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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Akkadian Empire| History, Rise & Great Ruler

The Akkadian Empire which ruled over a vast expanse of territory in ancient Mesopotamia. It is known that Akkad (also known as Agade) was a city located on the western side of the Euphrates River, possibly between Sippar and Kish (or, perhaps, between Mari and Babylon, or even That among other cities along the Euphrates). According to legend, it was built by King Sargon the Great (r. 2334–2279 BCE), who unified Mesopotamia under the rule of his Akkadian Empire and set the standard for future forms of government in Mesopotamia. Sargon (or his scribes) claimed that the Akkadian Empire extended from the lower part of Asia Minor to the Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus (there are also claims extend as far as Crete in the Aegean) through modern-day Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Syria (possibly Lebanon). While the size and extent of the Empire situated in Akkad is contested, there is no uncertainty that Sargon the Great made the first worldwide Empire in the world.

Rise of Ruler Sargon 

The language of the city was Akkadian and it was already in use before the rise of the Akkadian Empire (especially in the wealthy city of Mari where giant cuneiform bullets have helped define the events for later historians), and it It is possible that Sargon restored Akkad, instead building it. It should also be noted that Sargon was not the first ruler to unite unequal cities and tribes under one rule. The king of Uruk, Lugalzagesi had already completed it, although on a much smaller scale, under his rule. He was defeated by Sargon, who made his dynasty bigger and stronger, improving on the model given by Uruk. History specialist Gwendolyn Leick states, "According to his own inscriptions, he [Sargon] campaigned widely beyond Mesopotamia and approached all significant exchange or trade routes,the ocean and land" (8). While Lugalzagesi was successful in subjugating the cities of Sumer, Sargun was intent on conquering the known world.
This empire stabilized the territory of Mesopotamia and allowed for the development of art, literature, science, agricultural development, and religion. According to the Sumerian King List, Akkad had five rulers: Sargon, Rimush, Manishtusu, Naram-Sin (also known as Naram-Suen) and Shar-Kali-Sharri who maintained the dynasty for 142 years before the fall. In this time the Akkadians came in place of the Sumerians as lingua franca, except for the sacred services and rituals of conquering the region except for Akaladian dress, writing and religious practices. A complete understanding of the rise and fall (relatively speaking) of Akkad is gained through an examination of the rulers of the city and the empire they built.
Sargon the Great either established or restored the city of Akkad and ruled from 2334–2279 BC. He vanquished what he called the "Four Corners of the Universe" and kept up order in his empire through rehashed military campaigned. The stability provided by this empire led to the aforementioned developments in arts and sciences, along with extensive influence in the construction of roads, improved irrigation, trade. The Akkadian Empire created the first postal system where the clay tablets written in cuciform conformed to the outer clay envelopes in the Akkadian script marked with the recipient's name and address. These letters could not be opened by the person for whom they were intended because there was no way of breaking it to save the envelope of clay.

To maintain his presence throughout his empire, Sargon strategically placed his best and trusted people in positions of power in various cities. As the text of the "Citizens of Akkad", later Babylonian, he was called governor and administrator in more than 65 cities. Sargon cleverly placed his daughter Enheduanna as Inanna's high priestess in Ur and, through him, seems to be able to manipulate religious / cultural matters from afar. Enheduanna is today recognized as the first author in the world, known as him, who knows about his life, she seems to have made a very capable and powerful priestess besides making her impressive hymns to Inanna.

Rule of Sargon and his successor

Sargon ruled for 56 years and after his death his father's policies were upheld by his son Rimush (r. 2279–2271 BCE). The cities revolted after Sargon's death, and Rimush spent the early years of his reign commanding them. He campaigned against Elam, whom he defeated, and claimed in an inscription to bring back great wealth at Akkad. He ruled for only nine years before dying and was succeeded by his brother Manishtusu (r. 2271–2261 BCE). There is some theory that Manishtusu realized his brother’s death to gain the throne.
History repeated itself after Rimush's death, and Manishtusu had to extinguish widespread rebellions throughout the empire before he could engage in the business of ruling his land. He increased trade according to his inscriptions and continued to engage in long-distance trade with Magan and Meluhha (considered to be Upper Egypt and Sudan). He undertook great construction projects throughout the empire and is believed to have ordered the construction of the Isher Temple at Nineveh, which was considered a very impressive specimen of architecture. In addition, he undertook land reforms to improve his father and brother's empire. The obelisk of Manishtusu, describing the distribution of parcels of land, can be seen today at the Louvre Museum, Paris. His death is some mystery, but according to some scholars, Leike among them, "Manishtusu was killed by his courtiers with his cylinder seal", although no definite motive is offered for the murder (111).

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