Sargon of AkkadThe Akkadians created the first Mesopotamian empire by forging Ur, Mari and other cities together. The Akkadians, who ruled the region from 2300 to 2159 BC. Akkadian armies marched across Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean and Anatolia, and briefly (2340-2180 BC) ruled an empire that encompassed the pine-clad mountains of modern-day Lebanon and the silver mines of modern-day southern Turkey.
The Akkadians were Semitic-speaking people, which distinguished them from the Sumerians. Under Sargon of Akkad (ruled c. 2340–2285 BC), they established a political center in southern Mesopotamia and created the world's first empire, which at the height of its power united an area that not only included Mesopotamia, but also parts of the West included Syria and Anatolia and Iran. From about 2350 BC until the Persians 450 BC. These include the Akkadians, Eblaites and Assyrians. They fought and traded with the Hittites, Kassites and Mitanni, all of whom may have been of Indo-European descent. [Source: World Almanac]
The Semitic language spoken by the Akkadians was first recorded around 2500 BC. recorded. It was a highly complex language that existed in the second millennium BC. Served as a common means of communication throughout the Middle East. and was the dominant language of the region for more than 2,500 years. The Akkadians also produced exceptional bronze sculptures (see Art) and codified laws.
Armed with compound bows, arrows, and spears, the Akkadian armies led by King Saragon defeated the Sumerians in 2350 BC. And conquered most of the territory that became the Akkadian Empire. An inscription discovered at Ebla describing Saragon's victories read: "He worshiped the god Dagan, who from that time gave the uplands, Mari, Yarmuti and Ebla, to the forest or the cedars and the silver mountain."
Sargon called himself "King of Sumer and Akkad". He was from a place called Kish, and founded a capital called Agade, the whereabouts of which are unknown, and founded a dynasty, dating from about 2300 to 2159 BC Inscription found on a monument to himself read: Naram-Sin, the Starke, the conqueror of... Ebla, never subdued before in history.
The Akkadians were unable to create a true, unified empire because Sargon and his successors were unable to establish local control. However, the Akkadian language displaced the Sumerian language in many places. In 2198 BC The Akkadian dynasty collapsed due to disputes over the royal succession and invasions by nomads and peoples from the surrounding mountains. The collapse could also be linked to a 200-year drought in North and East Africa. After the decline of the Akkadians, Sumerian culture revived and the region splintered into a small kingdom that often fought off invaders from the east and west. Lagash was an independent city-state that re-emerged after the fall of the Akkadian Empire
Morris Jastrow said: "Even in the earliest period that we can trace the history of the Euphrates Valley with our material, we are witnessing the conflict for political control between Sumerians and Akkadians (i.e. between non-Semites and Semites). Lagash, Nippur, Ur, and Uruk are ancient Sumerian centers, but near the boundary between the southern and northern reaches of this valley, a strong political center has established itself at Kish, heralding the growing dominance of the Semites. The rulers sometimes adopt the title "king", sometimes they are known by the more humble title "chief", a variation that indicates frequent changes in political destiny. The population is represented as Sumerian on the monuments, and yet among the rulers we find one who bears a distinctly Semitic name, while some of the inscriptions of the rulers of Kish can clearly be read as Semitic and not Sumerian. Not surprisingly, then, by 2500 BC the Semitic kings of Akkad spread west, well beyond the borders of Babylonia and Assyria. [Source: Morris Jastrow, lecturing more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
“There are two names in this dynasty of Akkad centered in Agade that particularly stand out – Sargon and his son Naram-Sin. Sargon indeed marks an epoch in the history of the Euphrates Valley.
Categories with related articles on this site: History and religion of Mesopotamia (35 articles)factsanddetails.com;Culture and Life of Mesopotamia (38 Articles)factsanddetails.com;First Villages, Early Agriculture and Bronze, Copper and Late Stone Age Man (50 items)factsanddetails.comAncient Persian, Arabic, Phoenician and Near Eastern Cultures (26 articles)factsanddetails.com
Akkadian victory stele Mesopotamia websites and resources:Encyclopedia of Ancient HistoryAncient.eu.com/Mesopotamien; Website der Mesopotamia University of Chicagomesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu; British MuseumMesopotamien.co.uk; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Mesopotamiensourcebooks.fordham.edu; Louvrelouvre.fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_periode.jsp; Metropolitan Museum of Artmetmuseum.org/toah; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropologypenn.museum/sites/iraq; Oriental Institute of the University of Chicagouchicago.edu/museum/highlights/meso; Iraqi Museum Databaseoi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/dbfiles/Iraqdatabasehome; Wikipedia-ArticleWikipedia;ABZUetana.org/abzubib; Virtual Museum of the Oriental Instituteoi.uchicago.edu/virtualtour; Treasures from the royal tombs of Uroi.uchicago.edu/museum-exhibits; Ancient Near Eastern Art Metropolitan Museum of Artwww.metmuseum.org
Archeology news and resources:Anthropologie.netanthropologie.net: serves the online community interested in anthropology and archaeology; archaeologica.orgarchaeologica.orgis a good source of archaeological news and information. Archeology in Europearcheurope.comcontains educational resources, original material on many archaeological topics and provides information on archaeological events, study tours, excursions and archaeological courses, links to websites and articles; Magazine of ArcheologyArcheology.orghas archaeological news and articles and is a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America; Archaeological News Networkarcheology newsnetworkis a non-profit, public-facing, pro-community news site on archaeology; Journal of British ArchaeologyBritish Archeology Magazineis an excellent source published by the Council for British Archaeology; Journal of Contemporary Archaeologyarchaeology.co.ukis produced by the UK's leading archeology magazine; HeritageDailyHeritageDaily.comis an online heritage and archeology magazine highlighting the latest news and new discoveries; livesciencelivescience.com/: general scientific site with lots of archaeological content and news. Past Horizons: website of an online magazine with news from the fields of archeology and cultural heritage as well as news from other scientific fields; The Archeology Channelarchaeologychannel.orgexplores archeology and cultural heritage through streaming media; Encyclopedia of Ancient Historyantik.eu: is published by a non-profit organization and contains prehistory articles; The best history websitesbesthistorysites.netis a good source of links to other websites; Essential Humanitiesessential-humanities.net: provides history and art history information, including prehistory sections
Akkadian period (c. 2350–2150 BC)
Akkadian victory stele
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: "The period from about 2900 to 2350 B.C. in southern Mesopotamia (Sumer) is known as the early dynasty. During this period, Sumer was politically divided between competing city-states, each controlled by a ruling dynasty. The subsequent period (ca. 2350–2150 BC) is named after the city of Agade (or Akkad), whose Semitic monarchs unified the region and conquered the rival Sumerian cities. [Source: Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Art. "The Akkadian Period (ca. 2350-2150 B.C.)", Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2004,metmuseum.org\^/]
“The ideology and power of the Empire was reflected in art, which for the first time showed strong cultural continuity with the Early Dynastic period. When fully developed, it featured a profound new creativity that marks some of the pinnacles of artistic achievement in ancient history. A new emphasis on naturalism, expressed through sensitive modelling, is manifest in masterpieces of monumental stone relief sculpture. Although few large-scale works of art remain from this period, a vast corpus of finely carved Akkadian seals preserves rich iconography that illustrates the interactions between man and the divine world.” \^/
Morris Jastrow said: “The time must have been right for a movement of such magnitude. As is so often the case, the political upheaval was followed by a strong intellectual impulse, which was expressed in a striking advance in art. One of the most remarkable monuments of the Euphrates Valley dates from this period. It shows Naram-Sin son of Sargon triumphing over Elam; and it seems an irony of fate that centuries later this magnificent carved stone was carried away as a war trophy by the Elamites in one of their successful incursions into the Euphrates Valley. In a triumphant pose, Naram-Sin is depicted humiliating the enemy by driving a spear through a soldier's prostrate body and begging for mercy. The king wears the cap with the horns pointing upwards, giving him the attributes of divine power. [Source: Morris Jastrow, lecturing more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
“With Sargon and Ur-Engur we are entering a new era. Instead of a rivalry between many centers for political supremacy in the south or north, the Semites and Sumerians strive for complete control over the entire valley, with a clear tendency to include the district north of Akkad within their purview. This district, as a natural extension as a result of the spread of Sumero-Akkadian culture, was eventually to become a separate principality, which in time reversed the situation and began encroaching on the independence of the Euphrates Valley.”
Sumerians versus Akkadians
Akkadian period dice by Khafajah
Morris Jastrow said: “The Babylonians themselves recognized this difference between south and north, and referred to the former as Sumer—which will immediately evoke the “plain of Shinar” in the Bible story of the construction of the tower—and the latter as Akkad. The two combined cover what is commonly known as Babylonia, but Sumer and Akkad were once as distinct from each other as Babylonia and Assyria were in later times. They are in fact in the same geographical relation to each other as the latter; and it is significant that in the title "King of Sumer and Akkad," which the rulers of the Euphrates Valley from a certain period were fond of adopting to denote their control over the south and north, Sumer is the designation of the southern territory which always before Akkad. [Source: Morris Jastrow, Lectures more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
“More important than any geographical distinction, however, is the ethnological contrast between Sumerians and Akkadians. However, the designations themselves, applied in the ethnic sense, are purely conventional; but there is no longer any doubt that the Euphrates Valley has been the seat of a mixed population since its appearance on the historical horizon. The seed of truth in the time-honored biblical tradition that makes the Plains of Shinar the home of mankind and the seat of tongue confusion is the reminder of the fact that different races had settled there and different languages were spoken there. In fact, we should be entitled to assume this a priori; it can be taken as an axiom that no advanced culture can emerge without mixing different ethnic elements. Civilization, like the spark of steel striking flint, is everywhere the result of the stimulus produced by the friction of one ethnic group with another. Egyptian culture is the result of a mixture of Semitic and Hamitic elements.
"A pure race, if it exists at all outside the brains of some ethnologists, is a barren race. Mixed races, and only mixed races, produce the fruit we call civilization—with social, religious, and intellectual progress. Monuments also testify, in ethnic types, in costumes and in other ways, to the existence of two different classes in the population of the Euphrates Valley - Semites or Akkadians and non-Semites or Sumerians. The oldest fortresses of the Semites are in the north, those of the Sumerians in the south. However, it does not necessarily follow that the Sumerians were the oldest settlers in the valley; nor does the fact that they are the dominant factor in the oldest historical period justify the conclusion. On the contrary, the analogy would suggest that they represent the conquering element which, by admixing it with the older settlers, gave the impetus to spiritual progress and at the same time pushed the older Semitic population farther north.
“We are approaching a burning problem on which scholars are still divided, and which in some respects is not dissimilar to rabbinic sophistication as to whether the chicken or the egg came first. It is to the enduring credit of the eminent Joseph Halevy of Paris that he diverted Assyriological scholarship from the wrong path into which it strayed a generation ago when trying to distinguish sharply between Sumerian and Akkadian elements in the older Euphratesian culture. Preference was given to the non-Semitic Sumerians, to whom cuneiform writing was credited. The Semitic (or Akkadian) settlers were also to be the borrowers in religion, forms of government, and civilization in general, besides adopting the cuneiform syllabary of the Sumerians and adapting it to their own language. Hello Sumer, hello Akkad! Halevy claimed that many of the features in this syllabary hitherto considered Sumerian were genuinely Semitic; and his main claim is that what is known as Sumerian is only an older form of Semitic writing, characterized by the more frequent use of ideograms or signs to express words, rather than the later method of phonetic writing, in which the used characters have syllabic values. ”
Kings of Akkad
Battle between Sumerians and Akkadians
Morris Jastrow said: "The earliest historical period known to us, which is roughly from 2800 B.C. to 2000 BC or Semitic) elements. The Sumerian strongholds at this time were in the south, in such centers as Lagash, Kish, Umma, Uruk, Nippur and Ur, those of the Semites in the north, especially in Agade, Sippar and Babylon, with a gradual increase in the extent of Semitic settlements still further north towards Assyria. It does not follow, however, that one or the other element was absolutely confined to one district. The fact that even in this early period we find the same religious customs, the same forms of government, the same economic conditions in the south and in the north testifies to the spiritual affinity that connects the two districts, as well as to the difference in the elements of the population. In a word, the civilization we encounter in this earliest period is neither Sumerian nor Akkadian, but Sumero-Akkadian, the two elements being so combined that it is difficult to determine what is of one element and what of the other was contributed; and this applies to religion and to the other phases of this civilization as well as to Scripture. [Source: Morris Jastrow, lecturing more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
"When the curtain of history rises on the scene, we are well past the time when the Semitic hordes, who probably came from their homeland in Arabia, and the Sumerians, whose origins are equally likely to be traced to the mountainous regions to the east and northeast of the Euphrates Valley began to pour into the land. The attraction of sedentary dwellings in a fertile district to the lower classes of civilization led to constant, or at least frequent, replenishment by both Semites and non-Semites. The general state of affairs which presents itself in the earliest known period is that of a number of principalities or petty kingdoms in the Euphrates Valley, grouped around a center whose religious importance has always kept pace with, and often surpassed, its political importance. The rivalry between these centers led to frequent shifts in the political kaleidoscope, now one and now the other claiming some degree of jurisdiction or control over the other. We have only had fleeting impressions of this early period. Titles of rulers with brief references to their wars and building activities all too often form the content of the information that can be gleaned from votive inscriptions and dates of legal and business documents. However, this material is enough to get an overview. At two of these centers, Lagash and Nippur, thanks to extensive excavations there, the framework can be filled in with numerous details. The basic conditions existing in Lagash and Nippur can be regarded as typical for the entire Euphrates Valley in the earliest times.
"Religion had long since passed the animistic stage, when all the forces of nature were endowed with human purposes and indiscriminately personified. The selection process (which will be explained in more detail in a later lecture) had singled out from the great number of such personified forces a limited number, which, though each associated with a place, were also regarded as distinct from that union, and as summarizing the principal forces in the nature on which the common good and prosperity depended. Increasing political ties between sections of the Euphrates Valley accelerated this process of selection, fostering a combination of selected deities that gave at least the appearance of a partially organized pantheon that finally constituted itself over time. The tutelary deities of the cities, which rose to become district centers, absorbed the local numina of the smaller towns. The names of the latter became epithets for the more politically conspicuous deities, so that e.g. For example, the sun god of a center like Lagash became almost an abstract and general personification of the sun itself. Similarly, the moon god of Ur received the names and attributes of the moon gods associated with other places.”
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “The city of Agade itself has not yet been located, but it was probably founded before the time of Sargon (r. ca. 2340–2285 BC), the first king of the dynasty. Tradition credits Sargon with being the "cupbearer" of the king of Kish at a time when Kish was an important and powerful city in the northern part of Lower Mesopotamia. The name Sargon is a modern reading of Sharru-ken ("the king is legitimate"). Sargon seized power and assumed the title of king, conquered southern Mesopotamia, and led military expeditions further east and north for conquest. [Source: Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. "The Akkadian Period (ca. 2350-2150 B.C.)", Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2004,metmuseum.org\^/]
Morris Jastrow said: "King Saragon is the first conqueror to initiate a comprehensive policy of conquest that eventually gave Babylonia and later Assyria a dominant position in the ancient world. While retaining his capital at Agade, he brings neighboring Sippar to the fore by devoting himself to the service of the sun god Shamash at that site; and he founds or enlarges the city of Babylon, which some centuries later became the capital of the United Euphrates; Its framework was destined to outlast the memory of all other centers in the South and to become synonymous with the culture and religion of the entire district. Sumer's ancient enemy to the east, known as Elam, with whom the Sumerian rulers had many conflicts, was forced to yield to the mighty Sargon. Far to the north, the principality of Subartu—later Assyria—and farther north, the district known as Guti, recognized the rule of Sargon and his successors. The land west to the Mediterranean coast, known by the general designation of Amurru, was also claimed by Sargon. The rulers of Lagash humbly call themselves the "servants" of the mighty conqueror; Cuthah, Uruk, Opis and Nippur to the south, Babylon and Sippar to the north are among the centers in the Euphrates Valley specifically designated by Sargon as falling under his rule. He advances to Nippur and, assuming the title "King of Akkad and the Kingdom of Enlil", proclaims his control over all of Sumer and Akkad. [Source: Morris Jastrow, lecturing more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
The Legend of Sargon and its Parallels to the Moses Story
The birth story of Moses (Exodus 2:1-10) was probably written in the 10th century B.C. recorded. It bears similarities to the birth account of King Sargon, who died towards the end of the third millennium BC. lived. It seems not unlikely that people in ancient times hid unwanted children in a way that would be found by rich or powerful people, lest the child die or force a family to fight more than it already was. [Source: piney.com]
Birth of Sargon
The cuneiform texts of the Sargon account read: 1. Sargon, the mighty king, king of Akkadê am I,
2. My mother was low; I didn't know my father;
3. My father's brother lived on the mountain.
4. My city is Azupiranu, which lies on the banks of the Purattu [Euphrates],
5. My humble mother begot me, she gave birth to me secretly.
6. She put me in a reed basket, she sealed my entrance with bitumen,
7. She threw me on the rivers that did not flood me.
8. The river carried me, it brought me to Akki the waterer.
[Quelle: George A. Barton, „Archaeology and the Bible“, 3. Aufl., (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1920), p. 310]
Akki the waterer picked me up in the goodness of his heart,
10. Akki the irrigator, as his own son raised me;
11. Akki the waterer when his gardener appointed me.
12. When I was a gardener, the goddess Ishtar loved me,
13. And four years I reigned over the kingdom.
14. The black-headed peoples whom I ruled I ruled;
15. I destroyed mighty mountains with axes of bronze.
16. I climbed the upper mountains;
17. I charged through the lower mountains.
18. I besieged the land of the sea three times;
- I captured Dilmun.
20. To the great Dur-ilu I went up, I . . . . . . . . .
21 . . . . . . . . . .I have changed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
22. Which king shall be exalted after me,
23. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
24. Let him rule, let him rule the black-haired peoples;
25. Mighty mountains with axes of bronze cause him to be destroyed;
26. Let him climb the mountains above,
27. Let him break through the lower mountains;
28. The land of the sea besieged him three times;
29. Dilmun had him captured;
30. To the great Dur-ilu let him go up.
- I captured Dilmun.
The rest of the text is broken.
The German journalist Werner Keller wrote: “The basket story is a very old Semitic folk tale. For centuries it was passed on orally. The Sargon Legend of the Third Millennium B.C. found on neo-Babylonian cuneiform tablets of the first millennium BC. It is none other than the frills with which prosperity has always liked to adorn the lives of great men.” [Source: Werner Keller, “The Bible as History,” 2nd revised ed. Morrow & Co, NY, page 123. Skeptically.org]
King Sargon's successor
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Sargon was succeeded by two of his sons, Rimush and Manishtushu, who consolidated the dynasty's influence over much of Mesopotamia. The Akkadian Empire reached its zenith under Naram-Sin (ruled ca. 2260–2223 BC), and there is evidence of campaigns against powerful states in the north, possibly including Ebla. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched north to Anatolia, east to the interior of Iran, south to Arabia, and west to the Mediterranean Sea. [Source: Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Art. "The Akkadian Period (ca. 2350-2150 B.C.)", Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2004,metmuseum.org\^/]
"Control of the Empire was maintained under Naram-Sin's successor, Shar-kali-sharri (r. ca. 2223–2198 BC), although there seems to have been a power struggle for the throne towards the end of his reign. A series of city rulers reestablished their independence in southern Mesopotamia, and the area ruled by the last kings of Agade (Dudu and Shu-Turul) had shrunk back to the region just around the city." \^/
Morris Jastrow said: Naram-Sin "continues his father's conquests and even penetrates into Arabia, so that he may well lay claim to the high-sounding title he assumes as 'King of the Four Regions'." However, the kingdom thus established by Sargon and Naram-Sin was short-lived. Apparently Agade had to give in to Kish first. [Source: Morris Jastrow, lecturing more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
“This happened not long after Naram-Sin's death, but what is more significant, within about two centuries the Sumerians managed to regain their prestige; and with their capital at Ur, an ancient center of lunar cult, the Sumerian rulers emphasize their sovereignty in both the south and north by assuming the title "King of Sumer and Akkad." Ur-Engur, the founder of the 117-year dynasty (ca. 2300 BC), was the first to assume this title, although not as pompous as that of "King of the Four". Regions”, but rests on a more substantial foundation. It represents an empire that could be controlled, while a universal empire, as Sargon and Naram-Sin claimed, was largely nominal - a dream cherished by ambitious conquerors from Sargon to Napoleon, and lasting only for a time more frightening nightmare for the nations of the world.
"For a time after Ur-Engur established a powerful dynasty in Ur, the Sumerians seem to have had it all their way. His son and successor, Dungi, wages successful wars such as Sargon and Naram-Sin with the surrounding nations and once again assumes the greater title of "King of the Four Regions". He hands over his great empire, which includes Elam on one side and extends to Syria on the other, to his son Bur-Sin. We know few details about the reigns of Bur-Sin and the two other members of the Ur dynasty who succeeded him, but the evidence suggests that the Sumerian response represented by the emergence of the Ur dynasty, although initially what appears to be complete is in fact a compromise. The Semitic influence grows stronger from generation to generation, as shown by the steadily increasing predominance of Semitic words and expressions in Sumerian documents. The Semitic culture of Akkad not only colors that of Sumer but permeates it so thoroughly that the remaining original and unassimilated Sumerian elements are largely eradicated. Both the Sumerian deities and the Sumerians themselves adopt the Semitic form of dress. We even find Sumerians with Semitic names; and in another century the Semitic language, which we may henceforth call Babylonian, became dominant.
“When the Ur dynasty fell, the political center shifted from Ur to Isin. The last king of the Ur-Dynasty is captured by the Elamites, who reassert their independence. The title "King of the Four Regions" is discarded by the rulers of Isin, and while they continue to use the title "King of Sumer and Akkad," there is much evidence that Sumerian supremacy is steadily waning. They could not prevent the rise of an independent state centered in the city of Babylon under Semitic control, and around 2000 B.C. The rulers of this city began to take the title "King of Babylon". The founding of this so-called first dynasty of Babylon definitely foreshadows the end of Sumerian dominance in the Euphrates Valley and the enduring triumph of the Semites. Fifty years later, with the accession of Hammurabi to the throne as the sixth member of the dynasty, we reach another, in many ways important, epoch. During his long reign of forty-two years (c. 1958-1916 BC) Hammurabi quite revolutionized both the political and religious conditions.”
Akkadians, Amorites and Hittites
Morris Jastrow said: "Two new factors are beginning about this time, and possibly even earlier, to exert a decisive influence on the further change in Sumero-Akkadian culture; One is the Amorite influence, the other is a conglomerate of peoples collectively known as the Hittites. From the days of Sargon we often find traces of the Amorites; and there is at least one deity in the pantheon of this early period, imported into the Euphrates Valley from the west, home of the Amorites. This deity was a storm god known as Adad, who appeared in Syria and Palestine as Hadad. According to Professor Clay, most of the other prominent members of what eventually became the definitively constituted Babylonian pantheon show signs of exposure to this Western influence. In fact, Professor Clay goes even further and would attribute many of the parallels between Biblical and Babylonian myths, traditions, customs, and rites to an early influence that Amurru (whom he regards as the homeland of the northern Semites) had on Babylonia, rather than as hitherto believed to be a western extension of Babylonian culture and religion. [Source: Morris Jastrow, lecturing more than ten years after the publication of his book Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria in 1911]
Reconstruction of the Akkdian burial
“It is still too early to give a definitive opinion on this interesting and novel thesis; but assuming that Professor Clay pushed his views beyond legitimate limits, there can no longer be any doubt that in explaining the later and some of the earlier aspects of Sumero-Akkadian civilization this factor of Amurru must be taken into account; It is also not improbable that long before the days of Sargon, a wave of migration from north and north-west to south and south-east had begun, bringing large groups of Amorites to both the Euphrates Valley and Assyria. The fact that, as has been said, the earliest permanent settlements of the Semites in the Euphrates Valley appear to be in the northern part suggests a strong suspicion in favor of the view that the Semites entered Babylonia from the north-west.
"Hittites do not appear in the Euphrates Valley until some centuries after Sargon, but as it now appears to be ca. 1800 B.C. they had become strong enough to invade the district, and that a Hittite ruler did occupy the throne of Babylonia for a short time, we are entitled to trace the beginnings of Hittite influence back at least to the time of the Proto-Dynasty. This conclusion is supported by the evidence for an early establishment of a Hittite principality in northwestern Mesopotamia known as Mitanni, which had its influence as early as at least 2100 BC. Extended. to Assyria right.
“Thanks to the excavations of the German expedition at Kalah-Shergat (the site of the ancient capital of Assyria, known as Assur), we can now trace the beginnings of Assyria several centuries further back than was possible just a few years ago. The proper names in this earliest period of Assyrian history show a clear Hittite or Mitanni influence in the district, and it is significant that Ushpia, the founder of the most famous and oldest sanctuary in Assur, bears a Hittite name. The conclusion seems justified that Assyria began its rule as an extension of Hittite control. With a branch of the Hittites firmly established in Assyria as early as around 2100 BC. we can now explain an invasion of Babylonia some centuries later. The Hittites brought their gods with them, as did the Amorites, and with the gods their own religious beliefs. Traces of Hittite influence are z. B. seen in the patterns on the sealing cylinders, as recently Dr. Ward, who is inclined to attribute this influence to religious art, and therefore to culture and religion in general, far greater than might have been anticipated a decade ago.
“We do not yet know who these Hittites were. They probably represent a motley group of different peoples, and they might turn out to be Aryans. It is fairly certain that they came from a mountainous area and were not Semites. We would then have a factor penetrating the Babylonian-Assyrian civilization - and leaving its decided imprint on religion - which is quite distinct from the two main elements of that civilization - the Sumerian and the Akkadian."
Inana's blessing from Agade
Cylinder seal depicting Inanna and Ninschubur
Inana (Ishtar, Inanna) is known for blessing the city of Agade" (capital of Akkad and the Akkadian Empire of King Sargon) and then bringing about its downfall. As the goddess of war and strife, she bore the title of Ninkur-ra-igi -ga, "the queen who watches the highlands," meaning other countries feared her. The battle was dubbed the "Dance of Inanna," and she was at the heart of it. She was "the star of the battle cry that can cause brothers who have lived together in harmony to fight one another." [source: piney.com ]
Having slaughtered the land of Unug like a mighty bull in the dust, Enlil handed over the south to the highlands to Sargon, king of Agade. It was then that Saint Inana established the sanctuary of Agade as the domain of her celebrated wife; she established her throne in Ulmac. Inanna got Ea drunk and took away the power of the ME from Ea. She would use such powers as "eldership, musical worship, and kissing of the phallus" to strengthen her own kingdom.
The story of "Ishtar's Cursing of Agade" reads: "Like a young man building a house for the first time, like a girl establishing a woman's domain, the holy Inana slept not as she made sure the storehouses were tended would; that dwellings would be established in the city; that his people would eat excellent food; that its people would drink splendid drinks; that those bathed for holidays would rejoice in the courtyards; that people would crowd the places of celebration; that acquaintances would dine together; that aliens would fly about in the sky like unusual birds; that even Marhaci would be reinstated in the tribute lists; that monkeys, mighty elephants, water buffalo, exotic animals, but also thoroughbred dogs, lions, ibexes and alum sheep with long wool crowded the public squares.
“Then she filled Agade's stores of emmer wheat with gold, she filled his stores of white emmer wheat with silver; She supplied copper, tin, and blocks of lapis lazuli to his granaries and sealed his silos from the outside. She endowed her old wives with the gift of counseling, she endowed her old men with the gift of eloquence. She endowed her young wives with the gift of amusement, she endowed her young men with fighting power, she endowed her little ones with joy.
“The nannies who looked after the general's children played the aljarsur instruments. Tigi drums sounded in the city; flutes and zamzam instruments outside. Its harbor, where ships were moored, was full of joy. All foreign lands rested contentedly, and their people prospered. Their king, the shepherd Naram-Suen, rose like daylight on the holy throne of Agade. Its city wall reached up to the sky like a mountain. It was like the Tigris entering the sea when the holy Inana opened the portals of her city gates and caused Sumer to bring his own possessions upstream in boats. The Martu from the highlands, a people who have no idea of agriculture, brought their spirited cattle and kids. The Meluhans, the people of the Black Land, brought her exotic goods. Elam and Subir loaded themselves like packasses with goods for them. All the governors, the temple administrators and the accountants of the Gu-edina regularly delivered the monthly and New Year's offerings.
“What weariness all this caused at the city gates of Agade! Saint Inana could hardly accept all these offerings. As if she were a citizen there, she could not resist the desire to prepare the ground for a temple. But the E-kur's statement was disturbing. Because of Enlil, all Agade was made to tremble, and Inana in Ulmac was terrified. She left the city and returned to her homeland. Saint Inana left the sanctuary of Agade like one who leaves the young women of her wife's domain. Like a warrior rushing to arms, she took from the city the gift of battle and battle and gave it to the enemy.”
Inana's curse from Agade
Then the tone of "Ishtar's Cursing of Agade" changes: "Not even five or ten days had passed and Ninurta brought back to his E - cumeca Utu took away the eloquence of the city. Enki took his wisdom from him. Anu absorbed his awesomeness reaching heaven into the midst of heaven. Enki ripped his well-anchored sacred mooring line out of the Ab. Inana took away his weapons. The life of Agade's sanctuary ended as if it had been the life of a tiny carp in the deep waters, and all the cities looked on. [Source: piney.com]
Inanna appears to Sargon
“Like a mighty elephant he bowed his neck to the ground, while like mighty bulls they all raised their horns. Like a dying dragon, it dragged its head across the earth, and together, as if in a fight, they took the honor from it. Naram-Suen saw in a night vision that Enlil would leave the kingdom of Agade with no pleasant permanent residence, that he would make his future altogether unfavorable, that he would shake his temples, and scatter his treasures, his dream was about but not in Words made and not spoken to anyone about it. Because of the E-kur, he donned mourning clothes, covered his chariot with a thatched mat, tore the thatched roof off his ceremonial barge, and gave away his royal paraphernalia.
"Naram-Suen insisted for seven years! Who has ever seen a king bury his head in his hands for seven years? Then he went to punish a child regarding the temple, but the omen had nothing to say about the building of the temple. The second time he went to punish a boy about the temple, but again the omen had nothing to do with building the temple.
"In order to change what had been done to him, he tried to change Enlil's testimony. With his subjects scattered, he now began to mobilize his troops. Like a wrestler who wants to enter the great court, he (raised) his hands to the E-kur. Like an athlete about to compete, he treated the giguna as if it were only worth thirty shekels. Like a robber plundering the city, he set high ladders against the temple. Destroying E-kur as if it were a giant ship, breaking up its bottom like the bottom of mountains where precious metals are mined, splintering it like lapis lazuli mountain, throwing it down like a city flooded by ickur.
"Although the temple was not a mountain where cedars were felled, it had great axes cast, it had double-edged agasilig axes sharpened for use against it. He set spades against its roots and it sank as deep as the foundation of the land. He laid axes at his head, and the temple bowed its neck before him like a dead soldier, and all foreign lands bowed their necks before him. He ripped out the drainpipes and all the rain went back up into the sky. He tore off the upper lintel and the land was stripped of its adornment.
“From his “gate from which grain is never diverted,” he diverted grain, and the land was deprived of grain. He struck the "gate of prosperity" with a pickaxe, and prosperity was undermined in all foreign lands. He threw big spades to use against the E-kur, as if it were a matter of vast tracts of land with vast expanses of water full of carp. People could see the bedchamber, his room that knows no daylight.
"The Akkadians could see into the sacred treasure chest of the gods. Although they had committed no sacrilege, the Lahama deities of the great pilasters that stood at the temple were thrown into the fire by Naram-Suen. The cedar, cypress, juniper, and boxwood, the forests of his giguna, were... his. He put his gold in cases and his silver in leather bags. He filled the docks with his copper like it was a giant grain shipment. The silversmiths reshaped its silver, jewelers reshaped its gems, blacksmiths struck its copper. Great ships were moored at the temple, great ships were moored at Enlil's temple, and his possessions were taken from the city, though they were not the goods of a sacked city.
“When the possessions were taken out of the city, Agade lost sanity. When the ships moved away, was removed. Enlil, the raging storm that enslaves the whole land, the rising deluge that cannot be opposed, pondered what should be destroyed in return for the destruction of his beloved E-kur. He fixed his gaze on the mountains of Gubin and made all the inhabitants of the vast mountain ranges descend. Enlil brought out from the mountains those who bear no resemblance to other humans, who are not counted as part of the land, the Gutians, a rampant people with human intelligence but canine instincts and ape traits. They fell to the ground in great flocks like little birds. Because of Enlil they spread their arms like a net for animals across the plain.”
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Textquellen: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Mesopotamiasourcebooks.fordham.edu, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, especially Merle Severy, National Geographic, May 1991 and Marion Steinmann, Smithsonian, December 1988, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archeology magazine, The New Yorker, BBC, Encyclopædia Britannica, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, "World Religions" edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); "History of Warfare" by John Keegan (Vintage Books); "Art History" by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton's Encyclopedia, and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018
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