UNIVERSAL BIOGRAPHY LIBRARY

 

 
 

 

 

RIMUSH AND MANITUSHU

(2279-2254 BC)

 

 

The next two kings of Agade and successors to the empire of Sargon were his two sons, Rimush and Manishtusu, who reigned, according to the king-list, in reverse order of age, for that authority assigns nine years to Rimush, and afterwards fifteen to Manishtusu, who is said to have been the elder brother of his predecessor; but it must be added that there are variants of the lengths of reigns. Both kings seem to have begun with campaigns against rebels, involving expeditions into the lands east of the Tigris and into Elam, but it is Manishtusu who, in one of his monuments, refers to 'all the lands. . .which my father Sargon left' as having 'in enmity revolted against me', thus implying that he was in fact the immediate successor of Sargon, as might be expected from his primogeniture. There seems no evidence at present capable of settling this, and therefore the order of the king-list may provisionally be kept.

Rimush, in any case, was clearly faced upon his succession with a general revolt. The chronology of his military measures is as little ascertainable as those of his father, but in one place he tells how in the third year after the god Enlil had given him the kingdom he carried out a victorious invasion of Elam, and relates the numbers of prisoners and slain. His first years were doubtless occupied with the other campaign described in his inscriptions, one that would necessarily precede the re-subjugation of the more distant provinces in the east. The south country of Babylonia proper, the ancient 'land' and the great Sumerian cities, had taken the opportunity of Sargon's death to throw off the domination of the interlopers who, however much they had come to resemble and to imitate culturally the Sumerians, must have been regarded by these with some of the same feelings as they afterwards were to cherish against the Gutians or the Amorites—indeed, the Akkadians were in this as in other respects forerunners of the Amorites. It has been observed that we find no trace of hostility in the records between Sumerians and Semites: thus stated it is true, for there was no ethnic distinction involving these terms, but the opposition comes out clearly in the campaign of Rimush which may have taken place in his first year. He states explicitly that his opponents were 'the cities of Sumer', and that he treated them with exemplary severity, for after their defeat he brought forth 5700 of their soldiers and (apparently) put them into prisons. The leader of this revolt was the king of Ur; he is called 'king' by his conqueror, and evidently occupied, by some sort of general recognition, the sovereignty over the 'land' which was the distinction recorded in the king-list. This is, in fact, duly recorded by that authority, for it is possible to insert the name of this Kaku as last of the Second Dynasty of Ur, otherwise broken out of the documents as we have them. Herewith is obtained (if the restoration be correct) synchronism between rulers named in the king-list, and also one more example of the characteristic weakness of that compilation, for in it the dynasties of Ur II and Agade are divided by no less than six other dynasties and twenty-two kings.

Kaku, the leader of the Sumerian revolt, was captured together with his city, which was rendered defenceless by having its wall dismantled. The calamity which fell upon Ur at this moment is perhaps reflected, however obscurely, in the lament ascribed to Enkheduanna, the first holder (known to history) of the celebrated office of high-priestess to the Moon-god in that city, which became traditionally the prerogative of sisters and daughters of the reigning monarch, and so continued until the very last years of Babylonian record. Enkheduanna has left a monument of her own, and her name upon some cylinder-seals belonging to her servants. The lamentation represents her as the victim of a disaster which had afflicted Ur—the Moon-god, being angry, had ceased his care for his people, and had suffered his priestess to be driven into exile, powerless, as it seems, to appease the wrath of her own brother against the rebellious city.

But there was more than one centre of the revolt, for Rimush gathered his prisoners from other 'cities of Sumer', and the inscriptions reveal the names of those who, as good subjects of the national 'king' and as patriots, took part in the battle against the alien dynast. Two or these were the neighbours Lagash and Umma, ancient rivals but always likely to be under the same control as they were under the same necessities. On this occasion they were led by their respective ensi; the name of Umma's chief is missing, that of Lagash is written with characters of uncertain reading. The ruler of Umma was probably the superior of these two, for he is described as accompanied by his 'forerunner', while other local chiefs have their 'messenger' or vizier. Notable allies, destined alike to be trophies of the victorious Akkadian, were Meskigala, ensi of Adab, and Lugalushumgal, ensi of Zabalam. From all of these places the inscriptions of Rimush reckon long tales of slain and prisoners.

Being as a result of this campaign secure in his rear, the king was now able to address himself to reconquest of the east. His inscriptions do not distinguish clearly between wars in Sumer and in Elam, but they have at least a tendency to relate the events in the two regions apart, and it may be assumed that the operations were spread over two campaigns in different directions.

The preliminaries of the Elamite campaign were prepared at the end of his subdual of the Sumerian cities, for in one place he states distinctly that, after his victory over Kaku and the southern allies, 'on his return' he smote Kazallu, took prisoner its ensi Asharid, and inflicted upon the rebel city an enormous loss of slain and captives. Elsewhere in the inscriptions Der is associated with Umma in a common disaster, and it is not likely that Umma was able to face Rimush again in a second year.

Whenever it was, the expedition against Elam, which is described in a group of texts copied at Nippur, was to prove the greatest triumph of Sargon's successor. Though Elam is named generally, the scene of his principal victory was the district of Barakhshe, where his father before him had fought one of his most glorious wars.

According to the inscriptions of Rimush the armies of Elam and of a land called Zakhara had united against him. Their leader was Abalgamash, king of Barakhshe, who had with him Sidgau, called 'governor' of Barakhshe. In command of the host of Zakhara was the ' governor' of that land. Sidgau, at least, was an old opponent of Sargon, and his restoration was doubtless an act of defiance. The battle took place 'between Awan and Susa', apparently upon a river named in an obscure phrase which seems to tell of 'pouring' it over them(?). However achieved, the victory was complete, and the king counted over 16,000 defeated, perhaps slain, and over 4000 prisoners, as well as a great weight of gold and copper some of which he dedicated to the god Enlil in Nippur. The result of this victory was not only the complete recovery of Barakhshe from the control of the Elamites but the destruction of some Elamite cities and the establishment of at least a tributary sovereignty over Elam itself: 'Rimush, king of Kish, was lord over Elam'. The king ends with a strong affirmation that his kingdom was now unchallenged, Enlil had revealed (?) it, and 'by the gods Shamash and Aba1 I swear it; no lies, but truly!'

Rimush was now equal to his father and declares that 'he held for Enlil the upper and the lower sea and the mountains, all of them'. His boast has been substantiated by the widespread finding of trophies dedicated by him throughout his empire, especially fragments of alabaster vases inscribed with his triumph over Elam and Barakhshe, being themselves part of the countless spoils brought back from there. In the extreme north of Mesopotamia one of these fragments has been found at the great but still unnamed site of Tell Brak, and even so far, to the headwaters of the Khabur, did the sway of Rimush extend. Concerning the remainder of his rule, nine years in all, there is no information; presumably he enjoyed his power and revenues peacefully. But his reign and life were ended by a palace conspiracy, in which he was assassinated by certain of his courtiers 'with their seals', or 'sealed tablets', as certain omens relate, whatever weapons are indicated by this. Another omen announces the 'presage of Agade, of Rimush and Manishtusu': what happened upon this occasion is not recorded, but it might possibly be taken to mean that Manishtusu had some hand in the murder of his brother, whom, innocent or guilty, he succeeded.

His first years may have been peaceful, for there is a stone figure of the king, found at Susa, upon which Eshpum the ensi of that city inscribed a dedication to a local goddess for the benefit of his master. But, later or sooner, the revolt was renewed and the battles of Sargon, perhaps of his successor, had to be fought again. Yet Manishtusu, when he writes that 'all the lands. . . which my father Sargon left had in enmity revolted against me and not one stood fast', seems to ignore the reign of his brother, if in fact this had preceded.

His tasks against the rebels were those which had confronted his forbears; he had to subdue both south and east. In one place occurs an interesting detail about this operation—he divided his army into two parts, but he does not relate what these two divisions had as objectives. One of them, at least, met the forces of two different but allied, and presumably adjacent, lands Anshan and Sherikhum, which were defeated and their king (for both seem to have been under one ruler) carried off in triumph and led into the temple of the Sun-god in Sippar, accompanied with rich gifts for the god out of the booty captured. The other division was perhaps the force which waged a war ' on the other side of the sea' against thirty-two kings of cities who had assembled for battle. These were defeated, their cities subdued, their leaders slain, and their country occupied 'up to the silver-mine'. Manishtusu took the opportunity of shipping stone from this region to the quays of Agade, and made a statue of himself to stand before the god Enlil at Nippur. He also transported timber for his templebuilding at Sippar.

The scanty accounts of this campaign (no more than a few phrases divided between two inscriptions) afford only a momentary and baffling glimpse, but it is of a wider world. Anshan, a name celebrated until the last days of Babylonian history, was one of the foremost Elamite provinces, generally coupled with Susa, of which it takes precedence in the titles of Elamite kings. Despite this frequent appearance in many different ages and contexts there is very poor evidence of its geographical position, and modern authorities have been in doubt whether to place it north or south of Susa. Its sister-realm of Sherikhum is, on the contrary, mentioned only once by Sargon and in this inscription, which does no more than indicate a likelihood of its being a coastal region beyond Anshan. This maritime location is supported by a remarkable variant to the text of the 'cruciform monument'; instead of' Anshan and Sherikhum' (with the simple determinative of 'place') the variant substitutes 'Anshan and the city of Meluhha'. The last name has long provided one of the enigmas of ancient geography, for, very briefly, later texts undoubtedly apply it to the distant African lands of Nubia or Ethiopia, whereas in earlier contexts (and some later as well) it is almost as clearly applied to a country not only less remote, but lying in the east rather than the west. The normal route to Meluhha was by sea, and there are many references, beginning from the Agade period onwards, to sea-borne imports of timber, gold, semi-precious stones, and ivory from Meluhha. Moreover, its name was regularly associated with that of Magan, a land which can now with some confidence be located on the shores of the Gulf of Oman, and may even correspond in part with the medieval and modern Makran. Since Meluhha is always implied to be more distant than Magan, its appearance in place of Sherikhum, while furnishing yet another argument in favour of the ' eastern' Meluhha, is surprising in its suggestion of nearness, for Sherikhum, whatever its true location, was not beyond the reach of a military expedition from southern Iraq, whereas Meluhha has been thought, with some plausibility, to have at least included the flourishing upstream cities of the Indus, now famous but unknown until their recent discovery, with perhaps also undiscovered ports at the delta of the great river.

There is unassailable material evidence of relations between the two civilizations of Mesopotamia and of Sind, in the forms both of natural products and of artefacts, and it was in the Agade period that such relations seem to have been at their height. Yet it is difficult to imagine how an army of Manishtusu can have penetrated to any country even within the radius of Mohenjo Daro, or how any such extent of territory can have been in the hand of a single ruler, 'king of Anshan and Sherikhum (or, Meluhha)', as the inscriptions variously call him.

A further difficulty would be raised if the following passage in the text went on to relate that the king crossed the Lower Sea in ships to deal with the other body of his enemies. But although there is unmistakable reference to ships and to the thirty-two hostile kings assembled' on the other side of the sea', the actual phrase supposed to describe the crossing is of doubtful meaning, and it is hardly necessary to imagine an invasion of the desert coast of Arabia.

 

NARAM-SIN

(2254-2218 BC)