While some names in the Sumerian King List contain standard Sumerian words (e.g. "sipad" : shepherd, "dumu" : son, "zid" : true, "en" : king), I haven't found a comprehensive translation/etymological rooting of the names in the list.

Are the etymological roots of common words appearing throughout the list, like "men" and "ana", understood?

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, the vast majority of Sumerian roots have no etymological explanation, and it's unlikely there will ever be one.

Sumerian is a language isolate: no language related to it has ever been found. So while we can break things down into their constituent parts ("Lugalbanda" contains lugal "king" which contains lu "man" and gal "big"), we can't go any farther than that. We would need to have some relative of Sumerian attested to make any reasonable guess about where lu came from.

  • 2
    It seems that OP asked not about the etymology of the Sumerian root morphemes but about whether we now can break those kings' names into morphemes we understand and translate those names. In other words, do we know the meaning of the morphemes the names in the Sumerian King List consist of?
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 16, 2020 at 0:37

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