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Women of Mesopotamia

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In 1927, archaeologists working at the ancient city of Ur excavated a stone disc with the name Enheduanna. She was the daughter of Sargon of Akkad, and was a remarkable woman who wielded considerable religious and political power as a princess, high priestess, and poet.

Currently on exhibit at The Morgan Library (She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia, ca. 3400-2000 B.C). is artwork that captures expressions of women’s lives in ancient Mesopotamia during the 3rd millennium B.C.E, highlighting that of Enheduanna. These works bear testament to the roles that religious life as well as their everyday lives as mothers, and rulers had.

Most ancient texts come to us without authorship or attribution, yet Enheduanna (ca. 2285-2250 BCE). is the first named author in history. This princess told us the grandeur and sorrows of her life in the hymns and petitionary prayers that she wrote. Her compositions were highly valued, and therefore they were copied and re-copied in antiquity; many are thought to be early foundations of some of our own biblical psalms and hymns.

Our presenter, Dr. Sharon Keller will explore this groundbreaking exhibition currently on view (through Feb. 2023) at the Morgan Library (NYC) and not only see the woman and her work, but will tease out many connections to our biblical narrative that can be seen in the exhibition.

A zoom talk from the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy