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Ancient West Asia , the Akkadians

Around 2300 BC, Sargon of Akkad eventually conquered the land located between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Like the Amorites, they spoke a Semitic language. When taking a look at Sumerian literature, you will learn that Sargon was the son of an Akkadian high priestess and a father who did not own much of anything. It is suggested that his father may have been a gardener of some sort. This article tells the tale of the Akkadians.

The Birth of the Akkadians

Sargon supposedly didn’t start off on the right foot after being born. His mother abandoned him, placing him in a basket of reeds and shoved him off down the river , floating in the same manner as Moses a thousand years to follow. However, Sargon was rescued and after becoming close with the goddess Ishtar, was brought up in the king’s court.

As Sargon grew older, he constructed a new city for himself, which he called Akkad. He appointed himself king as well. Then, at a gradual pace, he started to take over the lands that surrounded him. As a result, he is associated with building the first empire , known as the Akkadian Empire. So, what did Sargon contribute to ancient West Asia? He is believed to have established the notion that sons would succeed their father as king. Before this, new kings were put into power through an election for each city, where rich men would take part in voting in an individual.

Sargon was also victorious in unifying his empire by placing his daughter (Enheduanna) as the high priestess for life of Nanna (the moon god) at Ur. She was also made the high priestess of the sky god An at Uruk. As a result, his daughter became greatly powerful. In the midst of her power, she penned a pair of long hymns in honor of the gods that read in the favor of the empire that Sargon created.

As king of the Akkadians, it was Sargon’s sons that succeeded him when he died. His first-born took over, followed by the other when his brother was assassinated. Unfortunately, the second son was also killed, leaving Sargon’s young grandson Naram-Sin to assume the position of king. His luck was much better than his father and uncle, as he would live to rule for 56 years. He is known as being a rather successful leader.

During his time, the Akkadian Empire would reach from Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast to Turkey in the north to south in the Persian Gulf region.

Naram-Sin was then succeeded by his own son, Shar-kali-Sharri, but he was not as well-versed in holding the Akkadian Empire together like his father. About 2100 BC, the empire slowly deteriorated , reduced to a collection of small kingdoms and cities , in a manner much similar to the Sumerians.  In the end, it took about 100 years for the Empire of Akkad to collapse. It fell nearly just as fast as it had developed. This would lead to what was known as the ‘Dark Age’ for the culture.