What brought the Akkadian Empire to collapse

4. The great empire of Akkad30 Transport of its inmates, but also to tear open enemy lines. At the latest when the successes of the army of the kings of Akkad brought the entire region between the Mediterranean, Taurus and western Iran under the cultural influence of southern Mesopotamia, these techniques spread over the whole of the Middle East. In Egypt all of these technologies came into use much later - namely only when close cultural contacts with the Middle East were cultivated at the beginning of the 2nd millennium during the Middle Kingdom. 4. From the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean: the great empire of Akkad The "world empire" of Akkad represents the first verifiably politically united territorial state of Mesopotamia under the control of an autocratic ruler who has delegated his power to governors appointed by him in various regions of his empire. The city of Akkad represents the newly established center of a state that encompassed the whole of southern Iraq as well as parts of northern Mesopotamia and Syria and that was able to exercise indirect control over other neighboring areas, from the Mediterranean coast to Oman. Because of the important role that the city of Kish once played in the political order of the early dynastic period, this name in the Akkadian language was borrowed from kiššatu, meaning «All (es); Universe; World ”and was used as part of the royal statute“ King of the World ”in this meaning in the Sumerian and Akkadian inscriptions of the rulers of Akkad and many of their later imitators. In the later Mesopotamian and Anatolian tradition, the founder of the empire Sargon, "King of Akkad, King of the World", was celebrated in various literary works as the ideal ruler whenever the model of a great empire was to be propagated - for example among the Hittite Great 4. The Great Empire of Akkad 31 kings in Anatolia around the middle of the 2nd millennium and under the Neo-Assyrian rulers in the early 1st millennium BC. Although the empire of Akkad only existed for less than two centuries, it assumed a role model for later generations, for example still in the 6th century BC. Emulated Nabonidus of Babylon. How Sargon and his successors from approx. 2300 BC Chr. Brought the whole of Mesopotamia and large parts of the Middle East under their control, can no longer be reconstructed in detail today. We are primarily dependent on the rather brief inscriptions of the rulers, who have received place names and often also the names of the defeated enemies, but reduce the facts as much as possible to the successes of a cha rismatic general whom the gods once granted their favor. Its power base, the capital Akkad, has not yet been located, although there are good reasons to assume that it is near Baghdad. The city was later seen as a re-establishment of Sargon. How this came about remains very unclear, because Sargon's reports only begin with the victory over Lugalzagesi, who had previously brought southern Mesopotamia under his control within a few years. His steep career began as the city prince of Umma. He then succeeded - how, it is not known - to increasingly expand his sphere of influence to other cities, whereupon he was crowned King of Uruk in his seventh year of reign. In the late early dynastic period, local rulers also increasingly claimed the title of king for themselves. This inflationary use of the title, which was previously exclusive at least in southern Mesopotamia, may - comparable to the assumption of the until then unique imperial title by various European monarchs in the 19th century AD - indicate a weakening of the traditional ideological and political system, the only one King of Kish recognized as a souvenir over the local rulers. The fact that Lugalzagesi now saw himself as the overlord of all of southern Mesopotamia brought him into conflict with Urukagina of Lagasch, whom he defeated the following year. The inscriptions of these two rulers tell of these events from 4. The Empire of Akkad32 from quite different perspectives. For Sargon, the decisive moment in the emergence of the Akkad Empire was apparently the victory over Lugalzagesi and the capture of its capital Uruk, followed by the conquest of other important cities in the south. The defeated rival was shackled before the god Enlil in Nippur, in whose temple several monuments were later erected that represented this triumph. It is noticeable that although the protector of Akkad - Ishtarini of her role as the goddess of war (Sumerian Inanna) - was prominently mentioned in these inscriptions, it was Enlil who was celebrated as the king's patron. He was the city god of Nippur, but above all the one who, according to the traditional view, gave a ruler primacy over southern Mesopotamia. The sensitivities of his subjects in the south were evidently very important to Sargon. We are only aware of the texts that adorned these monuments (including short inscriptions that identified individual actors by name), in the form of later copies that the scribal students in the early 2nd millennium BC. Chr. Made. It appears that Lugalzagesi was not killed, as he himself had previously spared Urukagina. He still appears in texts that mention him under Sargon's successor Manishtushu in the royal entourage. According to these inscriptions, even the capture of Lugalzagesi's territory had the consequence that Sargon was accepted as overlord beyond southern Mesopotamia by the city of Mari (located in today's Syria on the Euphrates) and by the country of Elam with its center in Susa in southwestern Iran. Later, however, a new group of monuments glorified Sargon's victory over Elam. Their inscriptions, again only known from more recent writings, mention the most important Elamite field masters as well as the rich booty that was dragged away from the Iranian settlements. In the period that followed, Susa's material culture was again strongly influenced by Mesopotamia, and the cuneiform script and the Akkadian language were also used there for administrative purposes. A third group of 4. The Great Empire of Akkad 33 monuments commemorated the 34 victories that brought Sargon to dominion over Mesopotamia and opened up access to the ocean ports in the Persian Gulf, where it was henceforth possible to trade with Bahrain, Oman and the Indus civilization. On the other hand, Sargon's claim to power was expressed over large parts of the Middle East, because it was announced that the god Dagan of the Syrian city of Tuttul (located near today's Raqqa) would rule over Syria, including the regional centers of Mari and Ebla, up to the cedar forest of the Lebanon Mountains and given to the Silver Mountains of the Taurus Mountains. Sargon's son and successor Manishtushu continued the attacks on the eastern neighbors in Elam. In addition, a victory against “32 cities on the other side of the sea”, behind which one suspects settlements in what is now Oman, was celebrated with the erection of monuments, of which original fragments as well as copies have been preserved. In Oman there is the black diorite rock that the ruler had transported over the Persian Gulf ("Lower Sea") and used on the one hand as material for his victory monuments and on the other hand for a hitherto unique monument, which in detail his purchase of eight extensive plots of land of a total of 3430 hectares in the north of the Mesopotamian alluvial plain. This purchase of land served to consolidate the already existing extensive land holdings of the royal family in the Kisch area. The monument, which is now in the Louvre, impressively documented that the king paid the respective sellers, who appeared in larger families or community associations, a fair price in silver - the standard currency of the Middle East - in front of numerous named witnesses also made rich gifts. It was apparently a concern of Manishtushu that the change of ownership should not be understood as an act enforced by a tyrannical ruler. Manishtushu was followed by his brother Rimusch. That such a succession, for whatever reasons, did not go without problems. 4. The great empire of Akkad34 is clear from the fact that Rimusch had to put down a broad revolt in southern Mesopotamia, in which several armies of several thousand men opposed him; one of his opponents held the title of King of Ur, others were called city princes. The copies of monuments from the Enlil Temple in Nippur testify to this. Later, Rimusch's successful raid to Elam is also documented in the original by means of inscribed consecrations, which he had set up at various Sopotamian temples to celebrate his triumph. Two large-format original monuments of Sargon's third successor, his grandson Naram Sin (around 2200 BC), have been more or less completely preserved. The inscription on the base of a monumental copper statue of a patron god, unfortunately only preserved up to the waist, records that Naram Sin, after having been "victorious in nine battles in one year" and thus crushing a nationwide revolt, was able to crush the whole of the empire was raised to a god: «His city (ie Akkad) demanded from the gods Ishtar in Eanna (ie Uruk), Enlil in Nippur, Dagan in Tuttul, Ninchursag in Kesch (not to be confused with Kish!), Ea in Eridu, Sin ( = Moon god) in Ur, Shamasch (= sun god) in Sippar and Nergal in Kutha that he (Naram Sin) would be made god of their city and they built a temple for him in Akkad. " The ruler then had the cuneiform script prefixed to his name, which was otherwise reserved for the gods, and also referred to himself as "consort of the goddess Ishtar". The rebellion described here and its suppression were also documented in inscriptions on other victory monuments, which, however, are only known from copies. The rebels proclaimed a king of Kish in the north and a king of Uruk in the south - a recourse to the region's ancient political structures. But Naram Sin was able to defeat them after several battles. In an impressive PR coup, the crushing of the revolt was interpreted as a divine proof of favor, which resulted in Na 4. The Great Empire of Akkad 35 ram Sins deification. It remains to be seen whether the simultaneous Old Kingdom of Egypt was the source of inspiration for the idea of ​​the god-like king or whether older Mesopotamian models were used; after all, the human sacrifices documented for the early dynastic rulers' graves of Ur could be taken as an indication that these princes also enjoyed godlike privileges. We do not know how Naram Sin or the other Akkad kings were buried, because their graves are as little known as their capital. The idea that the ruler of Akkad was a living god was also pursued by Naram Sin's son and successor, Shar kali sharri (whose name means "King of all kings"), under whose rule the kingdom of Akkad was broken down again disintegrated. Around 2000 BC The rulers of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur, who in many ways linked to the ruling ideology of the Akkad kings, revived the concept of the God-King for a few decades before it quickly and permanently disappeared from the political and ideological repertoire of the Mesopotamian rulers. The verdict of later Fig. 3: Bassetki statue, Iraq Museum, Baghdad 4. The great empire of Akkad36 literary works in which one liked to refer back to Naram Sin as to his grandfather Sargon as protagonists, was predominantly negative, and the case of the Akkad Empire was associated with this king (and not his successor Shar kali sharri), although contemporary sources cannot support this assessment. The second original monument of Naram Sin is a stele that was excavated in Susa in Iran, where it was moved in the 11th century BC. Was abducted by the Elamite king Schutruk Nach Chunte (p. 83). Until then, it had evidently been on display in one of the Mesopotamian sanctuaries that were looted during the Elamite invasion. The memorial shows Naram Sin and his warriors armed with helmets and composite bows in a battle against fur-clad fighters from Lullubum in the eastern mountains of the Zagros Mountains, who have little to oppose the arrows of the invaders. Copies of other inscriptions on victory monuments as well as original dedications also testify to raids to Magan (today Oman), across Syria to the Mediterranean Sea and to the sources of the Euphrates and Tigris in today's Turkey. They were all headed by Naram Sin personally, who as a result of his successful efforts assumed the title of "King of the Four Corners" and celebrated himself as ruler of the world. Evidence of Naram Sin's territorial control in Syria is a fortress he built, excavated at Nagar (Tell Brak) in northeast Syria, while the nearby Urkesh (Tell Mozan) was under the authority of an Allied local ruler of Hurrian origin (with the title endan), to whom Naram Sin gave his daughter to be his wife. A similar relationship may have existed with Iranian princes, where a clay tablet from Susa in the Elamite language and Mesopotamian cuneiform testifies to a peace treaty between Naram Sin and a ruler of unclear identity, which testifies to an equal relationship between the two parties. Since the reign of Naram Sin, about 4. The Great Empire of Akkad 37,7000 administrative documents from around twenty sites from northern Syria to western Iran document the last third of the era of the kings of Akkad and the mechanisms of their state apparatus. The documents document the introduction of new standardized measurement systems and a special form of cuneiform, which speaks in favor of centralized training for administrative staff. They testify to the consolidation of the empire after the Great Revolt. The texts, as well as the royal inscriptions, were written either in Sumerian or in Akka-dic. The geographical location and thus the local predominant language seems to have been decisive for the choice of language. In the south, Sumerian continued to be used according to the old writing tradition. Otherwise, however, the administration used the Akkadian language as the written language, which is one of the Semitic idioms and which was certainly more easily understood than Sumerian in Syria and northern Mesopotamia because of its close relationship to the local languages. But also in Susa, Iran, Akka-dic was now written, as can be proven not only in the administration, but also with the help of the inscriptions of local officials. Akkadian thus became a written language used in a vast geographic context. Its use prepared the cultural environment in which the cuneiform was adapted for numerous other languages, for example in Upper Mesopotamia for Hurrian (in the late 3rd and 2nd millennia), in Iran for Elamite (from the late 3rd to the 1st century). Millennium) and Old Persian (in the 1st millennium) and in Asia Minor for the Hittite (in the 2nd millennium) and Urartian (in the 1st millennium). The name of the Akkadian language goes back to the city and empire of Akkad. In ancient times, only the southern Mesopotamian version of the language was called "Akkadian", while the closely related Semitic language of northern Mesopotamia was called "Assyrian". Modern research likes to treat Assyrian as a dialect of Akkadian, but this is not justified because of the profound grammatical and lexical differences early 2nd millennium exclusively for the language that we commonly refer to as "Babylonian" today. For Akkad, the drafting, training, equipment and maintenance of his army represented a significant burden on the state treasury. The founder of the empire Sargon proudly recorded the number of his warriors in his writings: "5400 men eat daily in the presence of King Sargon." This union represented the largest standing army of its time, and Sargon's successors, who drove the expansion of the empire, are likely to have increased it even further. However, administrative texts show that - as was the case before in the early dynastic states - conscripts were deployed to a far greater extent, who performed other tasks outside the war season from early summer to autumn and were patterned by the local administration. The strength of the contingents of conscripts can be reconstructed in some places from the administrative documents: the city of Girsu provided around 5,000 conscripts, while Umma had a good 1,600 men to muster. These numbers also fit well with the troop strengths as they appear in the reports of rebellions against the central authority in the Victory Monuments. The rulers of Akkad were thus able to raise huge armies.The troops were subordinate to a group of generals (Sumerian šagana; Akkadian šakkanakkum), who each had their own staff, which included officers and clerks as well as doctors and sign interpreters, like the later generals of antiquity when making decisions and forming strategies were extraordinarily useful. The generals together with the provincial governors formed the highest level of leadership under the king in the kingdom of Akkad. According to the inscriptions of Sargon, the provincial governors were "sons of Akkad", that is, members of his original power base, and that certainly applied to the generals as well. He was happy to install members of his own family 4. The great empire of Akkad 39 in important functions. A particularly prominent example of this is his daughter, who was installed under the name Encheduana as high priestess of the moon god Sin of Ur in this important port city. According to tradition, she is the compiler of a collection of forty prize songs on the most important temples of the empire (arranged according to a geographical principle that spans the arc from Eridu on the Persian Gulf in the south to Eschnunna on the Diyala in the north); She is also the author of very intimate works that address her personal relationship with Ishtar, the divine patroness of her family. After a long life, which she committed to celibacy as the companion of the moon god, a great niece and a daughter of Naram Sin followed her into the office of high priestess of Ur. Other royal daughters are recorded as priestesses at other shrines - for example at the Enlil Temple in Nippur - or as wives of allied rulers. Under Naram Sin's son and successor, Shar kali sharri, there was another revolt, this time "of the four corners of the world", which he initially believed he could master, as the creation of a victory monument known from later copies shows. Gradually, however, the governors in the core country made themselves independent without the state authority having been able to do anything about it. This is evidenced by the inscriptions on monuments that they now erected for their own glory. For example, Schar kali sharri's first-time governor in Lagasch, Puzur Mama, declared himself king of Lagasch. The political influence of Shar kali sharri's successors dwindled considerably before the kingship of Akkad finally came to an end. Among the kings of Akkad, the upper class, from which the governors in the provinces and the highest officials in the temples were recruited, are related by blood and / or related to the royal family. The Mesopotamian historical tradition blamed the Guteans, mountain people from the Zagros, who penetrated through the route along the Diyala to Mesopotamia and were able to assert themselves militarily. 4. The great empire of Akkad40 was primarily to blame for the collapse of the empire of Akkad. This "wild horde" was subsequently to be found in the 1st millennium BC. Chr. Eponymous for every barbarian army that appeared in the Mesopotamian field of vision. But for a weak ruler, those claims to power that his own relatives could raise to the throne were also very dangerous. So whether the incursions of the Guteans from the eastern border of the Zagros Mountains into the Mesopotamian lowlands are to be regarded as the cause or the consequence of the disintegration of the Akkad Empire cannot be clarified at the moment. Gutaean rulers later donated monuments to the Enlil Temple at Nip pur, but it is quite unclear how one can imagine the political structure of Mesopotamia during this period. Numerous testimonies from different sites are known, but their absolute and relative chronological positioning is associated with uncertainties. Modern research also disagrees as to whether the collapse of the central power of the Akkad Empire can be linked to climate change: the great uncertainties in the absolute dating of the times of the rulers of Akkad, together with the short lifespan of theirs Empire, have made it so far impossible to reliably relate the onset of the dry spell that can be traced back to 4200 to 3900 years ago to the political history of Mesopotamia. The drought could have contributed to the collapse of the Akkad Empire, but conversely it would also be conceivable that a deterioration in agricultural conditions in the northern Mesopotamian rain-fed areas weakened the political structures there and thus favored the conditions for the rapid expansion of the Akkad Empire . In any case, the period after the Akkad Empire was characterized by the fact that local rulers were able to act as supraregional statesmen with great ease. The best example of this is Gudea, the city prince of Lagasch, from whom more building inscriptions have come down to us than from 4. The Great Empire of Akkad 41 every other ancient oriental ruler and who, despite his limited territory, built his buildings and monuments from materials from the Middle Euphrates Oman and Iran could have built. While this makes it clear that supraregional long-distance trade continued to flourish, Gudea's direct political influence appears to have been limited. In any case, it proves that a favorable location in the national transport network could lead to wealth and influence even without huge armies and territorial claims. Gudea carried out large building projects, had highly ambitious literary inscriptions and statues made from imported raw materials, and maintained trade relations with Iran and across the Persian Gulf. After Akkad's supremacy ended, Susa also enjoyed its independence as the center of a southwestern Iranian territorial state. The linear script, which is now being used for the first time, with which inscriptions in the Elamite language were carved into numerous monuments of the ruler Puzur In Shuschinak, "King of Awan" (21st century BC), may also be seen as an expression of the newly found self-confidence . Most of the finds come from Susa, but the writing is also documented much further east in Iran, namely in the area of ​​Persepolis in the province of Fars and even near Shahdad in the province of Kerman, and this is probably due to the far-reaching influence of the Puzur Close Inshushinak. Because some of his monuments also have Akkadian inscriptions - that is, they are bilingual (bilingual documents) - we can also understand his linear script. However, their use seems to have been short-lived and limited to the time of this one ruler, while Akkadian and cuneiform were also used in the period that followed. 5. The god kings of Ur After the collapse of the kingdom of Akkad, many of the local rulers were linked by close family ties, which is related to the fact that the kings of Akkad preferentially delegated power to family members and gave allies to themselves through dynastic marriages had bound. Although this may have contributed to the disintegration of their state on the one hand, it also contributed to the fact that southern Mesopotamia did not remain politically fragmented for long. It was Ur Namma who, as king of Ur, the most important port city on the Persian Gulf, reunited large parts of southern Mesopotamia into political unity and bequeathed a stable and tightly organized state to his successors. Ur Namma came from a prominent family from the old metropolis of Uruk and was the brother of Uruk's lord Utu chengal. He could boast of having put an end to Gutaean rule in Mesopotamia, and was therefore proclaimed king over the "four corners of the world". However, his brother Ur Namma made his city Ur, which he initially ruled as his brother's governor, into the permanent center of a reunified Me sopotamia. How exactly this change of power from Utu chengal to Ur Namma and the change of the power center from Uruk to Ur took place is unclear today. Ur Namma is considered to be the founder of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur, whereby the count is based on the so-called Sumerian King List, which already lists two earlier royal families of Ur as rulers over all of Mesopotamia in the distant past. As already stated, the Sumerian King List is today understood as an ideological manifesto, which has as its content the indivisibility of the Mesopotamian kingship and thus under one of the successors of Sargon of Akkad konzi