At about 2300 B.
C. an empire stretched from the Mediterranean Sea,past the Tigris and Euphrates River, and all the way to the Persian Gulfwasfounded. This empire was know as the Akkadian Empire. And the mostpowerful of the Semitic kings was a man named King Sargon.
The Akkadians, a group of people who lived, also in Mesopotamia, hadconquered the Sumerians. The Akkadians spoke a Semitic language veryclosely related the modern language of Arabic and Hebrew, unlike theSumerians. And the most powerful of these kings was Sargon of Akkad. Sargon of Akkad, a name that means “true king”, reigned for 56 years. During his reign, he founded one of the first great empires in history.Order now
Hestarted his empire in Mesopotamia during the 2300’s B. C. and soon gainedcontrol over much of southwestern Asia. He was one of first kings tomaintain a permanent army .
Infact, his empire was so well organized, that itsurvived under Sargon’s successors for more than sixty years. Sargon came from Kish. It is told that Sargon was born humble. Hisfather was unknown but his mother was a priestess.
When a new born baby,he was sent down a river in a basket, much like Moses, and raised by agardener under the protection of goddess Itar and became cupbearer at thecourt of Kish. Although Sargon’s childhood story sound like the biblicalMoses, his later life was more warlike. Sargon was an usurper, someone whounlawfully seizes the throne. Sargon of Akkad started his career as a highcourt official under the rule of King Ur-Zababa of Kish. Sargon laterconquered Kish and other Sumerian city-states. After seizing power in Kish,Sargon chose to not stay in the capital of Kish, but to build a new capital.
Atthe beginning of his reign, the south of Mesopotamia, also known as Sumer,was under the rule of Lugalzaggesi. If he defeated Lugalzaggesi, Sargon’sterritory would expand significantly. But Sargon, instead, turned his attentionto the north of Mesopotamia. Sargon led his soldiers through a series ofvictories that extended his empire as far west as the Mediterranean Sea and asfar east as Iran. Part of his policy and a reason for his success, wasappointing members of his family to important posts. Sargon wrote that thesons of Akkad should fulfill the tasks of the local authorities.
During his rule, Semites, which Sargon was, replaced the Sumerians asthe powerful inhabitants of Mesopotamia. Later these Semites came to becalled Akkadian, after the capital of Sargon’s. Sargon founded the city ofAkkad around 2350 B. C.
The exact location of the city is unknown, but isprobably located near Kish. The Akkadian empire consisted of the region ofsouthern Mesopotamia and the region along the Tigris and Euphrates. Thiswas the first real empire in Mesopotamia. There has been a bronze maskfound in Akkad which may have resembled Sargon.
(see fig A) Akkad wasfit for only a king. With all of Mesopotamia in his power, Sargon went on to bigger,foreign conquests. He may have even made his way into Egypt, Ethiopia, andIndia. Legends are vague about the extent of his victories, but much of theknown world had felt the horror of Sargon’s armies. Separated by jealousiesand quarrels among themselves, the great city-states of Ur, Umma, andLagash were unable to gather together and make a stand against the all-conquering, all-powerful Sargon. Chariots, infantries, and spearmen weresorted into a vast army by the Sargon.
Since Sargon’s subjects were very rebellious, he stationed garrisons atkey points in the Akkadian empire. His subject cities sent tribute from the”four quarters of the known world. ” Trade boomed in Akkad. “he made theships from Meluhha, the ships from Magan, the ships from Dilmun tie upalgside the quay of Agade(also Akkad),” said one of Sargon’s inscriptions onthe obelisk of Manishtushu(see fig B), a successor of Sargon. The namesprobably refer to the Indus Valley, Oman, and the island, Bahrain. Laterlegends sent Sargon’s armies to these places, also as well as central Anatolia,the island of Crete, and the unknown “Tin Country.
“In the cities of Sumer, Sargon made his authority into the basis ofreligious traditions shared by Akkadian and Sumerian cultures. One of thetitles he claimed were those of “anointed priest of Anu. ” Anu being the skygod, or An in Sumerian, “great ensi of Enlil,” the designated area used bySumerian city-state kings. Despite Sargon’s soldiers and his association with Sumerian gods,discontent was too abundant to ignore.
The city-states appeased themselvesto Akkadian rule and irritated for their independence. After Sargon died, he was succeeded by his two sons. Rimu, the firstwas instantly confronted with a circumstance that was typical for times tocome in Mesopotamia. After the succession of Sargon, many cities tried toget rid of his unequal successor, his taxes, and his tributes. The citizens triedthe military strength of Rimu and his judgment to hold to the territory.
His next successor and son, Man-ituu, meaning “who is with him?”possibly suggesting that Man-ituu and Rimu were twin brothers. Man-ituuwas confronted with a phenomenon. An inscription on a black diorite stelafound in Susa, now at the Louvre in Paris. Witnesses of Man-ituu’s victoryover “32 cities” in Iran “at the other side of the sea”, which was An an inFars, the capital of the Elamites. The Akkadian empire lasted 100 years atleast, and when it ended, Sumerian city-states continued to prosper, but newinvaders swept over the eastern Fertile Crescent.
The dynasty of Akkad lasted until 2200 B. C. and consisted of 5 rulers. Sargon lived a full and prosperous life. He was born into poverty and died aKing.
He built an empire and expanded it beyond expectancy. The GreatKing Sargon of Akkad was just that. King Sargon of Akkad will forever beknown as a king of Akkad.