katlimmu and Tall ar-Rimāḥ in the Middle Assyrian period (see Nashef, 1982, p. 189).

Immashku King of Lulu is recorded in a historical-mythological fragment from Boǵazköy. This fragment stems from the Hurrian tradition. According to this tradition, there were several Lullubian kings at the same time, presumably a great king controlling several chieftains (“kings”). This find is in accord with Neo-Assyrian sources, where several kings of Zamua (Lullubum) are recorded simultaneously (see Klengel, 1965, p. 358, and cf. below). On the whole, Zamua, and especially Sumbi, was a region with of a low political integration.

Lullubians (anonymous or with Babylonian names) are recorded in Nippur during the Middle Babylonian period (see Nashef, 1982, p. 189).

Nebuchadnezzar I claimed to have subdued the land of Lullubî. Klengel (1965, p. 361) is of the opinion that an itinerary preserved in an unpublished oracle query (reported to Klengel by W. G. Lambert) may refer to this campaign: it describes the way from Padni (presumably Padan) to Putumbi, Dur-Shulgi, and Halman. The last-mentioned is on the way from Babylonia to the Lullubian territory. The toponym Neo-Assyrian Ban-ba-la < Kassite "Babylon" referring to a settlement situated on the shore of Lake Zeribor is noteworthy. Lu-lu-ba-ia, i.e.,”Lullubian,” is recorded in a document from Bit-Abdadanu in western Media in the 11th-10th century BCE (Diakonoff, 1978, p. 60). The Lullubians are described as a typical enemy in the apocalyptic Babylonian “Erra Epos.” A Lullubian woman appears as a witch in the “Maqlû series,” a set of ritual texts (see Klengel, 1965, p. 369).

Assyrian involvement in Lullubum began in the second year of Tiglath-Pileser I (1113 BCE), when he reports that he took 25 anonymous Lullubian deities as booty to Assyria (see Klengel, 1965, p. 362).

At the beginning of the first millennium BCE, the Neo-Assyrian inscriptions treat the land of Lulume separately from Zamua (Adad-narari II, 911-891 BCE). But in the account of Sargon’s eighth campaign Mt. Kullar is described as located in Lulume, which is named Zamua. Tukulti-Ninurta II (890-884 BCE) conquered the region of Ladani, which was accessible through the passes of Habruri/Kirruri and bordered on the Lower Zab. It is described as inhabited by Lullubians (Grayson, 1991, pp. 172 f.: Tukulti-Ninurta II, A.0.100.5, 30 ff.). The late and secondary geographical extension of Lullubum (see Klengel, 1965, pp. 166 f.) does not necessarily apply to this region, which was very close, if not adjacent, to Lullubum, the more so since we cannot determine with certainty the original geographical extension of Lullubum.

Ashurnasirpal II marched in his first year (883 BCE) only to the border of Lullubum. The pretext for Ashurnasirpal II’s campaign in his third year (881 BCE) was a revolt by Nur-Adad the sheikh (nasīku) of Dagara (an Aramean according to his title and name, like Zabini king of Kiṣirtu in Zamua, Grayson, 1991, p. 206: Ashurnasirpal A.0.101.1, ii, 58). This may imply that Nur-Adad became a vassal of Assyria as early as 883 BCE. This campaign caused the Zamuan rulers to form an anti-Assyrian alliance and to build a wall in the Babite pass (the modern-day Bazian pass, between Kirkuk and Solaymāniya), the entrance to the land of Lullubum/Zamua. This land, which was ruled simultaneously by several kings, had at least 19 walled cities. The booty and tribute taken by the Assyrians from Zamua included livestock, horses, metals, textiles as well as wine from Dagara. The fact that Ashurnasirpal II had to conduct an anti-Zamuan campaign in his fourth year (880 BCE) as well proves that Zamua, even its western section, was not yet fully incorporated as an Assyrian province (see Klengel, 1965, p. 365).

Shalmaneser III (858-824 BCE) conducted more campaigns to Zamua “of the inner intermontane valleys” (Zamua ša būtāni) or Mazamua.

His first campaign was via Mt. Kullar to Inner Zamua. This was followed by the conquest of the cities of Niqdira and Niqdime, and extermination of the remainder of the retreating Zamuan troops in the Sea of Inner Zamua (presumably Zeribor). The governor of Zamua appears as an eponym for the first time in 828 BCE (later several governors were eponyms, e.g. in 768 BCE). However, local rulers are recorded later as well, namely Dada of Arzizu in Sargon II’s time and Larkutla city lord of Zamua at the end of Esarhaddon’s reign.

Urartian *Lulu[ine] (Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979, p. 52) denotes “enemy of the mountains; foreigner, stranger” in the time of King Argishti (ca. 786-764 BCE? see Klengel, 1965, p. 370).

Out of 14 anthroponyms (see Zadok, 2002, pp. 92 f.) three (21.42 percent, one certain and two just possible) are Old Iranian, three (21.42 percent) atypical, six (42.85 percent) unaffiliated but not isolated, and two (14.28 percent) are unaffiliated and isolated. Nār-Lál-lu-ú may denote “the Lullubian river,” and Arakdi(-a) is explicitly a Lullubian toponym. Out of 54 toponyms (see Zadok, 2002, pp. 94 f.), six (11.11. percent) are recorded before the first millennium BCE, two (3.7 percent) are perhaps such, and two (3.7 percent) possibly homonymous with pre-first millennium toponyms. Three (5.55 percent) are perhaps Old Iranian; one toponym may be Kassite (1.85 percent) and another one (1.85 percent) is Kassitized. Only two toponyms (3.7 percent) are Hurro-Urartian, four (7.4 percent) are atypical, another four (7.4 percent) Akkadian; two toponyms (3.7. percent) are doubtful, two (3.7 percent) West Semitic; six (11.11 percent) are unaffiliated, but not entirely isolated, and 19 (35.18 percent) are unaffiliated and isolated. For Lullubians on Assyrian reliefs see Wäfler, 1975, p. 267.



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December 23, 2005

(Ran Zadok)

Originally Published: July 20, 2005

Last Updated: July 20, 2005