Cultures > First Dynasty of Babylon

First Dynasty of Babylon

Background

The First Dynasty of Babylon was an Amorite kingdom established out of the city of Babylon following the collapse of the Akkadian Empire. While the later civilization would come to be known as the great Babylonia and its capital one of the most prominent cities in the ancient world, the First Dynasty started from humble beginnings.

Origins

The origins of the First Dynasty of Babylon is hard to decipher and is still a source of great mystery among historians. Due to the high water table of the region there is not much archaeological evidence recovered from Old Babylon itself. Most of the evidence and history of Babylon actually comes from neighboring civilizations such as Elam, Assyria and the Hittites.

Not much is known about the first founding leaders of Babylonia with all of the rulers prior to Hammurabi not even using the designation “king” to describe themselves. This means that during this time Babylon was most likely a fledgling city-state and still evolving into a kingdom. Since its inception Babylonia has been ruled over by various groups with the First Dynasty of Babylon being founded by a ethnic group known as the Amorites. The Amorites were a different group than the Akkadians who lived in the north that had established the civilization of Assyria out of the remnants of the Akkadian Empire.

Hammurabi

Under the rule of Hammurabi the civilization of Babylonia would rapidly transform into a brief world power before being conquered by its neighbors. When Hammurabi ascended to the throne around 1728 BCE the territory of Babylonia consisted of Babylon and the surrounding towns of Dilbat, Sipper, Kish and Borsippa. However, under Hammurabi the city of Babylon would grow to great splendor and become one of the major powers in Mesopotamia.

Surrounded by Babylon were many enemies. The Assyrians to the north were led by Shamshi-Adad I and the city-state of Larsa nearby was ruled by Rim-Sin I. In the thirteenth year of Hammurabi’s reign he conquered the city of Larsa and gained control over the remnants of historical Sumerian cities known as Nippur, Uruk, Ur and Larsa itself. In doing this Hammurabi acquired nearly all of the southern fertile crescent for Babylonia.

Around 1761 BCE Hammurabi would go onto conquer another great city-state known as Eshnunna. Upon conquering territories he began to connect them to his growing trade network in order to increase the wealth and prosperity of Babylon. Following the victory over the city-states Hammurabi engaged Assyria itself and managed to capture several cities near the Zagros Mountains. The final major victory for Babylonia under Hammurabi was the conquering of the city-state of Mari which allowed him to acquire an empire unrivaled since the Third Dynasty of Ur.

A recent translation of the Chogha Gavaneh tablets which date back to 1800 BC indicates there were close contacts between this town located in the intermontane valley of Islamabad in Central Zagros and Dyala region.

Collapse

Following the reign of Hammurabi the First Dynasty of Babylon slipped into a deep state of decline. It slowly lost territories to its surrounding neighbors until the Sealand Dynasty also known as the Second Dynasty of Babylon took control over the southern portion of Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia Chronologies

First Dynasty Kings

Sumu-Abum

Sumu-la-El

Sabium

Apil-Sin

Sin-Muballit

Hammurabi

Samsu-iluna

Abi-Eshuh

Ammi-Ditana

Ammi-Saduqa

Samsu-Ditana

Sealand Dynasty

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources