The Rise and Fall of Ancient Babylonian Power

Thirsty to advance their position amongst the kingdoms, the kingdom of Elam set its eye on Hammurabi’s kingdom and that of Larsa. They attempted to spark a war between the two kingdoms. However, an alliance was made between Hammurabi and the king of Larsa once they realized the plan of Elam. Together, they defeated the Elamites, even though Larsa wasn’t as much help in the military department. In this article, you will learn what sparked Hammurabi’s interest in conquering other city-states.

The actions of the kingdom of Larsa made Hammurabi quite angry that they did not contribute as much as his kingdom when fighting against the powers of Elam. As a result, he decided to take control of the entire lower Mesopotamian plan by the time 1763 BC rolled around.

With his mind on the south, Hammurabi overlooked the notion of protecting the north and did not deploy soldiers to this part of the region. While he continued his expansion on the opposite side, unrest began to stir. However, he was able to conquer the armies in the remaining northern states, including the troops of a former ally who actually surrendered without enduring any further conflict. In just a couple of years time, Hammurabi was successful in uniting all of Mesopotamia under his rule. At that time, only the city-states of Qatna and Aleppo kept their independence.

Over the years, a great number of contract tablets that date back to the reigns of Hammurabi and those to succeed him have been uncovered. 55 of his own letters have also been found, which shed light on some of the daily tasks that go into running an empire, whether it’s dealing with the aftermath of a flood or making sure the many herds of livestock are well taken cared for. When Hammurabi passed away, he would leave this entire burden to his son Samsu-Iluna in 1750 BC.

Samsu-Iluna (also known as Samsuiluna) reigned over Babylon from 1749 BC to 1712 BC. However, he was not able to maintain all that his father had built. During this time, a great deal of provinces was lost. He also encountered many battles over power and land. For example, he fought against Rim-Sin II of Larsa. The bulk of the fighting took place on the border of Elam and Sumer. In the end, Rim-Sin II was captured and put to death. During this battle, parts of cities Ur and Uruk were destroyed.

Samsu-Iluna also faced a revolt, led by Illuma-Ilu, who falsely posed as a descendant of Damiq-Ilishu, who was the last King of Isin. The revolt was raised in Sumer and Illuma-Ilu was able to gain freedom of Sumer at this time. The king of Elam (Kutir-Nahhunte I) also took the chance to attack the Babylonian king. Samsu-Iluna was defeated, which allowed Elam to once again gain their independence from Babylon.

Next, the Kassites invaded the Babylonian Empire, while Samsu-Illuna was still in charge. 1741 BC marked the first time that this had occurred in history. It is believed that the Kassitic leader by the name of Gandash was behind this move. He would later gain the title of conqueror of Babylonia. Concrete written evidence of this is not in existence.