Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Sha, ri and kin

Posted by Fredsvenn on April 23, 2017


Šarruma or Sharruma was a Hurrian mountain god, who was also worshipped by the Hittites and Luwians. The original source and meaning of the name is unknown.

In Hittite and Hurrian texts, his name was linked with the Akkadian šarri (“King”) and could be written with the Sumerogram for King, LUGAL-ma. In Hieroglyphic Luwian, his name was written with a pair of walking legs, which is trancribed as SARMA.

Shah (“king”) is a title given to the emperors, kings, princes and lords of Iran (historically also known as Persia). The full, Old Persian title of the Achaemenid rulers of the First Persian Empire was Xšāyathiya Xšāyathiyānām or Šāhe Šāhān, “King of Kings” or “Emperor”.

The word descends from Old Persian xšāyaθiya “king”, which (for reasons of historical phonology) must be a borrowing from Median, and is derived from the same root as Avestan xšaϑra-, “power” and “command”, corresponding to Sanskrit (Old Indic) kṣatra- (same meaning), from which kṣatriya-, “warrior”, is derived.

Tsar, also spelled tzar, csar, or czar, is a title used to designate certain Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism.

The term is derived from the Latin word Caesar, which was intended to mean “Emperor” in the European medieval sense of the term – a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official (the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch) – but was usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.

Sargon of Akkad (Akkadian Šarru-ukīn or Šarru-kēn; sometimes known as “Sargon the Great”) was the first ruler of the Semitic-speaking Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.

The Akkadian name is normalized as either Šarru-ukīn or Šarru-kēn. The name’s cuneiform spelling is variously LUGAL-ú-kin, šar-ru-gen, šar-ru-ki-in, šar-ru-um-ki-in.

In Late Assyrian references, the name is mostly spelled as LUGAL-GI.NA or LUGAL-GIN, i.e. identical to the name of the Neo-Assyrian king Sargon II. The spelling Sargon is derived from the single mention of the name in the Hebrew Bible, as סַרְגוֹן, in Isaiah 20:1 (the reference is to Sargon II).

The first element in the name is šarru, the Akkadian (East Semitic) for “king”ַׂ. The second element derived from the root kūnּּ “to confirm, establish”.

A possible interpretation of the reading Šarru-ukīn is “the king has established stability”, or alternatively “he [the god] has established the king”. Such a name would however be unusual; other names in -ukīn always include both a subject and an object, as in Šamaš-šuma-ukīn “Shamash has established an heir”.

There is some debate over whether the name was an adopted regnal name or a birth name. The reading Šarru-kēn has been interpreted adjectivally, as “the king is established; legitimate”, expanded as a phrase šarrum ki(e)num.

In the Akkadian epic Enuma Elish, Kishar is the daughter of Lahmu and Lahamu, the first children of Tiamat and Abzu. She is the female principle, sister and wife of Anshar, the male principle, and the mother of Anu.

Kishar may represent the earth as a counterpart to Anshar, the sky, and can be seen as an earth mother goddess. Her name also means “Whole Earth”. They, in turn, are the parents of Anu, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons.

Lugal is the Sumerian term for “king, ruler”. In its transliteration would be “LU” meaning “Man” and “GAL” meaning “Big”, “Giant”, or of “big stature”. It share the same root with Semitic words like “GALIT” (popularly knows as Goliath).

Lugal is used extensively in the Amarna letters, for addressing the kings or pharaohs, and elsewhere in speaking about the various kings. One common address, in the introduction of many letters, from the vassals writing to the pharaoh was to use: Šàr-ri, (for šarrum); they used Lugal + ri = Šàr-ri, (i.e. Pharaoh, or King of, Ancient Egypt).


Ri (cuneiform) is one of the more commonly used hieroglyphs, in many cases for the use of the “r”. The cuneiform Ri sign, or Re, is found in both the 14th century BC Amarna letters and the Epic of Gilgamesh; it is in the top 25 most used cuneiform signs for ri, or re, but has other syllabic or alphabetic uses, as well as the sumerogram usage for RI (Epic of Gilgamesh).

In the Amarna letters, ri also has a special usage when coupled with the naming of the Pharaoh, as “LUGAL-Ri”. Lugal is the sumerogram translated in the Akkadian language to ‘King’, Sarru.

Thus in the Amarna letters, Lugal is used as a stand-alone, but sometimes supplemented with Ri, and specifically used as sumerogram SÀR (an equivalent sumerogram to mean LUGAL) to be combined with RI to make sarru for king. ‘The King, as an appellation is sometimes created by adding ma (cuneiform), suffix to the end of a name (Lugal-ma.

Rí, or very commonly ríg (genitive), is an ancient Gaelic word meaning “king”. It is used in historical texts referring to the Irish and Scottish kings, and those of similar rank. While the Modern Irish word is exactly the same, in modern Scottish Gaelic it is rìgh, apparently derived from the genitive. Cognates include Gaulish Rix, Latin rex/regis, Sanskrit raja, and German Reich.

Rígsþula or Rígsmál (“Lay of Ríg”) is an Eddic poem in which a Norse god named Ríg or Rígr, described as “old and wise, mighty and strong”, fathers the classes of mankind. The prose introduction states that Rígr is another name for Heimdall, who is also called the father of mankind in Völuspá.

In Rígsþula, Rig wanders through the world and fathers the progenitors of the three classes of human beings as conceived by the poet. The youngest of these sons inherits the name or title “Ríg” and so in turn does his youngest son, Kon the Young or Kon ungr (Old Norse: konungr, king).

This third Ríg was the first true king and the ultimate founder of the state of royalty as appears in the Rígsþula and in two other associated works. In all three sources he is connected with two primordial Danish rulers named Dan and Danþír.

The poem Rígsþula is preserved incomplete on the last surviving sheet in the 14th-century Codex Wormianus, following Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. A short prose introduction explains that the god in question was Heimdall, who wandered along the seashore until he came to a farm where he called himself Ríg.

The name Rígr appears to be the oblique case of Old Irish rí, ríg “king”, cognate to Latin rex, Sanskrit rajan, and Gothic reiks.

Raja (also spelled Rajah, from Sanskrit राजन् rājan-), is a title for a Monarch or princely ruler in South and Southeast Asia. The female form Rani (sometimes spelled ranee) applies equally to the wife of a Raja (or of an equivalent style such as Rana), usually as queen consort and occasionally as regent.

The title has a long history in the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia, being attested from the Rigveda, where a rājan- is a ruler, see for example the dāśarājñá, the “battle of ten kings”.

Sanskrit rājan- is cognate to Latin rēx (genitive rēgis) ‘King’ (as in pre-republican Rome), Gaulish rīx, Gaelic rí (genitive ríg), etc., originally denoting heads of petty kingdoms and city states.

It is believed to be ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European *hrēǵs, a vrddhi formation to the root *hreǵ- “to straighten, to order, to rule”.

The Sanskrit n-stem is secondary in the male title, apparently adapted from the female counterpart rājñī which also has an -n- suffix in related languages, compare Old Irish rígain and Latin regina.

Cognates of the word Raja in other Indo-European languages include English reign and German reich.

Reich is a German word literally meaning “realm”. The terms Kaiserreich (literally “realm of an emperor”) and Königreich (literally “realm of a king”) are used in German to refer to empires and kingdoms respectively.

The Latin equivalent of Reich is imperium or rather with a king regnum. Both terms translate to “rule, sovereignty, government”, usually of monarchs (kings or emperors), but also of gods, and of the Christian God.

The German version of the Lord’s Prayer uses the words Dein Reich komme for “ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου” (usually translated as “thy kingdom come” in English). Himmelreich is the German term for the concept of “kingdom of heaven”.

The German noun Reich is derived from Old High German rīhhi, which together with its cognates in Old English rīce Old Norse rîki (modern Scandinavian rike/rige) and Gothic reiki is from a Common Germanic *rīkijan. The English noun is extinct, but persists in composition, in bishopric.

The German adjective reich, on the other hand, has an exact cognate in English rich. Both the noun (*rīkijan) and the adjective (*rīkijaz) are derivations based on a Common Germanic *rīks “ruler, king”, reflected in Gothic as reiks, glossing ἄρχων “leader, ruler, chieftain”.

It is probable that the Germanic word was not inherited from pre-Proto-Germanic, but rather loaned from Celtic (i.e. Gaulish rīx) at an early time.

The word has many cognates outside of Germanic and Celtic, notably Latin rex and Sanskrit raja “king”. It is ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European root *reg-, meaning “to straighten out or rule”.



The English term king is derived from the Anglo-Saxon cyning, which in turn is derived from the Common Germanic *kuningaz. The Common Germanic term was borrowed into Estonian and Finnish at an early time, surviving in these languages as kuningas.

The English term “king” translates, and is considered equivalent to, Latin rēx and its equivalents in the various European languages. The Germanic term is notably different from the word for “king” in other Indo-European languages (*rēks “ruler”; Latin rēx, Sanskrit rājan and Irish ríg, but see Gothic reiks and, e.g., modern German Reich and modern Dutch rijk).

It is a derivation from the term *kunjom “kin” (Old English cynn) by the -inga- suffix. The literal meaning is that of a “scion of the [noble] kin”, or perhaps “son or descendant of one of noble birth” (OED).

Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning “unskilled laborer,” was a god in Babylonian mythology, and — after the murder of his father Abzu — the consort of the goddess Tiamat, his mother, who wanted to establish him as ruler and leader of all gods before she was killed by Marduk.

Tiamat gave Kingu the 3 Tablets of Destiny, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power. She placed him as the general of her army. However, like Tiamat, Kingu was eventually killed by Marduk.

Marduk mixed Kingu’s blood with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings, while Tiamat’s body created the earth and the skies. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.

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