History of The First Kolhinor by Inimabak
Written in the 640th year after the Winnowing of Shumer
The common reprinting of this work in the three hundredth year after its original publication is apposite. So few copies remain of the previous reprint, and of these only three known outside temples, this will serve to provide the population with an account of this very early period in the history of Shumer and remind them that the land they now live in had quite a different name; a name now shrunken to a far northern corner of the continent, known now only for the quality of its moonstone and the piety of its priests of the old religion. I have made but a few editorial corrections to the text, indeed I am in a position to do little else, the majority of the monuments that were available to the author have long sunk beneath the ground. He lived through a golden age for archaeology where the lands were united under a single government that was generous in its endowments and encouraged the study of past history.
Annepuda of New Eridu, year 940 aw
The Early Kings
The current state of knowledge as to the early kings of the First Dynasty of Valhina is almost entirely mythological. Tradition has it that the first king Dna united the cities of Kolhinor and created a Kingdom making up some three quarters of the continent of Shumer. Only the land of Arata to the south fell beyond his sway; joined as they were only by a tenuous mountainous sliver of land in the west. This being effectively impassable they were no doubt protected from his grasp by being 'across the sea'. The difficulties of the chronology are elucidated in the appendices but a tentative date of 3150 bw can be given for the unification. A few remarks only need to be made on the names of the first few kings. Dna, the first has no real personage beyond being the mythic establisher of the kingdom and founder of the first capital Valhina. Of the kings Kallusina, Nangish, Entarah, Babum, Puannum and Kalibum there is no other record than the occurrence of their names in the list in the tomb of Meshki the first king of the Second Dynasty of Valhina. The seventh king Kalumun has the singular honour of being mentioned in four sources and in one he is placed at the head of a series of kings as if he had been a 'lugal' of uncommon importance. But nothing is recorded of him to justify or account for his being held in peculiar honour.
The next king with the rather common name of Zuqaqip is noted as being the builder of the royal palace in the capital and a writer of anatomical books. Aba was regarded as a writer of religious books and may have catalogued and recorded the original creation myths and formed Kolhinor's cosmology. Under Bal there is said to have been a great plague. In the time of Melem the earth apparently gaped near the town of Namnia and swallowed up a vast number of persons. Melem has the dubious honour of being the first of the kings to attract adverse comment, tradition notes that he was a tyrant with scant interest in the well being of his people and his son so much advanced the programme of his father that he was assassinated by his brother the high priest; who usurped his crown and reigned peacefully for 34 years. However another tradition declares that the assassination was not fratricide and having ascended the throne his brother avenged his death in the following extraordinary manner – Having constructed a spacious underground chamber, under the pretence of inaugurating it, he invited to a banquet there those whom he knew to have had the chief share in his brothers murder, and, when they were feasting, suddenly let the river in upon them by means of a secret duct of large size. It is however difficult to imagine that any sovereign would, under any circumstances, have pursued so roundabout a method of avenging a predecessor. It was also during this period, possibly during the sovereignty of either Aba or Bal that the Eneneru (lit - lords of the deep) arrived in Shumer and settled in, or more properly under, the central mountains of Kholinor. An excellent account of these peoples brief sojourn can be found in Haratan's 'Peoples of the Deep'.
His successor Barsa is the first king of Kolhinor who exhibits a marked warlike tendency. In his second year he made an expedition against the Ilku a tribe supposedly in the South West, who had been exerting control over the peninsular leading to Arata and having reduced them, set up a tablet at Magarah. Not long after he turned his arms to Arata; an enemy he clearly regarded as formidable as he exerted himself to collect and drill an army of unusual size. He sailed this impressive force across the southern sea to Arat; the locality of this campaign is somewhat doubtful. It has been regarded as either Etan or in some portion of Enme; in any event Barsa seems to have attained a certain degree of success and at least half of the Kingdom of Arat seems to have come under his sway. On the death of Barsa, the elder of his two sons became king. Zamug's disposition seems to have been altogether peaceful and at some moment during his reign the territories in Arat that had been taken by his father revolted and returned under the control of that kingdom. There seems to have been no attempt to either prevent this event or recover from it.
There is little known of the last two kings of the First Dynasty, but there seems to have been a decline in the fortunes of Kohlinor, both economic and in the area that was controlled; given that tradition records a dynastic change we may suppose that the issue of Aga were either usurped or he had none. Whatever the circumstances it would appear that Meshki gained a much-lessened throne with a minimum of fuss. The causes of the sudden decline, which accompanied the close of the first dynasty, are obscure. An invasion by some foreign people has been suggested, but Arentar has observed with some justification that it is difficult to believe in a conquest of which there is no historical record and no archaeological trace. Certainly the first two kings of the succeeding dynasty had to re-establish control and order but as Delutag notes; “it would be rash to assert that the sudden eclipse which shows itself in the fortunes of Kolhinor during the end of the first dynasty had not solely for its cause one of those inexplicable crises of weakness, wherewith the life of nations, like that of individuals, is sometimes crossed”. It would seem to be best to acquiesce, for the present at any rate, in this view and to suppose that the great burst of energy, which commencing with Barsa terminated, perhaps a century later, after a short period of exhaustion and enfeeblement.
The Beginnings of Glory
The 'second Kolhinor civilisation' , as it has been called, differed in many respects from the first. The first was egoist, self-seeking, stately, cold and cruel. The second was utilitarian, beneficent, appealing less to eye than to the mind, but judicious, far-sighted in its aims, and most successful in the results which it effected.
As well as war, there was the encouragement of trade and commerce, the establishment and improvement of commercial routes, the digging of wells, the formation of reservoirs, the protection of roads by royal troops, the building of ships, the exploration of hitherto unknown seas – such were the special objects the monarchs of the second dynasty set before them, such the lines of activity into which they threw their own energies and the practical ability of the people. No longer aiming like the old kings, at leaving undying memorials of themselves in the shape of grand stone monuments, but content with rude coffins and simple sepulchres, sometime not even in stone, they were enabled to employ the labour of their subjects in productive pursuits, and to increase largely the general prosperity of the country by adding to the agricultural wealth of Kolhinor the luxuries and conveniences which an extensive commerce is sure to introduce.
The full development of the new ideal was reserved for the dynasty that succeeded them and is specially to be traced in the great works of utility connected with the lakes in the east and the harnessing of the power of water for the greater convenience of the people. The doings of the these two dynasties will be the noble subject of the next volume.