Skip to content

Stele of the Vultures

The Stele of the Vultures commemorates the victory of Eannatum, king of Lagash, over the people of Umma.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks states in Deuteronomy: Renewal of the Sinai Covenant, Covenant & Conversation on page 11.

“What kind of book is Deuteronomy and what is its significance to the Torah as a whole?

A number of archaeological discoveries have thrown new light on these questions. They are the engraved records of ancient treaties between neighbouring powers. among them are the “Stele of the Vultures”… and the stele of Naram-Sin….

Both date from the third millennium BCE, that is to say, before the time of Abraham.”

Stele of the Vultures Stats

Material: Limestone
Size Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Width: 1.30 metres (4 ft 3 in)
Thickness: 0.11 metres (4.3 in)
Writing: Sumerian cuneiform
Created: Early Dynastic III period (2600-2350 BC)
Discovered: Tello, Iraq

The Stele of the Vultures
The Stele of the Vultures – Louvre Museum, Dept of Near East Antiquities

The stele is not complete. Currently, there are only ten known fragments. On one side of the monument is the story of the battle. The other side contains religious text. This stele, according to Rabbi Sacks, is an ancient treaty. The formatting of this treaty can be seen in the format in Deuteronomy – see the Deuteronomy Introduction for the formatting.


“A long inscription in the Sumerian language tells of the recurrent conflict between the neighboring city-states of Lagash and Umma and of the victory of Eannatum, king of Lagash. His triumph is depicted in a wealth of detail in the remarkable reliefs covering the two faces of the stele.” – Louvre Museum, Dept of Near East Antiquities

Slideshow of Stele of the Vultures

This slideshow provides five photos of several of the pieces that we do have.

Stele of the Vultures Videos

Histroy with Cy provides some interesting details about the wars among the Sumerian city-states.

Exploring Art with Alessandro Channel provides some information from an artist point of view

Peter Beal Channel also provides information from an artist point of view

Links on WSB:

Deuteronomy (Devarim) Introduction

Deuteronomy 1 – English Text for Deuteronomy 1

Stele of Naram Sin – The oldest stele of an ancient treaty.

Additional Links:

Blog post on the Stele of the Vultures – Josho Brouwers’ site discuss ancient warfare.

Images of the Stele of Vultures – Bing Search

Wikipedia Article on the stele

Sallaberger, Walther; Schrakamp, Ingo (2015). History & Philology (PDF). Walther Sallaberger & Ingo Schrakamp (eds), Brepols. p. 74-75. ISBN 978-2-503-53494-7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.