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The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
after the long-lived civilization of
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native (local, noble) lor ...

Sumer
. It was centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region. The empire united
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
(Assyrian and Babylonian) and
Sumerian
Sumerian
speakers under one rule. The Akkadian Empire exercised influence across Mesopotamia, the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, and
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, sending military expeditions as far south as
Dilmun Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on contextual evidence, it was loc ...
and Magan (modern
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fâr ...

Bahrain
and
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
) in the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
.Mish, Frederick C., Editor in Chief. "Akkad" ''Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary''. ninth ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster 1985. ). During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread
bilingualism in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the la ...
. Akkadian, an East Semitic language, gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language sometime between the end of the 3rd and the early 2nd millennia BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate). The Akkadian Empire reached its political peak between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests by its founder
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. ...

Sargon of Akkad
. Under Sargon and his successors, the Akkadian language was briefly imposed on neighboring conquered states such as
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
and
Gutium The Guti () or Quti, also known by the derived exonyms Gutians or Guteans, were a nomadic people of West Asia, around the Zagros Mountains (Modern Iran) during ancient times. Their homeland was known as Gutium (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ,''Gu-t ...
. Akkad is sometimes regarded as the first empire in history, though the meaning of this term is not precise, and there are earlier Sumerian claimants. After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, the people of Mesopotamia eventually coalesced into two major Akkadian-speaking nations:
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE (in the form of the city-state) until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE; thereby spanning ...

Assyria
in the north, and, a few centuries later,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
in the south.


History of research

The Bible refers to Akkad in Genesis 10:10–12, which states: :"The beginning of his imrod'skingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city)." Nimrod's historical identity is unknown or debated, but Nimrod has been identified as Sargon of Akkad by some, and others have compared him with the legendary
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, 𒀭𒄑𒉋𒂵𒈨𒌋𒌋𒌋, translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, 𒀭𒉋𒂵𒈩, translit=Bilgames or ''Pabilga-mes'')). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ...

Gilgamesh
, founder of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
. Today, scholars have documented some 7,000 texts from the Akkadian period, written in both
Sumerian
Sumerian
and
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
. Many later texts from the successor states of
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE (in the form of the city-state) until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE; thereby spanning ...

Assyria
and
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
also deal with the Akkadian Empire. Understanding of the Akkadian Empire continues to be hampered by the fact that its capital Akkad has not yet been located, despite numerous attempts. Precise dating of
archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also kn ...

archaeological site
s is hindered by the fact that there are no clear distinctions between artifact assemblages thought to stem from the preceding Early Dynastic period, and those thought to be Akkadian. Likewise, material that is thought to be Akkadian continues to be in use into the
Ur III period The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 179 ...
. Many of the more recent insights on the Akkadian Empire have come from excavations in the Upper Khabur area in modern northeastern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
which was to become a part of Assyria after the fall of Akkad. For example, excavations at
Tell Mozan Urkesh or Urkish (modern Tell Mozan; ar, تل موزان) is a tell, or settlement mound, located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains The Taurus Mountains ( Turkish: ''Toros Dağları''), are a mountain complex in southern Turkey ...
(ancient Urkesh) brought to light a sealing of Tar'am-Agade, a previously unknown daughter of Naram-Sin, who was possibly married to an unidentified local ''endan'' (ruler). The excavators at nearby
Tell Leilan Tell Leilan is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human ...

Tell Leilan
(ancient Shekhna/Shubat-Enlil) have used the results from their investigations to argue that the Akkadian Empire came to an end due to a sudden drought, the so-called 4.2 kiloyear event. The impact of this climate event on Mesopotamia in general, and on the Akkadian Empire in particular, continues to be hotly debated. Excavation at the modern site of
Tell Brak Tell Brak (Nagar, Nawar) was an ancient city in Syria; its remains constitute a tell located in the Upper Khabur region, near the modern village of Tell Brak (village), Tell Brak, 50 kilometers north-east of Al-Hasaka city, Al-Hasakah Gove ...

Tell Brak
has suggested that the Akkadians rebuilt a city ("Brak" or "Nagar") on this site, for use as an administrative center. The city included two large buildings including a complex with temple, offices, courtyard, and large ovens.


Dating and periodization

The Akkadian Period is generally dated to either: (according to the
middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions and texts customarily record events in terms of a succession of officials or rulers: "in the year X of ki ...
timeline of the Ancient Near East), or (according to the
short chronology timeline The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1728–1686 BC and the sack of Babylon to 1531 BC. The absolute 2nd millennium BC dates resulting from these re ...
of the
Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
.) It was preceded by the Early Dynastic Period of Mesopotamia (ED) and succeeded by the
Ur III Period The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 179 ...
, although both transitions are blurry. For example: it is likely that the rise of
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. ...

Sargon of Akkad
coincided with the late ED Period and that the final Akkadian kings ruled simultaneously with the Gutian kings alongside rulers at the city-states of both:
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
and
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowe ...

Lagash
. The Akkadian Period is contemporary with: EB IV (in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
), EB IVA and EJ IV (in Syria), and EB IIIB (in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
.)


Timeline of rulers

The relative order of Akkadian kings is clear. The absolute dates of their reigns are approximate (as with all dates prior to the
late Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
''c.'' 1200 BC).


History and development of the empire


Pre-Sargonic Akkad

The Akkadian Empire takes its name from the
region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental geography). Geographic re ...
and the city of Akkad, both of which were localized in the general confluence area of the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
and
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
Rivers. Although the city of Akkad has not yet been identified on the ground, it is known from various textual sources. Among these is at least one text predating the reign of Sargon. Together with the fact that the name Akkad is of non-
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
origin, this suggests that the city of Akkad may have already been occupied in pre-Sargonic times.


Sargon of Akkad

Sargon of Akkad defeated and captured
Lugal-zage-si Lugal-Zage-Si ( ; frequently spelled ''Lugalzaggesi'', sometimes ''Lugalzagesi'' or "Lugal-Zaggisi") of Umma 260px, Location of the city of Umma in Sumer Umma ( sux, ; modern ''Umm al-Aqarib'', Dhi Qar Province in Iraq, formerly also ca ...
in the Battle of Uruk and conquered his empire. The earliest records in the Akkadian language date to the time of Sargon. Sargon was claimed to be the son of La'ibum or Itti-Bel, a humble gardener, and possibly a hierodule, or priestess to
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
or
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
. One legend related to Sargon in Assyrian times says that Later claims made on behalf of Sargon were that his mother was an "entu" priestess (high priestess). The claims might have been made to ensure a pedigree of nobility, since only a highly placed family could achieve such a position. Originally a
cupbearer A cup-bearer was historically an officer of high rank in royal courts, whose duty was to pour and serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues (such as poisoning), a person must have been regarded as t ...
(
RabshakehRabshakeh (alternative spellings include Rab-shakeh (Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''Rabshaqe''; ; grc, Ραψακης ''Rapsakēs''), Rabsaces ( la, Rabsaces; aii, ܪܵܒܫܵܩܹܐ) or Rab shaqe) is a title meaning "chief of the princes" in the Sem ...
) to a king of Kish with a
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
name,
Ur-Zababa Ur-Zababa is listed on the ''Sumerian King List'' as the second king of the 4th Dynasty of Kish (Sumer), Kish. This text also records that Ur-Zababa had appointed Sargon of Akkad as his cup-bearer. Sargon was later the ruler of the Akkadian Empir ...
, Sargon thus became a gardener, responsible for the task of clearing out irrigation canals. The royal cupbearer at this time was in fact a prominent political position, close to the king and with various high level responsibilities not suggested by the title of the position itself. This gave him access to a disciplined corps of workers, who also may have served as his first soldiers. Displacing Ur-Zababa, Sargon was crowned king, and he entered upon a career of foreign conquest. Four times he invaded
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
and
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, and he spent three years thoroughly subduing the countries of "the west" to unite them with Mesopotamia "into a single empire". However, Sargon took this process further, conquering many of the surrounding regions to create an empire that reached westward as far as the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
and perhaps
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
(''Kaptara''); northward as far as the mountains (a later
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...
text asserts he fought the Hattian king Nurdaggal of Burushanda, well into
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
); eastward over
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
; and as far south as Magan (
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
) — a region over which he reigned for purportedly 56 years, though only four "year-names" survive. He consolidated his dominion over his territories by replacing the earlier opposing rulers with noble citizens of Akkad, his native city where loyalty would thus be ensured. Trade extended from the
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

silver
mines of Anatolia to the
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism up ...

lapis lazuli
mines in modern
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
, the
cedars Cedars may refer to: * Cedar (plant), including a list of trees and plants known as cedar * Cedars (album), ''Cedars'' (album), an album released in 2003 by English band Clearlake * Cedars (immigration detention), facility in the UK * Cedars-Sinai ...

cedars
of
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
and the
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
of Magan. This consolidation of the city-states of Sumer and Akkad reflected the growing economic and political power of Mesopotamia. The empire's breadbasket was the rain-fed agricultural system of
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE (in the form of the city-state) until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE; thereby spanning ...

Assyria
and a chain of fortresses was built to control the imperial wheat production. Images of Sargon were erected on the shores of the Mediterranean, in token of his victories, and cities and palaces were built at home with the spoils of the conquered lands. Elam and the northern part of Mesopotamia (
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE (in the form of the city-state) until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE; thereby spanning ...

Assyria
/
Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature Before the spread of writing, oral literature did not always survive ...
) were also subjugated, and rebellions in
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native (local, noble) lor ...

Sumer
were put down. Contract tablets have been found dated in the years of the campaigns against
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
and against Sarlak, king of
Gutium The Guti () or Quti, also known by the derived exonyms Gutians or Guteans, were a nomadic people of West Asia, around the Zagros Mountains (Modern Iran) during ancient times. Their homeland was known as Gutium (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ,''Gu-t ...
. He also boasted of having subjugated the "four-quarters" — the lands surrounding Akkad to the north (Assyria), the south (Sumer), the east (Elam), and the west (). Some of the earliest historiographic texts ( ABC 19, 20) suggest he rebuilt the city of Babylon (''Bab-ilu'') in its new location near Akkad. Sargon, throughout his long life, showed special deference to the Sumerian deities, particularly
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
(
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
), his patroness, and
ZababaZababa (Sumerian: 𒀭𒍝𒂷𒂷 dza-ba4-ba4) (also Zamama) is a war god who was the tutelary deity of the city of Kish (Sumer), Kish in ancient Mesopotamia. He is connected with the god Ninurta, and the symbol of Zababa − the eagle-headed staff ...
, the warrior god of Kish. He called himself "The anointed priest of
Anu , image=File:Cuneiform sumer dingir.svg , caption=Ur III Sumerian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active u ...

Anu
" and "the great'' ensi'' of
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a ...
" and his daughter,
Enheduanna Enheduanna ( Sumerian: , also transliterated as ''Enheduana'', ''En-hedu-ana'', or variants; fl. 23rd century BC) "ca. 2285–2250 B.C.E." is the earliest known poet whose name has been recorded. She was the High Priestess of the goddess Inanna ...

Enheduanna
, was installed as priestess to Nanna at the temple in . Troubles multiplied toward the end of his reign. A later Babylonian text states: It refers to his campaign in "Elam", where he defeated a coalition army led by the King of Awan and forced the vanquished to become his vassals. Also shortly after, another revolt took place:


Rimush and Manishtushu

Sargon had crushed opposition even at old age. These difficulties broke out again in the reign of his sons, where revolts broke out during the nine-year reign of
Rimush Rimush (or Rimuš, 𒌷𒈬𒍑 ''Ri-mu-uš'') was the second king of the Akkadian Empire. He was the son of Sargon of Akkad and Queen Tashlultum. He was succeeded by his brother Manishtushu, and was an uncle of Naram-Sin of Akkad. Sumerian King Li ...
(2278–2270 BC), who fought hard to retain the empire, and was successful until he was assassinated by some of his own courtiers. According to his inscriptions, he faced widespread revolts, and had to reconquer the cities of ,
Umma Umma ( sux, ; in modern in , formerly also called Gishban) was an ancient city in . There is some scholarly debate about the Sumerian and Akkadian names for this site. Traditionally, Umma was identified with Tell Jokha. More recently it h ...
, Adab,
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowe ...

Lagash
, Der, and
KazalluKazalla or Kazallu is the name given in Akkadian sources to a city in the ancient Near East The Near East ( Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu ...
from rebellious ''
ensis ''Ensis'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a s ...
'': Rimush introduced mass slaughter and large scale destruction of the Sumerian city-states, and maintained meticulous records of his destructions. Most of the major Sumerian cities were destroyed, and Sumerian human losses were enormous: Rimush's elder brother,
Manishtushu Manishtushu (𒈠𒀭𒅖𒌅𒋢, ''Ma-an-ish-tu-su'') was the third king of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akk ...
(2269–2255 BC) succeeded him. The latter seems to have fought a sea battle against 32 kings who had gathered against him and took control over their pre-
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
country, consisting of modern-day
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
and
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
. Despite the success, like his brother he seems to have been assassinated in a palace conspiracy.


Naram-Sin

Manishtushu's son and successor, Naram-Sin (2254–2218 BC), due to vast military conquests, assumed the imperial title "King Naram-Sin, king of the four-quarters" (''Lugal Naram-Sîn, Šar kibrat 'arbaim''), the four-quarters as a reference to the entire world. He was also for the first time in Sumerian culture, addressed as "the god (Sumerian = DINGIR, Akkadian = ''ilu'') of Agade" (Akkad), in opposition to the previous religious belief that kings were only representatives of the people towards the gods. He also faced revolts at the start of his reign, but quickly crushed them. Naram-Sin also recorded the Akkadian conquest of
Ebla Ebla (Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native ...

Ebla
as well as Armanum and its king. The location of Armanum is debated: it is sometimes identified with a Syrian kingdom mentioned in the tablets of Ebla as Armi, whose location is also debated; while historian Adelheid Otto identifies it with the Citadel of Bazi at the Tell Banat complex on the Euphrates River between Ebla and
Tell Brak Tell Brak (Nagar, Nawar) was an ancient city in Syria; its remains constitute a tell located in the Upper Khabur region, near the modern village of Tell Brak (village), Tell Brak, 50 kilometers north-east of Al-Hasaka city, Al-Hasakah Gove ...

Tell Brak
, others like Wayne Horowitz identify it with
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
. Further, while most scholars place Armanum in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, Michael C. Astour believes it to be located north of the
Hamrin Mountains The Hamrin Mountains ( ar, جبل حمرين, Jabāl Hamrīn, ku, چیای حەمرین, Çiyayê Hemrîn or Çiyayên Hemrîn) are a small mountain ridge in northeast Iraq. The westernmost ripple of the greater Zagros mountains, the Hamrin mountai ...
in northern Iraq. To better police Syria, he built a royal residence at Tell Brak, a crossroads at the heart of the Khabur River basin of the Jezirah. Naram-Sin campaigned against Magan which also revolted; Naram-Sin "marched against Magan and personally caught Mandannu, its king", where he instated garrisons to protect the main roads. The chief threat seemed to be coming from the northern Zagros Mountains, the Lulubis and the Gutians. A campaign against the
Lullubi Lullubi, Lulubi ( akk, 𒇻𒇻𒉈: ''Lu-lu-bi'', akk, 𒇻𒇻𒉈𒆠: ''Lu-lu-biki'' "Country of the Lullubi"), more commonly known as Lullu, were a group of tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as ''Lulubum'', now the Shar ...

Lullubi
led to the carving of the "Victory Stele of Naram-Suen", now in the
Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Fr ...

Louvre
.
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...

Hittite
sources claim Naram-Sin of Akkad even ventured into
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, battling the Hittite and
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language cal ...
kings Pamba of Hatti, Zipani of Kanesh, and 15 others. The economy was highly planned. Grain was cleaned, and rations of grain and oil were distributed in standardized vessels made by the city's potters. Taxes were paid in produce and labour on public walls, including city walls, temples, irrigation canals and waterways, producing huge agricultural surpluses. This newfound Akkadian wealth may have been based upon benign climatic conditions, huge agricultural surpluses and the confiscation of the wealth of other peoples. In later Assyrian and Babylonian texts, the name ''Akkad'', together with ''Sumer'', appears as part of the royal title, as in the Sumerian
LUGAL Lugal ( Sumerian: ) is the Sumerian term for "king, ruler". Literally, the term means "big man." In Sumerian, ''lu'' "𒇽" is "man" and ''gal'' "𒃲 GAL (Borger 2003 nr. 553; U+120F2 𒃲) is the Sumerian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram ...
KI-EN-GI KI-URI or Akkadian ''Šar māt Šumeri u Akkadi'', translating to "king of Sumer and Akkad". This title was assumed by the king who seized control of
Nippur Nippur (Sumerian: ''Nibru'', often logographically recorded as , EN.LÍLKI, "Enlil City;"The Cambridge Ancient History: Prolegomena & Prehistory': Vol. 1, Part 1. Accessed 15 Dec 2010. AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian l ...
, the intellectual and religious center of southern Mesopotamia. During the Akkadian period, the Akkadian language became the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of the Middle East, and was officially used for administration, although the Sumerian language remained as a spoken and literary language. The spread of Akkadian stretched from Syria to Elam, and even the
Elamite language Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language Extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of ...
was temporarily written in Mesopotamian
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
. Akkadian texts later found their way to far-off places, from
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
(in the
Amarna Period The Amarna Period was an era of History of Ancient Egypt, Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten ('Horizon of the A ...
) and
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, to
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
(
Behistun The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; fa, بیستون, Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the place of god") is a multilingual inscription and large rock relief File:S10.08 Abu Simbel, image 9503.jpg, 320px, Two o ...

Behistun
).


Submission of Sumerian kings

The submission of some Sumerian rulers to the Akkadian Empire, is recorded in the seal inscriptions of Sumerian rulers such as
Lugal-ushumgal File:Sibni, servant of Lugal-ushumgal.jpg, 260px, A seal of "Sibni (𒉺𒇻𒀭𒉌), policeman (𒋼𒇲𒃲, ''gallagal''), servant of Lugal-ushumgal, ensi of Lagash". Lugal-ushumgal (, ''lugal-ušumgal'') was a Sumer, Sumerian ruler (Ensi (S ...
, governor ( ensi) of
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowe ...

Lagash
("Shirpula"), circa 2230-2210 BCE. Several inscriptions of Lugal-ushumgal are known, particularly seal impressions, which refer to him as governor of
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowe ...

Lagash
and at the time a vassal (, ''arad'', "servant" or "slave") of Naram-Sin, as well as his successor
Shar-kali-sharri Shar-Kali-Sharri (𒀭𒊬𒂵𒉌 𒈗𒌷, '' DShar-ka-li-Sharri''; reigned c. 2217–2193 BC middle chronology, c. 2153–2129 BC short chronology The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, ...
. One of these seals proclaims: It can be considered that Lugal-ushumgal was a collaborator of the Akkadian Empire, as was Meskigal, ruler of Adab. Later however, Lugal-ushumgal was succeeded by Puzer-Mama who, as Akkadian power waned, achieved independence from
Shar-Kali-Sharri Shar-Kali-Sharri (𒀭𒊬𒂵𒉌 𒈗𒌷, '' DShar-ka-li-Sharri''; reigned c. 2217–2193 BC middle chronology, c. 2153–2129 BC short chronology The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, ...
, assuming the title of "King of Lagash" and starting the illustrious Second Dynasty of Lagash.


Collapse

The empire of Akkad fell, perhaps in the 22nd century BC, within 180 years of its founding, ushering in a "
Dark Age The "Dark Ages" is a historical periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World ...
" with no prominent imperial authority until the
Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC ( middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to h ...
. The region's political structure may have reverted to the ''status quo ante'' of local governance by
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s.Zettler (2003), pp. 24–25. "Moreover, the Dynasty of Akkade's fall did not lead to social collapse, but the re-emergence of the normative political organization. The southern cities reasserted their independence, and if we know little about the period between the death of Sharkalisharri and the accession of Urnamma, it may be due more to accidents of discovery than because of widespread 'collapse.' The extensive French excavations at Tello produced relevant remains dating right through the period."
Shu-turul Shu-turul (Shu-durul, , ''shu-tur2-ul3'') was the last king of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad (city), Akka ...
appears to have restored some centralized authority; however, he was unable to prevent the empire eventually collapsing outright from the invasion of barbarian peoples from the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, ''Kuh hā-ye Zāgros;'' Luri language, Luri: کویل زاگروس‎, ''Koyal Zagros;'' Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları;'' ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani ...
known as the
Gutians The Guti () or Quti, also known by the derived exonyms Gutians or Guteans, were a nomadic people of West Asia, around the Zagros Mountains (Modern Iran) during ancient times. Their homeland was known as Gutium (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ,''Gu-tu ...
. Little is known about the Gutian period, or how long it endured. Cuneiform sources suggest that the Gutians' administration showed little concern for maintaining agriculture, written records, or public safety; they reputedly released all farm animals to roam about Mesopotamia freely and soon brought about
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual con ...

famine
and rocketing grain prices. The Sumerian king
Ur-Nammu Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: , ruled c. 2112 BC – 2094 BC middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions a ...
(2112–2095 BC) cleared the Gutians from Mesopotamia during his reign. The ''Sumerian King List'', describing the Akkadian Empire after the death of Shar-kali-shari, states: However, there are no known year-names or other archaeological evidence verifying any of these later kings of Akkad or Uruk, apart from several artefact referencing king
Dudu of Akkad Dudu may refer to: Places *Dudu, Hormozgan Dudu ( fa, دودو, also Romanized as Dūdū, Dodoo, and Dūdow) is a village in Band-e Zarak Rural District, in the Central District (Minab County), Central District of Minab County, Hormozgan Province, ...
and
Shu-turul Shu-turul (Shu-durul, , ''shu-tur2-ul3'') was the last king of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad (city), Akka ...
. The named kings of Uruk may have been contemporaries of the last kings of Akkad, but in any event could not have been very prominent. The period between BC and 2004 BC is known as the Ur III period. Documents again began to be written in , although Sumerian was becoming a purely literary or liturgical language, much as Latin later would be in
Medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

Medieval
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
. Georges Roux (1996), ''Ancient Iraq'' (3rd Edition)(Penguin Harmondsworth) One explanation for the end of the Akkadian empire is simply that the Akkadian dynasty could not maintain its political supremacy over other independently powerful city-states.


Drought

One theory associates regional decline at the end of the Akkadian period (and of the First Intermediary Period following the Old Kingdom in Ancient Egypt) with rapidly increasing aridity, and failing rainfall in the region of the Ancient Near East, caused by a global centennial-scale drought. Harvey Weiss has shown that Peter B. deMenocal has shown "there was an influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on the streamflow of the Tigris and Euphrates at this time, which led to the collapse of the Akkadian Empire". More recent analysis of simulations from the HadCM3 climate model indicate that there was a shift to a more arid climate on a timescale that is consistent with the collapse of the empire. Excavation at
Tell Leilan Tell Leilan is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human ...

Tell Leilan
suggests that this site was abandoned soon after the city's massive walls were constructed, its temple rebuilt and its grain production reorganized. The debris, dust, and sand that followed show no trace of human activity. Soil samples show fine wind-blown sand, no trace of earthworm activity, reduced rainfall and indications of a drier and windier climate. Evidence shows that skeleton-thin sheep and cattle died of drought, and up to 28,000 people abandoned the site, presumably seeking wetter areas elsewhere. Tell Brak shrank in size by 75%. Trade collapsed. Nomadic herders such as the Amorites moved herds closer to reliable water suppliers, bringing them into conflict with Akkadian populations. This climate-induced collapse seems to have affected the whole of the Middle East, and to have coincided with the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. This collapse of rain-fed agriculture in the Upper Country meant the loss to southern Mesopotamia of the agrarian subsidies which had kept the Akkadian Empire solvent. Water levels within the Tigris and Euphrates fell 1.5 meters beneath the level of 2600 BC, and although they stabilized for a time during the following Ur III period, rivalries between pastoralists and farmers increased. Attempts were undertaken to prevent the former from herding their flocks in agricultural lands, such as the building of a wall known as the "Repeller of the Amorites" between the Tigris and Euphrates under the Ur III ruler Shu-Suen, Shu-Sin. Such attempts led to increased political instability; meanwhile, severe depression occurred to re-establish Demography, demographic equilibrium with the less favorable climatic conditions. Richard L. Zettler, Richard Zettler has critiqued the drought theory, observing that the chronology of the Akkadian empire is very uncertain and that available evidence is not sufficient to show its economic dependence on the northern areas excavated by Weiss and others. He also criticizes Weiss for taking Akkadian writings literally to describe certain catastrophic events. According to Joan Oates, at Tell Brak, the soil "signal" associated with the drought lies below the level of Naram-Sin's palace. However, evidence
may suggest a tightening of Akkadian control following the Brak 'event', for example, the construction of the heavily fortified 'palace' itself and the apparent introduction of greater numbers of Akkadian as opposed to local officials, perhaps a reflection of unrest in the countryside of the type that often follows some natural catastrophe.
Furthermore, Brak remained occupied and functional after the fall of the Akkadians. In 2019, a study by Hokkaido University on fossil corals in
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
provides an evidence that prolonged winter Shamal (wind), shamal seasons led to the Soil salinity, salinization of the irrigated fields; hence, a dramatic decrease in crop production triggered a widespread famine and eventually the collapse of the ancient Akkadian Empire.


Government

The Akkadian government formed a "classical standard" with which all future Mesopotamian states compared themselves. Traditionally, the ''ensi'' was the highest functionary of the Sumerian
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s. In later traditions, one became an ''ensi'' by marrying the goddess Inanna, legitimising the rulership through divine consent. Initially, the monarchical ''lugal'' (''lu'' = man, ''gal'' =Great) was subordinate to the priestly ''ensi'', and was appointed at times of troubles, but by later dynastic times, it was the ''lugal'' who had emerged as the preeminent role, having his own ''"é"'' (= house) or "palace", independent from the temple establishment. By the time of Mesalim, whichever dynasty controlled the city of Kish was recognised as ''šar kiššati'' (= king of Kish), and was considered preeminent in Sumer, possibly because this was where the two rivers approached, and whoever controlled Kish ultimately controlled the irrigation systems of the other cities downstream. As Sargon extended his conquest from the "Lower Sea" (Persian Gulf), to the "Upper Sea" (Mediterranean), it was felt that he ruled "the totality of the lands under heaven", or "from sunrise to sunset", as contemporary texts put it. Under Sargon, the ''ensi''s generally retained their positions, but were seen more as provincial governors. The title ''šar kiššati'' became recognised as meaning "lord of the universe". Sargon is even recorded as having organised naval expeditions to
Dilmun Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on contextual evidence, it was loc ...
(
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fâr ...

Bahrain
) and Magan, amongst the first organised military naval expeditions in history. Whether he also did in the case of the Mediterranean with the kingdom of Keftiu, Kaptara (possibly
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
), as claimed in later documents, is more questionable. With Naram-Sin, Sargon's grandson, this went further than with Sargon, with the king not only being called "Lord of the Four-Quarters (of the Earth)", but also elevated to the ranks of the ''dingir'' (= gods), with his own temple establishment. Previously a ruler could, like
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, 𒀭𒄑𒉋𒂵𒈨𒌋𒌋𒌋, translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, 𒀭𒉋𒂵𒈩, translit=Bilgames or ''Pabilga-mes'')). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ...

Gilgamesh
, become divine after death but the Akkadian kings, from Naram-Sin onward, were considered gods on earth in their lifetimes. Their portraits showed them of larger size than mere mortals and at some distance from their retainers. One strategy adopted by both Sargon and Naram-Sin, to maintain control of the country, was to install their daughters, Enheduanna and Emmenanna respectively, as high priestess to Sin, the Akkadian version of the Sumerian moon deity, Nanna, at Ur, in the extreme south of Sumer; to install sons as provincial ''ensi'' governors in strategic locations; and to marry their daughters to rulers of peripheral parts of the Empire (Urkesh and Marhashe). A well documented case of the latter is that of Naram-Sin's daughter Tar'am-Agade at Urkesh. Records at the Brak administrative complex suggest that the Akkadians appointed locals as tax collectors.


Economy

The population of Akkad, like nearly all pre-modern states, was entirely dependent upon the agricultural systems of the region, which seem to have had two principal centres: the irrigated farmlands of southern Iraq that traditionally had a yield of 30 grains returned for each grain sown and the rain-fed agriculture of northern Iraq, known as the "Upper Country." Southern Iraq during Akkadian period seems to have been approaching its modern rainfall level of less than per year, with the result that agriculture was totally dependent upon irrigation. Before the Akkadian period, the progressive soil salinity, salinisation of the soils, produced by poorly drained irrigation, had been reducing yields of wheat in the southern part of the country, leading to the conversion to more salt-tolerant barley growing. Urban populations there had peaked already by 2,600 BC, and demography, demographic pressures were high, contributing to the rise of militarism apparent immediately before the Akkadian period (as seen in the Stele of the Vultures of Eannatum). Warfare between city states had led to a population decline, from which Akkad provided a temporary respite. It was this high degree of agricultural productivity in the south that enabled the growth of the highest population densities in the world at this time, giving Akkad its military advantage. The water table in this region was very high and replenished regularly—by winter storms in the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates from October to March and from snow-melt from March to July. Flood levels, that had been stable from about 3,000 to 2,600 BC, had started falling, and by the Akkadian period were a half-meter to a meter lower than recorded previously. Even so, the flat country and weather uncertainties made flooding much more unpredictable than in the case of the Nile; serious deluges seem to have been a regular occurrence, requiring constant maintenance of irrigation ditches and drainage systems. Farmers were recruited into regiments for this work from August to October—a period of food shortage—under the control of city temple authorities, thus acting as a form of unemployment relief. Gwendolyn Leick has suggested that this was Sargon's original employment for the king of Kish, giving him experience in effectively organising large groups of men; a tablet reads, "Sargon, the king, to whom Enlil permitted no rival—5,400 warriors ate bread daily before him". Harvest was in the late spring and during the dry summer months. Nomadic Amorites from the northwest would pasture their flocks of sheep and goats to graze on the crop residue and be watered from the river and irrigation canals. For this privilege, they would have to pay a tax in wool, meat, milk, and cheese to the temples, who would distribute these products to the bureaucracy and priesthood. In good years, all would go well, but in bad years, wild winter pastures would be in short supply, nomads would seek to pasture their flocks in the grain fields, and conflicts with farmers would result. It would appear that the subsidizing of southern populations by the import of wheat from the north of the Empire temporarily overcame this problem, and it seems to have allowed economic recovery and a growing population within this region.


Foreign trade

As a result, Sumer and Akkad had a surplus of agricultural products but was short of almost everything else, particularly metal ores, timber and building stone, all of which had to be imported. The spread of the Akkadian state as far as the "silver mountain" (possibly the Taurus Mountains), the "cedars" of Lebanon, and the copper deposits of Magan, was largely motivated by the goal of securing control over these imports. One tablet reads: International trade developed during the Akkadian period. Indus-Mesopotamia relations also seem to have expanded:
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. ...

Sargon of Akkad
(circa 2300 or 2250 BC), was the first Mesopotamian ruler to make an explicit reference to the region of Meluhha, which is generally understood as being the Baluchistan or the Indus area.


Culture


Akkadian art

In art, there was a great emphasis on the kings of the dynasty, alongside much that continued earlier Sumerian art. Little architecture remains. In large works and small ones such as seals, the degree of realism was considerably increased, but the seals show a "grim world of cruel conflict, of danger and uncertainty, a world in which man is subjected without appeal to the incomprehensible acts of distant and fearful divinities who he must serve but cannot love. This sombre mood ... remained characteristic of Mesopotamian art..." Akkadian sculpture is remarkable for its fineness and realism, which shows a clear advancement compared to the previous period of Sumerian art. File:Bassetki Statue, Akkadian period, 23rd century BCE, from Bassetki, Iraq. Iraq Museum.jpg, The Bassetki statue, another example of Akkadian artistic realism File:Statue_de_Manishtusu_-_Sb_47_-_Antiquités_orientales_du_Louvre.jpg, The
Manishtushu Manishtushu (𒈠𒀭𒅖𒌅𒋢, ''Ma-an-ish-tu-su'') was the third king of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akk ...
statue Statue of an Akkadian ruler of Assur city. From Assur, Iraq, c. 2300 BCE. Pergamon Museum.jpg, Statue of an Akkadian ruler. From Assur, Iraq, c. 2300 BCE. Pergamon Museum. File:Fragment of the statue of a devotee, with inscription in the name of Naram-Sin.jpg, Fragment of the statue of a devotee, with inscription in the name of Naram-Sin: "To the god Erra, for the life of Naram-Sin, the powerful, his companion, the king of the four regions, Shu'astakkal, the scribe, the majordomo, has dedicated his statue".


Seals

The Akkadians used visual arts as a vehicle of ideology. They developed a new style for cylinder seals, by reusing traditional animal decorations but organizing them around inscriptions, which often became central parts of the layout. The figures also became more sculptural and naturalistic. New elements were also included, especially in relation to the rich Akkadian mythology. File:Adda Seal Akkadian Empire 2300 BC.jpg, upright=1.8, Inscription "Adda, the scribe", hunting god with bow and an arrow,
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
with weapons rising from her shoulders, emerging sun-god Shamash, Zu (mythology), Zu bird of destiny, water god Ea (Babylonian god), Ea with bull between legs, two-faced attendant god Usimu with right hand raised. File:Akkadian seal Agricultural scene Louvre Museum.jpg, Akkadian seal, Agricultural scene. Louvre Museum File:Le dieu de l ete et dumuzi.jpg, Summer God and Dumuzi. Louvre Museum File:Periodo accadico, sigillo in calcare verde con eroi a sei ricci che sottomettono un bufalo d'acqua e un leone, 2350-2150 ac ca.jpg, Ea (Babylonian god), Ea wrestling with a water buffaloe, and bull-man Endiku fighting with a lion.


Language

During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread wikt:bilingualism, bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
(and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a ''sprachbund''. Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around 2000 BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary, and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD.


Poet–priestess Enheduanna

Sumerian literature continued in rich development during the Akkadian period.
Enheduanna Enheduanna ( Sumerian: , also transliterated as ''Enheduana'', ''En-hedu-ana'', or variants; fl. 23rd century BC) "ca. 2285–2250 B.C.E." is the earliest known poet whose name has been recorded. She was the High Priestess of the goddess Inanna ...

Enheduanna
, the "wife (Sumerian ''dam'' = high priestess) of Sin (mythology), Nanna [the Sumerian moon god] and daughter of Sargon" of the temple of Sin at Ur, who lived –2250 BC, is the first poet in history whose name is known. Her known works include hymns to the goddess
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
, the ''Exaltation of Inanna'' and ''In-nin sa-gur-ra''. A third work, the ''Temple Hymns'', a collection of specific hymns, addresses the sacred temples and their occupants, the deity to whom they were consecrated. The works of this poet are significant, because although they start out using the third person, they shift to the first person voice of the poet herself, and they mark a significant development in the use of cuneiform. As poet, princess, and priestess, she was a person who, according to William W. Hallo, "set standards in all three of her roles for many succeeding centuries" In the ''Exultation of Inanna'',


Curse of Akkad

Later material described how the fall of Akkad was due to Naram-Sin's attack upon the city of Nippur. When prompted by a pair of inauspicious oracles, the king sacked the E (temple), E-kur temple, supposedly protected by the god
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a ...
, head of the Pantheon (gods), pantheon. As a result of this, eight chief deities of the Anunnaki pantheon were supposed to have come together and withdrawn their support from Akkad.
:For the first time since cities were built and founded, :The great agricultural tracts produced no grain, :The inundated tracts produced no fish, :The irrigated orchards produced neither syrup nor wine, :The gathered clouds did not rain, the masgurum did not grow. :At that time, one shekel's worth of oil was only one-half quart, :One shekel's worth of grain was only one-half quart. . . . :These sold at such prices in the markets of all the cities! :He who slept on the roof, died on the roof, :He who slept in the house, had no burial, :People were flailing at themselves from hunger.
The kings of Akkad were legendary among later Mesopotamian civilizations, with Sargon understood as the prototype of a strong and wise leader, and his grandson Naram-Sin considered the wicked and impious leader (''Unheilsherrscher'' in the analysis of Hans Gustav Güterbock) who brought ruin upon his kingdom.Bill T. Arnold, "The Weidner Chronicle and the Idea of History in Israel and Mesopotamia"; in ''Faith, Tradition, and History: Old Testament Historiography in Its Near Eastern Context''; Alan Millard, Millard, Hoffmeier & Baker, eds.; Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1994; ; p
138


Technology

A tablet from the periods reads, "(From the earliest days) no-one had made a statue of lead, (but) Rimush king of Kish, had a statue of himself made of lead. It stood before Enlil; and it recited his (Rimush's) virtues to the idu of the gods". The copper Bassetki Statue, cast with the lost wax method, testifies to the high level of skill that craftsmen achieved during the Akkadian period.


Achievements

The empire was bound together by roads, along which there was a regular mail, postal service. Clay seals that took the place of stamps bear the names of Sargon and his son. A cadastral survey seems also to have been instituted, and one of the documents relating to it states that a certain Uru-Malik, whose name appears to indicate his Canaanite origin, was governor of the land of the Amorites, or ''Amurru'' as the semi-nomadic people of Syria and Canaan were called in Akkadian. It is probable that the first collection of astronomy, astronomical observations and terrestrial omens was made for a library established by Sargon. The earliest "year names", whereby each year of a king's reign was named after a significant event performed by that king, date from Sargon's reign. Lists of these "year names" henceforth became a calendrical system used in most independent Mesopotamian city-states. In Assyria, however, years came to be named for the annual presiding ''limmu'' official appointed by the king, rather than for an event.


See also

* Cities of the ancient Near East * Religions of the ancient Near East * History of Mesopotamia * Timeline of the Assyrian Empire


Notes


Bibliography

* Mario Liverani, Liverani, Mario, ed. (1993). ''Akkad: The First World Empire: Structure, Ideology Traditions''. Padova: Sargon srl. * Joan Oates, Oates, Joan (2004). "Archaeology in Mesopotamia: Digging Deeper at Tell Brak". 2004 Albert Reckitt Archaeological Lecture. In ''Proceedings of the British Academy: 2004 Lectures''; Oxford University Press, 2005. . * * E. A. Speiser, Some Factors in the Collapse of Akkad, Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 72, no. 3, pp. 97–101, (Jul. - Sep. 1952) *


External links


Iraq's Ancient Past
– University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Penn Museum
Year Names of Narim-Sin – CDLI




{{Early Rulers of Mesopotamia Akkadian Empire, States and territories established in the 3rd millennium BC States and territories disestablished in the 3rd millennium BC Assyrian geography Ancient Mesopotamia Ancient Upper Mesopotamia Levant 24th-century BC establishments 3rd-millennium BC disestablishments Former monarchies of Asia Nimrod