Who Was The First King In The World?

By Antonia Čirjak on March 11 2020 in Answer

The mystery of the first king in the world is one that has been troubling historians for ages now.
  • Historians believe that there is no real answer to the question of who the first king in the world was.
  • Alulim is often considered to be the first ruler, due to his name being mentioned as a king in the Sumerian myth.
  • Sargon of Akkad was the first person that ruled over an empire.

The mystery of the first king in the world is one that has been troubling historians for ages now. To put it simply, there is still no definite claim on who the first king on our planet was. When dealing with these ancient writings, it is impossible to completely separate facts from fiction, since many texts and inscriptions present these rulers as larger than life figures that are more akin to deities than normal humans.

We know that male rulers have ruled throughout the larger part of human history. They wielded incredible power, and almost everyone knows about Tutankhamun or Genghis Khan. However, the first king ever remains unknown.

A Question Without An Answer

This does not mean we cannot try to provide some answers to this question, at least. The answers may not be definite, but can at least give some insight into a few possible options. It is not hard to imagine how writings of something that happened thousands of years ago could be lost to the dust of history. Some historians believe this to be an unanswerable question that could not have survived time. 

The largest obstacle to finding out the answer to this question is the fact that there are no records in existence that speak of kings that lived 5,000 years ago. Another problem is that we cannot be sure which ancient words exactly refer to people in a way we relate to kings today. Some words came into use much later. One example is the word pharaoh, which only started seeing use around 1570 B.C.E. Despite all this, we can find at least some clues in the Sumerian king list, among other sources. Two names deserve mention, Alulim, and Sargon of Akkad.

Alulim

Alulim was an antediluvian ruler in the Sumerian myth. His reign is not considered historical but is still relevant enough that it deserves mention. It is the first known mention of a ruler, however vague it may be. The mention of rulers in these texts is mostly mythical, and it is hard to determine how long they have ruled since the Sumerians used different numerical units than we do today.

Alulim is mentioned as the first king of Eridu and Sumer, according to the Sumerian King List. He was appointed ruler right after the god Enki brought civilization to Sumer. He is mentioned as having descended from heaven and ruled in Eridu, the earliest city in Mesopotamia. Most modern scholars draw parallels between Alulim and the biblical Adam and consider him fictional.

Sargon Of Akkad

Alulim’s existence may not have been proven, but historians recognize Sargon of Akkad as the first person that ruled over an empire. He was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire and is most famous for his conquests of the Sumerian states. He lived during the 24th and 23rd centuries BC and was the founder of the Sargonic dynasty. This dynasty ruled for an entire century after he died.

It is believed that his empire included almost the entirety of Mesopotamia and parts of the Levant. Sargon is believed to have ruled from his capital named Akkad; however, the exact archaeological whereabouts of this city are still unknown. He is considered to have been a legendary figure, appearing in many works of literature.

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