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Definition of NIPPUR
ancient city of Sumer SSE of Babylon
Female figure, made of gypsum, with a gold mask that stood at a temple altar in Nippur, c. —Courtesy of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad; photograph, David Lees
Ancient Mesopotamian city southeast of Babylon. Located in what is now southeastern Iraq, it was originally on the Euphrates River, whose course later changed. By 2500 BC it was the centre of worship of the Sumerian storm god Enlil (seeSumer). Parthian construction (seeParthia) later buried Enlil's sanctuary, and the city fell into decay in the 3rd century AD. It was abandoned in the 12th or 13th century. Excavations have revealed temples, a ziggurat, and thousands of clay tablets that are a primary source of information on ancient Sumerian civilization. Also uncovered were an Akkadian tomb (seeAkkad) and a large temple devoted to the Mesopotamian goddess of healing.