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Uruk (Sumerian Unug and in the Bible known as Erech), was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates, on the line of the ancient Nil canal, in a region of marshes, about 140 miles SSE from Bagdad.

It was one of the oldest and most important cities of Babylonia, and the site of a famous temple, called E-Anna, dedicated to the worship of Nana, or Ishtar. Uruk played a very important part in the political history of the country from an early time, exercising hegemony in Babylonia at a period before the time of Sargon. Later it was prominent in the national struggles of the Babylonians against the Elamite Empire up to 2000 BC, in which it suffered severely; recollections of these conflicts are embodied in the Gilgamesh epic as it has come down to us.

According to the Sumerian king list, Uruk was founded by Enmerkar, who brought the official kingship with him from the city of E-ana. His father Mec-ki-aj-gacer had "entered the sea and disappeared".

External links and references

For J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional creature, see Uruk-hai.