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Lugalbanda is a character found in Sumerian mythology and
literature. His name is composed of two Sumerian words meaning
"young king" (lugal: king; banda: young, junior; small). Lugalbanda
is listed in the postdiluvian period of the Sumerian king list as
the second king of Uruk, saying he ruled for 1,200 years, and
providing him with the epithet of the Shepherd. Whether a king
Lugalbanda ever historically ruled over Uruk, and if so, at what
time, is quite uncertain. Attempts to date him in the ED II period
are based on an amalgamation of data from the epic traditions of
the 2nd Millennium with unclear archaeological observations.
Lugalbanda prominently features as the hero of two Sumerian stories
dated to the Ur III period (21st century BCE), called by scholars
Lugalbanda I (or Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave) and Lugalbanda II
(or Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird). Both are known only in later
versions, although there is an Ur III fragment that is quite
different than either 18th century version 5] These tales are part
of a series of stories that describe the conflicts between
Enmerkar, king of Unug (Uruk), and Ensuhkeshdanna, lord of Aratta,
presumably in the Iranian highlands.
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