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(2334-2279 BC)


the eMPire of akkad and its relation to kish


1. Sargon, king of Agade, through the royal gift of Ishtar was exalted,

2. and he possessed no foe nor rival. His glory over the world

3. he poured out. The Sea in the East he crossed,

4. and in the eleventh year the Country of the West in its full extent his hand subdued.

5. He united them under one control; he set up his images in the West;

6. their booty he brought over at (his) word.

7. The sons of his palace for five kasbu (around) he settled,

8. and over the hosts of the world he reigned supreme.

9. Against Kasalla he marched, and he turned Kasalla into mounds and heaps of ruins;

10. he destroyed (the land and left not) enough for a bird to rest thereon.

11. Afterwards in his old age all the lands revolted against him,

12. and they besieged him in Agade; and Sargon went forth to battle and defeated them;

13. he accomplished their overthrow, and their widespreading host he destroyed.

14. Afterwards he attacked the land of Subartu in his might, and they submitted to his arms,

15. and Sargon settled that revolt, and defeated them;

16. he accomplished their overthrow, and their widespreading host he destroyed,

17. and he brought their possessions into Agade.

18. The soil from the trenches of Babylon he removed,

19. and the boundaries of Agade he made like those of Babylon.

20. But because of the evil which he had committed the great lord Marduk was angry,

21. and he destroyed his people by famine.

22. From the rising of the Sun unto the setting of the Sun

23. they opposed him and gave [him] no rest.


The name of Sargon of Agade, or Akkad, bulks largely in later Babylonian tradition, and his reign has been regarded by modern writers as marking the most important epoch in the early history of his country. The reference in the text of Nabonidus to the age of Naram-Sin has caused the Dynasty of Akkad to be taken as the canon, or standard, by which to measure the relative age of other dynasties or of rulers whose inscriptions have from time to time been recovered upon various early Babylonian sites. Even those historians who have refused to place reliance upon the figures of Nabonidus, have not, by so doing, detracted from the significance of Sargon's position in history; and, since tradition associated his name with the founding of his empire, the terms "Pre-Sargonic" and "Post-Sargonic" have been very generally employed as descriptive of the earlier and later periods in the history of Sumer and Akkad. The finding of early inscriptions of Shar-Kalli-sharri of Akkad, and of tablets dated in his reign, removed any tendency to discredit the historical value of the later traditions; and the identification of Shar-Kalli-sharri with the Sargon of the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian scribes ceased to be called in question. In fact, if any one point in early Babylonian history was to be regarded as certainly established, it was the historical character of Sargon of Agade. But a recent discovery at Susa has introduced a fresh element into the problem, and has reopened its discussion along unfamiliar lines. Before introducing the new data, that must be explained and reconciled with the old, it will be well to refer briefly to the steps by which Sargon's name was recovered and his position in history deduced.

Sargon's name was first met with in certain explanatory texts of a religious or astrological character, which had been recovered from Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh. Here we find references to the name Sharrukin, or Sargon, king of Agade, from which it appeared that he had played an important part in Assyrian heroic mythology. In the year 1867, attention was first directed to Sargon's place in history when Sir Henry Rawlinson briefly announced his discovery of the famous Legend of Sargon, in which the king is represented as recounting in the first person the story of his birth and boyhood, his elevation to the throne and his subsequent empire. The text of the Legend was published in 1870, and two years later it was translated by George Smith, who added a translation of the Omens of Sargon and Naram-Sin, which he had just come across in the collections of tablets from Kuyunjik. Smith followed Rawlinson in ascribing to Sargon the building of the temple E-ulmash in Agade, by restoring his name as that of Naram-Sin's father in the broken cylinder of Nabonidus found by Taylor at Mukayyar.

Up to this time no original text of Shar-Kalli-sharri's reign was known. The first to be published was the beautiful cylinder-seal of Ibni-sharru, a high official in Shar-Kalli-sharri's service, of which Menant gave a description in 1877, and again in 1883. Menant read the king's name as "Shegani-shar-lukh", and he did not identify him with Sargon the elder (whom he put in the nineteenth century BC), but suggested that he was a still earlier king of Akkad. In 1882 an account was published of the Abu Habba cylinder of Nabonidus, which records his restoration of E-babbar and contains the passage concerning the date of Naram-Sin, "the son of Sargon". In the following year the British Museum acquired the famous mace-head of Shar-Kalli-sharri, which had been dedicated by him to Shamash in his great temple at Sippar; this was the first actual inscription of Shar-Kalli-sharri to be found. In place of Menant's reading "Shegani-shar-lukh", the name was read as "Shargan,", the two final syllables being cut off from it and treated as a title, and, in spite of some dissentients, the identity of Shargani of Agade with Sargon the elder was assumed as certain. Unlike Sargon, the historical character of Naram-Sin presented no difficulties. His name had been read upon the vase discovered by M. Fresnel at Babylon and afterwards lost in the Tigris; and, although he was there called simply "king of the four quarters", his identification with the Naram-Sin mentioned by Nabonidus on his cylinder from Ur was unquestioned. Further proof of the correctness of the identification was seen in the occurrence of the name of Magan upon the vase, when it was discovered that the second section of his Omens recorded his conquest of that country.


Mace head of pink marble; votive inscription of Shar-kali-sharri to Shamash at Sippar (BRITISH MUSEUM).


WITH the appearance of this imposing figure, vast but dim to later generations of Babylonians hardly less than to us, the historical memory of the people was enriched with its most abiding treasure. Yet the written tradition, so far as it is at present available to us, does scant justice to a king who could not only achieve greatness but could record it for posterity more clearly than any before and most after him. The inscriptions of Sargon must have been numerous and their remains show that they were informative and detailed as to his warlike and religious, possibly even his civil, transactions. With a different language something of a new spirit came into the records, and seemed for a time to overcome the historical reticence which is so disappointingly manifest in other not inglorious periods of the nation's experience.

The inscriptions are mostly lost or not yet recovered, though a few remain in copies made by scribes who perused the statues and trophies laid up in the great central shrine at Nippur. The Sumerian king-list spares but two or three remarks upon the founder himself and relapses into its customary tale of names and numbers for the rest of the Dynasty of Agade; and all else is anecdote preserved and perhaps adapted for special ends.

A miraculous or a mysterious origin is essential to superhuman characters, and Sargon was the first to show that the taste of the ancient eastern peoples was to be for the latter. Like several notable successors he had, and did not disguise, an obscure birth and a humble beginning. The account of this is not only explicit but conveyed in a form which purports to be his own words. Only the first few lines are preserved of Assyrian tablets which begin, 'I (am) Sargon, the mighty king, king of Agade', and go on to relate the birth and earliest years of the speaker, name in broken lines some of his subsequent conquests, and then break off. It is not, indeed, likely that the words are an authentic utterance of the great king; the class of composition to which this text belongs was regularly cast in the form of personal record as though taken from an inscription, but there is much to suggest that they were the productions of a later age, having a didactic bent and perhaps a certain philosophy of history. One such recorded inscription even purported to recount, in the god's own words, the life and beneficent achievements of 'the god Marduk, the great lord'. Despite this element of forgery, these accounts were certainly based upon authentic tradition, and there is nothing incredible in the statements attributed by this 'legend' to Sargon.

According to this, therefore, his mother was a priestess, his father an unknown wanderer. He was born in secret at an obscure village on the Euphrates called Azupiranu, perhaps 'Saffron Town', from a local product which has kept its name almost unaltered. His mother, to rid herself of the child, enclosed him in a basket which she covered and made fast with pitch, and launched it upon the river. Miraculously preserved from drowning, he was carried downstream, and fished out by one Aqqi, a labourer in a palmgarden, who noticed the basket as his bucket dipped in the water. Aqqi took the child and reared him as his own, making him to follow the same profession.

At this point the tradition is taken up by two corroborative texts; one is the king-list itself which says that Sargon was a gardener, the other a Sumerian story of his life which repeated the details about his place of origin, and about his mother and father. The next incident of this miraculous career was that the goddess Ishtar bestowed her favour upon the youth, and owing to this he was soon found in the service of Ur-Zababa, known from the king-list as a king of the Fourth Dynasty of Kish. This potentate lived in great state, for one of the texts named above calls him 'the shepherd (who) rose like the sun in the temple of Kish' and he had the curious distinction of giving his name to a musical instrument. But he came to offend the god Marduk, and this in a matter where Sargon was concerned. The latter had attained the intimate degree of cupbearer to Ur-Zababa, who at this time commanded him to change the drink-offering of
E-sagila. Sargon, evading this impiety, and redoubling his own service to the god, weaned the divine favour from his master, and Marduk made the servant lord of the land (and, it is added, the world) in place of Ur-Zababa. But as it may be observed that the Dynasty of Kish continued for another five reigns after this successful defection, Sargon was at first no more than a rival, not a destroyer.

The earlier years of his rule may have been devoted to providing himself with a capital city, for all the sources describe how he built this in a new place. But in doing so he too committed some act which the jealous god took as an impiety, for he is said to have dug out earth from Babylon for the purpose of building a city 'next to Agade', and to have called this city 'Babylon'. The incident is related in two chronicles and an omen, but its purport is hardly clear—it means perhaps that Sargon is accused by these late recorders of ambitiously attempting to make for himself a capital which should have the prestige enjoyed by Babylon in subsequent ages, and regarded by them as immemorial.

Such was the earlier history of the hero, with an appropriate dash of legend, but with little that need be untrue. There is much to bespeak his alien origin, and to indicate the upper Euphrates for his birthplace, although, if the story of his solitary journey be true, he cannot be considered the leader of an inferred invasion of 'Akkadians' taken to be the first 'historical' migration of Westerners into Babylonia. But his native tongue, which he was to graft upon the old Sumerian script, qualified him to enter service in the court of Kish, where kings with Semitic names had been among the earliest rulers. The rest is no more than the achievement of many an unknown youth marked out for fame—for such a man of destiny the especial favour of a deity might be taken for granted.

The foundation of his new city is placed by our authorities after other chief events of his reign, but might be thought to occur more naturally after his revolt from Ur-Zababa, for he did not become master of any other existing city, and his new era could best be inaugurated from a new capital. This was signalized also by the adoption of a new name, for the obscure boy was assuredly not called at birth 'True King'. His career justified the name and gave it a magic for generations after. It was proudly borne by two Assyrian kings, the second and greater of whom disdained for it the family style of a father who had himself, upon attaining the throne, assumed the traditional glory of the name Tiglath-pileser.

A just confidence in his own powers dictated his choice to Sargon of Agade, in an age to which the name adopted as an inspiration and an omen was not unfamiliar. In the reign of Naram-Sin one of his opponents, who led the revolt of Kish, adopted the defiant name 'He rallied Kish', under which he has been commemorated. Even the water-man Aqqi who rescued the infant Sargon bore a name which may have proclaimed his occupation. A more ancient custom was honoured when the Akkadian dynasty was established in authority, and a pair of names, 'King of all Kings' and 'Son of all Kings', which translated the old Sumerian royal convention, was found among the offspring of Naram-Sin.

Upon the chronology of Sargon's reign and the order of its events we are hardly at all informed, and can be guided only by what seems the natural progression. The next dynasty in the kinglist after that in which Ur-Zababa ruled at Kish was the third of Uruk, and its only member was Lugalzaggisi, who is credited with a reign of twenty-five years. The main outlines of this king's career can be traced from his own inscriptions and from other allusions. As ensi of Umma he took up again the inveterate war against his neighbours at Lagash, and avenged the many defeats of his predecessors by a savage destruction of the rival city. Some time after this he gained possession of Uruk, and his reign of twenty-five years is doubtless reckoned from that event. During these years he added the successes claimed in his only long inscription, found upon vases dedicated at Nippur. Under various titles, priestly as well as civil, he was the ruler and benefactor of Umma, Uruk, Ur, Larsa, Nippur, and two other religious centres, and specifically he asserted that the supreme god had appointed him 'king of the land', thus assuming in the most formal terms the ancient title of sovereignty among the cities of Sumer. He nowhere claims the rulership of Kish, and it is not known how or by whom the defeat of that city, posited by the king-list, was effected, nor whether the victim was Ur-Zababa or one of his five successors. But a wider prospect than local domination is opened for the first time with Lugalzaggisi; in a striking passage of unmistakable import, if slightly obscure wording, he proclaimed that not only had the god given him the kingship over 'the land' (kalam, i.e. Sumer), and 'directed the eye of the land upon him', but also that he 'had rendered the foreign lands (kur-kur) subject at his foot, and from the rising sun to the setting he had bowed the neck (of all) to him'. When this state had been achieved Enlil in addition 'from the Lower Sea (by) the Tigris and Euphrates unto the Upper Sea made straight its road, from the rising sun unto the setting he made him to have no opposer'. If by no more than a vigorous sortie, Lugalzaggisi had broken out from those limits beyond which the Sumerian chroniclers had not looked, and had shown the way to a new world for his successor to conquer.

With its usual formula the king-list records the end of this prosperous reign, and the transfer of supremacy to Agade. That Lugalzaggisi was defeated, and also captured, by Sargon we have not only this tradition, but the explicit statement of the victor, who relates in one of his inscriptions the course of his campaign. A later narrator already quoted had an account of the preliminaries to this contest, but the condition of the text and its obscure phrases show little more than that messages were exchanged between Sargon and Lugalzaggisi, the latter at length refusing to listen to the overweening demands of the challenger, but being compelled finally to admit his messenger. Appeal to arms soon followed, and Sargon was first in the field. He marched swiftly to Uruk, and seems to have carried the city by a surprise attack, for he 'smote the city of Uruk and destroyed its wall 'before he battled with the man of Uruk and defeated him', although, as another inscription adds, this commander was aided by the forces of fifty town-governors. Only after these two disasters did Lugalzaggisi himself reach the field of battle, where he shared the same fate; Sargon 'captured him and brought him in a yoke to the gate of Enlil' at Nippur as a trophy to the national god, whose choice for the kingship he was shown by the issue to have forfeited, and Sargon to have inherited.

His next task was to complete the subjugation of the rest of Sumer, and his first objective the city of Ur. Whoever was the general of its forces (its Second Dynasty was probably ended by Rimush) he was defeated in the field and Sargon 'smote his city and destroyed its wall'. Next he turned against the territory of Lagash, now as often in close alliance with Ur, but having putaside for the nonce its ancient feud with its neighbour Umma.

E-Ninmar was the first of the cities within the domain of Lagash to be attacked and destroyed, 'and its territory from Lagash to the sea he smote (and) his weapons he washed in the sea'. Of this South Babylonian alliance only one stronghold now remained, and Sargon turned back to deal with Umma. The result was no different—'with the man of Umma he did battle and defeated him and smote his city and destroyed its wall'. Hereby he was master of all the old Sumerian homeland, and his principal opponents were probably all his captives. Lugalzaggisi was taken and led in triumph, the ensi of Umma was shown beside him upon a monument which has perished but its epigraphs have come down in a later copy, and perhaps the celebrated Urukagina of Lagash was also captured at E-Ninmar, for a person of that name, whose father was formerly ensi of Lagash, is mentioned upon a monument of Manishtusu.

Another inscription of Sargon adds to this tale of victories over the old Sumerian cities a kind of summary; it reckons that he won altogether thirty-four battles, as the result of which a real advantage was gained, for 'the ships of Meluhha, the ships of Magan, the ships of Tilmun he moored at the quay in front of Agade'. That is, the Persian Gulf was now in his power, and he was able to receive the products of the lands upon its shores or accessible only by its trade routes.

Ur-Nanshe, at the beginning of the last Early Dynastic age, had been the first to proclaim that he obtained timber from Tilmun, and it was this trade which now passed into the hands of Sargon. These oversea lands of the south are reckoned to his empire both in the legend of his birth, and in a late geographical list of his conquests.

The chronology of events in the reign of Sargon being uncertain, because not fixed by extant date-formulae, it will be convenient to see what other sources of information have to tell about this early stage of his career, before tracing his conquests abroad. Much of what is known about these portentous figures of the Agade dynasty has been preserved in a very curious medium, the lore of those who studied the interpretations of omens derived from the examination of the entrails of victims slain for sacrifice, in pursuance of an absurd but widely accepted belief that the gods would, in answer to prayer and ceremony, indicate in this strange way their decision as to the issue of an enterprise.

Ability to read what the god was deemed to write upon the liver and other organs of sheep was, indeed, the most highly esteemed of all accomplishments, and was the privilege of a closed corporation of 'seers' who professed to trace their origin from the age before the Flood, and admitted none but those qualified by birth and personal endowment to the freedom of their mystery, which was even then to be attained only by arduous study of their technique and scriptures.

These latter were the tablets of omens so largely represented in the literature which has survived to our own day, particularly in the remains of the Assyrian royal library at Nineveh. The prognostications of these are for the most part general, foretelling success or discomfiture in battle or sometimes in policy, but almost exclusively with regard to military affairs. A few, however, differ by coupling the marks observed upon the entrails with the mention of historical characters, and relating that the marks in question were formerly present when these personages were about to accomplish the feats for which they were celebrated in tradition. A fairly large number of the great figures of the Babylonian past are included among this company, but whereas most of them fall to be mentioned only once or twice Sargon and Naram-Sin are the heroes of many episodes recollected from notable oracles given to the diviners. Such was their importance that not only do they occur rather frequently in the usual form of brief allusion, but a special collection of observations, with historical notes of unparalleled form and length, was devoted to their augural experiences. How totally this differed from the usual contents of the seers' tablets is demonstrated by the survival of almost the same matter under quite a different guise in a chronicle of the late Babylonian period.

The omens do not fail to mark the dramatic rise of Sargon in his youth. Among the oldest remains of the haruspical superstition are some clay models of the liver found at Mari; one of these models shows and describes in technical terms some signs around the gall of the liver which were 'the omen of Kish, of Sargon'; presumably they foreshadowed the fall of Kish before the former cupbearer of its king, and his occupying the throne. From the special collection described above comes another sign, whereby Ishtar manifested her choice of him and her will to accomplish all his desires. This favour of the goddess was enough 5 there soon occurred to him an omen which preluded his supremacy, 'he had no rival'. More explicit is the message of a peculiar clay model which shows a fantastic face made up of the convolutions of an unbroken line, representing the freakish appearance of a sheep's intestines. This repulsive apparition was thought to depict the 'face of Humbaba', an outlandish giant who had been slain by the comrades Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Such a portent had been
found in one of his sacrifices by Sargon: 'omen of Sargon who became master of the land'.

One other tradition may concern his foundation of a new residence: '(he) let the sons of his palace dwell for five leagues on every side', to which a second version of the same event adds ' five districts on every side having been cut off, he enlarged his palace, and the (head)men stood by him and said to him "Where shall we go?" In these few words is sketched a re-allocation of landed possessions in favour of adherents, similar to that which may be registered by the obelisk of Manishtusu, to be described later—it was dispossessed owners who thus demanded angrily where they were to go.

As well as omens concerned with campaigns of the conqueror in the northwest and in the east there are a few also which were given to him at unspecified times; one describes some occasion, perhaps upon a campaign in the east, when a great storm fell upon his army, but at length it emerged from its distress: 'omen of Sargon to whom the light returned after going through the darkness'. Finally there comes the suggestion that the tempest occurred on the eve of a battle or in the midst of it: 'omen of Sargon whose soldiers a downpour enveloped and they exchanged their weapons among themselves'.

Two of Sargon's inscriptions place after the account of his victories in southern Babylonia a summary description of distant triumphs in a march up the Euphrates and widespread conquests in Syria. The original inscriptions (or rather the copies of them which have been preserved) devote only a few lines to these events, but find room for some interesting details. The first stage of his march ended at the place called Tuttul, now the town of Hit, some ninety miles west of Baghdad. Here he 'knelt to the god Dagan... and he gave him the upper land, Mari, Iarmuti, Ibla, up to the cedar forest and the silver mountains'. A curious note is added upon his numbers—'5400 men ate bread daily before him'. Beside this original and authentic account the omens and chronicle have also something to relate of this western expedition; the chronicle says that 'in the eleventh year the land of the west to its limit his hand reached, he made its word (as) one, he set up his images in the west, their booty he brought over (sea) on rafts'.

The version in the omens does not differ greatly except in naming the third instead of the eleventh year, and this receives a certain support from a reference to a 'third year' in the story called King of the Battle to be described later. This congruent account is nevertheless preceded in the chronicle and the omens by sentences of completely opposite import, the chronicle averring that Sargon crossed the 'sea in the east', whereas the omens call it the 'sea of the west'. It seems likely that the chronicle is here in error, since the following lines in both documents agree in relating to the west, and include the curious detail that the conqueror 'set up his images in the west'.

Similar claims to conquest, and even to the establishment of memorials in the Lebanon, were registered by other early kings, Iakhdunlim of Mari and his supplanter Shamshi-Adad I, but it was the much later Sargon II of Assyria who erected his monument in a unique situation far to the west of all others, in Cyprus, possibly in emulation of his pattern. The omens have also three other references to a conquest of the country of Amurru, that is the west; the first two6 relate generally that he 'went to the land of Amurru, defeated it, and his hand reached over the four regions (of the world)', but the third omen states that he 'went to the land of Amurru. . .smote it for the second time (and) his warriors. . .brought him forth from the midst'—the last phrase remains enigmatic owing to damage of the text.

Possibly the 'second time' was the 'eleventh year' of the chronicle. Later tradition thus agrees with Sargon's own testimony that he marched up the Euphrates and became master of Syria, with its various resources. Upon this point the only details are given by the king's own inscription which, in addition to Hit, mentions three places and two districts. The latter are not difficult to locate; the 'cedar forest' is generally agreed to be the Amanus mountains, for their name is coupled with this description by Naram-Sin and by Gudea. The 'silver mountains' are rather less definite, but it seems necessary to take 'silver' no less literally than 'cedar', assuming that Sargon was interested chiefly in the valuable products of his conquests. The Taurus range, therefore, with its many deposits of lead and silver must be indicated. Mari is no longer in doubt; it was the site now called Tell el-Hariri, on the Euphrates, near Abu Kamal, as proved by recent excavation, and a later ruler couples it in his kingdom with Tuttul or Hit, just as it was the next stage in Sargon's march.

Iarmuti was a place and a port upon the coast of the Mediterranean, and the evidence of the Amarna letters seems to place it somewhere south of Byblos, though a location rather nearer to the other districts mentioned might be preferred. Ibla was conquered again by Naram-Sin who couples its name with Armanum which may be Aleppo itself, but the more significant reference is furnished by Gudea, in a generation not far distant, who relates that he fetched three different kinds of timber from 'the city Ursu, of the mountain of Ibla'.

The situation of Urs(h)u, which figures also in the Mari letters and in a picturesque episode of early Hittite history, has been the matter of much argument in recent years, but it is now regarded as most likely that it was a place upon or near the Euphrates, not far to the north of Carchemish. While therefore it is beyond doubt that Sargon carried his arms to the limits of north Syria, later tradition avers much more. One source of this is a composition which bore the name King of the Battle. Most of this story is preserved upon a tablet in a very imperfect condition which was found in Egypt with the Amarna letters, and there are furthermore evident allusions to its subject in a broken text accompanying the celebrated 'Babylonian Map of the World' in the British Museum. After some very uncertain preliminaries it appears that Sargon hears of the complaints of merchants from the city of Purushkhanda (the Hittite Parshukhanda), but it is not clear what their grievances were, nor to whom these were due; but they appealed to Sargon to champion their cause and offered him rich inducements. Only from the sequel can it be inferred that the alleged oppressor was a certain Nur-daggal, who was probably ruler of their city, and this must be, presumably, Purushkhanda. Despite the hesitation of his followers Sargon resolved to undertake this expedition and relieve the aggrieved merchants. He enquired of the road to Purushkhanda, and was told of its incredible difficulty; one stage was encumbered with blocks of lapis-lazuli and gold, another with forest trees, others with thorny thickets. At length, overcoming all these, Sargon reached the enemy's city, to the consternation of Nur-daggal who had boasted that he could never accomplish a march through the floods and forests. His appearance in these circumstances was enough, for it appears that Nur-daggal made instant submission, and presumably agreed to redress the wrongs of the merchants, who had convenanted with Sargon the price of his aid. After this the army grew apprehensive, and murmured that it was time to return home, which was done, and Sargon resumed a peaceful rule in his own city.

The central interest of this story lies in the introduction of the city called Purushkhanda, for this place, if not exactly located, is at least proved, by evidence from two different periods, to lie in the neighbourhood of Caesarea (Kayseri) in Cappadocia. It figures not only in the Hittite records, but more prominently in the affairs of the early Assyrian merchants whose business documents have been found in greatest number at a site called Kultepe, about fifteen miles from Kayseri; and from Kultepe (the ancient Kanesh) there were only four caravan stages to Purushkhaddum, as it is called in those tablets. It is generally concluded to have lain to the south or south-west of the great Salt Lake of central Anatolia. If the King of the Battle has any historical foundation, Sargon did not stop short at the mountain barrier, but extended his sway deep into Asia Minor.

There are suspicious features in this narration, and these, coupled with its incomplete state and consequent want of clarity, have raised doubts whether any authentic history can be drawn from it or whether the whole incident must be dismissed as a later flourish upon a legendary figure. It is hardly reassuring that the story seems to originate in Syria rather than from Babylonia itself, and that it is somehow involved in the description of strange and far regions which was inscribed upon the 'Map of the World'. Despite this it cannot be overlooked that genuine historical elements are present, especially the merchants in a district where copious evidence exists of their activity in a later generation. It is true that some four hundred years intervened, and it might be thought that conditions of a later age were reflected back to Sargon's days. The tablet from Amarna, the application of this title 'King of the Battle' to the Egyptian overlord by another writer in the Amarna letters, and the fragment of a Hittite version, are all of the fourteenth century, and consequently still farther removed from the time of the Cappadocian merchants than these were from Sargon. The tradition of this north-western campaign no longer stands unsupported, but it is hard to decide whether the story gains in credibility from the remains of similar legends which have appeared more recently. The most relevant of these is found upon a tablet which has at least the warrant of an earlier, though still far from contemporary, date. Its contents can be understood only in a small part, for not merely is it mutilated by damage, but even the more legible passages are of very obscure meaning. Yet a situation of some general similarity seems to be described; Sargon is setting out upon an expedition to the 'land of Uta-rapashtum', after a dramatic colloquy with his officers in a strain of mutual exhortation. But suddenly, without transition, a city is found to be under attack and is in flames—it is utterly destroyed, and its district far about on all sides so laid waste that not even a bird could find a lodging there. This last detail recalls what is related in the chronicle and omens about Sargon's victory over the city of Kazallu. But in that case there is nothing to indicate the direction of his march, for Kazallu, though still unlocated, is likely to have lain not very far from Agade and from Babylon itself. In subsequent, but still less intelligible, passages of this same tablet are found (or can be restored) the names of other places conquered by Sargon, and the narrative ended with words encouraging his successors to emulate his achievements, in the same style as the lines which conclude his 'legend'.

It is interesting to observe that very similar stories were current concerning Naram-Sin, the famous grandson of Sargon, whose relations with the north-west will be related in their place below. For the present purpose, the most significant feature in these is the recurrence of Purushkhanda(r) in a later text which purports to tell, with many mythical accompaniments, how the empire of Naram-Sin was invaded by a demoniac horde which made that town the first conquest, as though it had been the most distant bound of the Akkadian possessions. Recently too there has come to light a fragment concerning an expedition of Naram-Sin which appears to have borne a curious likeness in matter and phraseology to the King of the Battle, for a speaker is found urging, on behalf of himself and others, that the hero should undertake a long march through mountains and deserts. This he does, under favourable signs, and is at length met by a messenger who craves mercy for the land of Apishal. Now this campaign against Apishal is well attested as one of the triumphs of Naram-Sin, and the narration of it in a style so clearly similar to the King of the Battle may well suggest that Sargon's exploit was no less authentic, both stories applying the same romantic colour to facts which might seem exciting enough in themselves.

A possible foray into a west still farther than Asia Minor is doubtfully attested by another document of the later Assyrian period, which is of still more uncertain authority. This is a compilation of geographical names, coupled with many figures of distances between localities, or distances of these from an unspecified centre, and in each section appears the name of Sargon as a conqueror. It is hardly possible to doubt that by this name is intended the ancient king of Agade, and that the whole document, in spite of the obscurity of its purpose (for most of it is illegible), must be regarded as at least involving a statistical survey of Sargon's empire, as that was believed by later tradition to have been constituted. This list has more importance for its bearing upon Sargon's conquests in the north and east than in the directionof Syria and farther west. But in a general view of Sargon's kingdoms at the end it names as 'lands beyond the Upper Sea' (i.e. the Mediterranean) two places called Anaku and Kaptara. The former may be interpreted as the 'Tin (Country)', the latter is doubtless the same as Kaphtor of the Old Testament, both indicating Crete, as now usually accepted. Of Kaptara or Kapturu there is definite information in the letters discovered at Mari, which had some trade in the products of that distant
island. Sargon is said, in the omens, to have crossed the sea in the west; that he sailed farther than any subsequent Mesopotamian ruler has at least thus much testimony.

The 'Tin (Country)' is altogether incapable of giving any firm indication; the name, strangely written, perhaps does not represent a country at all, and even granted this it has not been settled whether the metal usually written as the Sumerian an—na, nagga was tin or lead—the evidence is now positively claimed to indicate tin. If tin, the ancient sources of this are very far from clear, the Caucasus region being perhaps the most likely, with some possibility of Spain, but in either case the metal must have come in to Babylonia by long-distance trade, and from no definable place to which Sargon can be pictured as directing his arms. If lead, its origins are not very much clearer. Suggestions have ranged as far as the south of Spain, but there are nearer possibilities not so hard to imagine. One is the famous lead-mine of Laurium, source of the wealth of Athens in a later age, but after all the most likely location would be in the south-east of Asia Minor, and to include this among the 'lands beyond the sea' need mean no more than that the approach was across the Gulf of Issus. The Anatolian peninsula is and always has been famous for great deposits of galena, and a recent authority has drawn up a list of no less than twenty-six, among which those of Bulgar Maden, of Ak Dag, and of Ala Dag might all come in question as attainable by Sargon. If any of these gave its name to the 'Tin (or Lead) Country', an expedition thither might coincide with the subject of the King of the Battle: an adventure designed to secure the double profit of a soldier-of-fortune's fee from the relieved merchants, and a load of precious metal to take home from the distant land.

In the remains of Sargon's own inscriptions there is no detail, nor indeed mention, of his conquests in the north. But the chronicle and omens relate a successful war with Subartu; the aggression came from one or the other (the reports differ) and in the event Sargon ' defeated them, cast them in heaps, and overthrew their widespread host', carrying off their possessions to his city of Agade. The land of Subartu was also included in the catalogue of Sargon's provinces supplied by the geographical list already noticed. Near the beginning the limits of this land were defined:' from... to Anzanzan (is) Subartu', and in a later section the 'space' of Subartu is given as 120 beru, that measure being the distance covered on a march of two hours, which has been reckoned in modern equivalent as nearly seven miles. It is, however, very uncertain what is meant by the 'space' of the countries here defined, and since the north-western limit of Subartu is lost from the list, the south-east being perhaps Anzan (Anshan), a country which certainly lay in the nearer vicinity of Susa, it is not easy to decide what territory was included in this conquest of Sargon. It was at least one of the most extensive, its 120 beru being exceeded only by Akkad with 180, and its people being already described as 'widespread'. But if Subartu were taken as extending to Syria the dimension for it must in any case greatly exceed that of Akkad. Despite this difficulty it is impossible to ignore the phrase of Naram-Sin, 'ruler of Subartum up to the cedar-forest', or to evade its implication unless an improbable land of cedars was to be found somewhere in the hills east of the Tigris. But in fact Sargon's own inscription leaves no room for doubt; it was by Hit and the Euphrates that he made his way to the 'cedar-forest', and it was this region which Naram-Sin boasted of ruling over as Subartum.

The most notable part of this conquest was the district which later was known as Assyria. There is now a variety of evidence that its great cities, Nineveh and Ashur, were in the dominion of Sargon's successors, and their conquest may reasonably be ascribed to himself. At Nineveh was found an inscription of the early Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I which records the former building of a temple there by Manishtusu, who left at Ashur an inscription of his own, as Naram-Sin left one at Nineveh. The city of Ashur is named upon the tablets of Akkadian date excavated at the place then called Gasur, and later Nuzi, not far from the modern Kirkuk, and there is known to have been a large proportion of Akkadian names among the inhabitants of Ashur at this time. Some of the stone figures found in the lowest levels of the Ishtar temple there belong, not to the Early Dynastic period, but to the Dynasty of Agade or even later. If in the former time they were the products of Sumerian cultural influence rather than of conquest from the south, in the latter they are more probably the memorials of a ruling class established by the kings of Agade. Finally there is an impressive bronze head discovered at Nineveh which by its style and mastery alike seems to claim a place in this age of high achievement, and if rightly so dated may represent one of the Sargonic kings.

The next sector, in a geographical sense, of the conquests of Sargon was in the hill country to the east and north-east of Babylonia, and upon these campaigns we are best informed, both by his own inscriptions, and by other evidence, partly contemporary, but mostly of later date. To begin with the first: a general expression in the copied inscriptions of Sargon claims that 'the man of Mari and of Elam stood before Sargon', but this is made more explicit in other passages, containing lists of the rulers and places from which the conqueror took tribute. The districts were Elam, B(W)arakhshe, Awan, and some places of lesser note, and the principal characters were Sanam-simut, called ensi of Elam, and Lukh-ishshan, called son of Khishep-rashir, king of Elam.

Here for the first time occurs a contact with the native records of Elam, for a king named Khishep-ratep was the ninth member of a dynasty ruling in the district of Awan, and this name was, according to the native king-list, borne by the son of Lukh-ishshan. Over all these lands and rulers Sargon's triumph was complete, and his inscriptions close with the tribute or plunder of Awan itself and of Susa, where the sole surviving monument of the great king has been discovered. A passing allusion to the eastern campaigns is made by a date-formula which commemorates the 'year (when) Sharrumkin went to Simurum', probably the neighbourhood of the present Altin-Koprii, on the Lower Zab, between Kirkuk and Irbil. This slight information obtained from contemporary records is but little augmented by later tradition.

Three omens survived to mark Sargon's victorious advance into Elam, toBarakhsheor Markhashe, in the course of which he perhaps encountered a great storm, for one omen tells how the goddess Ishtar delivered him safely out of the darkness, and another states baldly that 'having marched to the land of Elam he slew the Elamites' and brought a calamity upon them. In its turn, the 'geographical survey' already described above includes in Sargon's dominions the lands of Arrapkha, Lullubi, Armanum, Gutium, Parashi, Tukrish, Anshan, and Elam, which, taken as a whole, might be regarded as comprising almost the entire mountainous region in south-western Persia.

Sargon's conquests, whatever the order in which they were made, had now come full circle with his triumph over the princes of Elam. One result of them was naturally a great inflow of wealth, and there are preserved from a later age parts of a long poetical composition which celebrated the rise and the fall of Agade, particularly under Naram-Sin. At its beginning this poem refers to the days of Sargon—his defeat of Kish and Uruk, and his choice by the supreme god Enlil, who granted him 'the priesthood and the kingdom from the lower to the upper (land)'.

At this time Inanna made Agade into her residence and dwelt in the temple there, giving prosperity to her citizens; their food and drink were of the finest, their festivals were continual and splendid, they were enriched and diverted by an influx of useful or exotic animals, their treasuries were full, the people danced to music in the streets, and unceasingly ships were bringing to the quays the products of distant lands. But a reversal of all this glory had not, it seems, to await the days of Naram-Sin, for there is a strong tradition that the reign of Sargon himself was clouded at the end by difficulties both external and internal. This account is preserved only in the late chronicle and omens, but is not likely to be merely a lesson upon the instability of fortune. Accordingly, in his old age (such is the more probable version) 'all the lands revolted against him', and so serious was his peril that 'they beset him in Agade'. But the old warrior was still himself, for 'Sargon went forth to battle, defeated them, cast them in heaps, and overthrew their widespread host': the omens add a picturesque conclusion, 'their chattels he bound upon them and cried (they are) thine, O Ishtar'—thus dedicating his spoils of war. Other lines in the chronicles and omens refer obscurely to a sacrilege which he was deemed to have committed in the building of his new city of Agade; it was too near, or too like, the holy city of Babylon, and attracted the wrath of the god Marduk, who caused his subjects to rebel against him 'from the rising to the setting of the sun, and gave him no rest'.

What was actually the state of Sargon's empire at his death may be partly inferred from the action which was forced upon his son after his accession.





THE brief but prosperous reign of Urukagina of Lagash came to a catastrophic end about 2397 BC, at the hands of Lugal-Zaggisi. Fragments of white alabaster vases, which the conqueror dedicated to Enlil in Nippur, are at present our principal sources for the record of the new king. He of course attributed his authority to the earth-god:

“When Enlil king of the lands had given to Lugal-Zaggisi the kingship of the Land (i.e. Sumer), had set him righteously before the Land, and had subdued the foreign lands to his power…"; so runs a passage from his inscription.

Urukagina describes him as the priest-king of Umma and his own inscription mentions his father Ukush, patesi of Umma. But he transferred his capital to Erech and assumed the title King of Erech and king of the Land. “The Land” in later inscriptions, after the term Akkad had been given to the Semitic north, means the Sumerian south only, that is, the region from a point below Kish to the sea. But in pre-Sargonic times these two ethnological divisions were not recognized, and up to this point the Sumerians still regarded the north as their 'Land'.

In the introduction to his historical inscription Lugal-ZagEsi recognizes various gods of Sumer as his patrons, placing at the head of the list the grain-goddess Nidaba of Umma. Then follow Anu, Enlil and Enki, or the trinity Heaven, Earth and Sea, a passage which reveals the rise of a systematic pantheon. He then claims to have been the choice of Babbar, the sun-god of Larsa, and of Sin, the moon-god of Ur, born of Nidaba and nursed by Ninkharsag, the mother-goddess of Adab. And he realized his ambitions, for he subdued the lands from the Lower Sea (Persian Gulf) to the Upper Sea (Mediterranean) along the Tigris and the Euphrates, and instituted prosperity and peace in his vast dominion. He bestowed royal favors upon the cities of Sumer: Erech, Ur, Larsa, Umma the city of his god Shara, and Nippur are specially mentioned. He erected a statue of himself in the temple of Enlil at Nippur, inscribed “Lugal-ZagEsi, lord of the province of Erech, king of the province of Ur”, followed by a long curse against anyone who should destroy the statue or erase the inscription. The inscription is in Semitic, proof that Lugal-ZagEsi had been a patesi under the Azag-Bau dynasty of Kish, and had been accustomed to the use of Semitic as the official language of the empire. No tablets dated in his reign have been found in any Sumerian city. He seems to have destroyed Lagash completely.

After a reign of 25 years Lugal-ZagEsi was deposed by Sargon, who founded the empire of Agade about 2372. He was placed in fetters and taken to Nippur. The king, who had destroyed the mighty power of Kish and founded a great Sumerian empire, saw his work pass away as quickly as it was made and the Semites again were rulers of the land.

Of Sargon, founder of the Semitic dynasty at Akkad (Agade), many romantic stories were current. Two chronological tablets state: “At Agade Sharru-kin-lubani, a gardener and cup-bearer of Ur-Ilbaba, having been made king, ruled 55 years”. (Ur-Ilbaba was the third king of the fourth dynasty of Kish and is assigned a reign of 80 years - according to another tablet, six years-, and as five other kings of Kish and the reign of Lugal-Zaggisi intervene with a total of 86 years, Sargon cannot have been the king's cup-bearer. It was a posthumous cult of Ur-Ilbaba at Kish in which the young Sargon officiated).

The name (Sargon) means “a legitimate king verily is created”. He was known in history as Sharrukin or Sargon, but the original name was obviously chosen in mature years to justify his claims. A legend records that his mother was a lowly woman, his father he knew not; he was born in concealment at Azupirani on the Euphrates; his mother cast him adrift on the river in a reed basket and he was discovered by Akki an irrigator, who reared him and made him a gardener; but Ishtar loved him and he became king for 55 years. According to an earlier Sumerian fragment his father was Laipum and he grew up among the cattle. It also refers to a messenger of Sargon sent to Lugal-Zagesi, who maltreated the messenger and returned a haughty reply. The inscription is so defective that the facts which attended the outbreak of war between them cannot be discovered. Lugal-ZagEsi, however, seems to have sent his wife to Sargon as concubine.

So largely did Sargon and his descendant, Naram-Sin, influence the history of the period that a record of their omens was handed down in the Assyrian and Babylonian books of liver divinations. His name is especially connected with hepatoscopy, i.e. divination by means of the liver. Thus, on a great liver-omen text of the seventh century BC it is said: “It is a decision given to Sargon, it is favorable, in calamity there will be deliverance”.

Among other records, a Chronicle of early kings has been recovered which gives the events of the reigns of the six most famous rulers before Sumu-Abu (2225 BC). It begins with Sargon. The king attributes his accession to the aid of Ishtar, the Semitic goddess of Akkad, identified with the Sumerian Innini, goddess of battle. His career began with the conquest of Erech. He defeated the army of Erech and a coalition of the governors of 50 cities which had rallied to the standard of Lugal-Zagesi, and he carried away the king Lugal-Zagesi a prisoner to Nippur. His son Naram-Sin speaks in praise of his father, who destroyed Ur and gave liberty to the people of Kish. Lugal-Zaggisi had taken special pains to oppress this old capital of the Semites, and Sargon, himself attached to the priesthood of Kish, probably organized his rebellion there before he chose Agade as his capital.

The old Sumerian cities in the south refused to submit and he now invaded the territory of Ur, defeated its army and destroyed its wall. Turning eastward he overran the territory south of the Shatt el-Hai and occupied its chief cities, E-Ninmar(ki) and Lagash, and triumphantly washed his weapons in the sea. Since he already possessed Nippur and the whole of the extreme south it is strange that Umma between Nippur and Erech still held out. This warlike city was the last of the Sumerian centres to be occupied. He now proclaimed himself king of the Land, under the high tutelage of Enlil, and returned to rebuild the city of Kish.

The order of the subsequent events is uncertain. By right of possession of Kish he assumed the title king of universal dominion. His next expedition seems to have been made against Elam and the districts east of the Tigris. He prepared to invade Elam from the south, and returned to the sea border which at that time extended north of the modern city Kurna. “The sea in the east he crossed”—and this statement in the Chronicle is not to be confused with the crossing to the west, mentioned in the Omens. He Smote the Elamites, besieged them (in Susa?), and cut off their supplies. Beside Susa, the capital, he conquered other cities (Barakhsi, Ganni, Bunban, Gunilakha, Saba and Shirikhum), whose names are Elamite.





In his third year he invaded the west, which he calls the Amorite Land. He claims to have subdued the whole of the western lands and to have crossed the western sea, that is the Mediterranean, by which he may mean an occupation of Cyprus. From the “land of the sea” he caused booty to be brought over. Again in his eleventh year he subdued the entire west after he had finished an expedition beyond the eastern sea and erected his statues in those lands. The Omens mention an expedition to the west in four different sections. An inscription Copied from his statues at Nippur has a more definite account of his western conquests. “Enlil gave unto him the upper land, Maer, Yarmuti and Ibla, as far as the cedar forests and the silver mountains”. The silver mountains refer to the Taurus, especially the regions near the Cilician Gates, and the discovery of silver in this range of mountains in the twenty-ninth century BC proves the great age of silver mining in Asia Minor. The cedar forests probably refer to the Lebanons. The land of Yarmuti occurs repeatedly in the letters of Rib-Addi, governor of Gebal (Byblus) in the Amarna Letters and as a great storehouse of grain and food; but its situation is uncertain. (Ibla, which together with Armanu was smitten by Naram-Sin, was probably the Ibar of the geographical list of Thutmose III (so Sayce), and possibly the classical Pieria, north of Antioch on the sea coast). In the Ibla mountains on the coast lay Urshu -the classical Rhosus, and the modern Arsus-, whence, later, Gudea brought aromatic cedars and plantain. A tablet of the time of Bur-Sin, whose rule was recognized in this region, contains a list of offerings from citizens of Maer, Ibla and Urshu).

It is disputed whether Sargon visited Cyprus. The Omens of Sargon say definitely that he crossed the sea of the west, but the Chronicle has a confused statement: “When he had crossed the sea in the east, in his third year the land of the west unto its end his hand captured”. Some good authorities (e.g. L. W. King) have assumed that the Omens are in error. They mention three expeditions to the west (Amurru), besides the one of his eleventh year, in which he went to the “setting sun” and crossed the “sea of the setting sun”, and the Omens add that “he caused their booty to be brought over”. The statement is explicit. The Chronicle is either confused, or it means to say that there was an expedition to the west in the eleventh year of Sargon following upon an eastern invasion. It seems impossible to explain away the voyage of Sargon across some part of the Mediterranean, and naturally Cyprus was his first objective. Moreover, a stele of Sargon's son, Naram-Sin, has been found at Diarbekr. Although Naram-Sin does not claim to have crossed the western sea but only to have reached Ibla and an unknown land, Armanu, yet a seal which mentions the 'Divine Naram-Sin' was found in Cyprus by di Cesnola. The inscription, which is of the writing of the twenty-third century, reads “Apil-Ishtar son of Ilubani servant of the god Naram-Sin”; and the type of this seal-inscription appears first in the period of the last dynasty of Ur and becomes extremely common in the age of Hammurabi. The design on the seal is pure Syro-Hittite, as used on seals of the Cappadocian tablets, a mixture of Babylonian and Hittite design. There is no specifically, Cypriote symbolism (griffins and monsters) on this seal; and we can infer from it that Naram-Sin became a mythical hero in the Syro-Hittite region and his cult survived there for at least five centuries.

The fame of Sargon was such that a range of mountains in the Lebanon region from which frankincense (lupanu) was obtained was named the Mountain of Sargon. Concerning his expeditions in these lands a Hittite legendary poem was written called the “King of Battle”, of which the first tablet of the Semitic version has been recovered at el-Amarna. In this legend the opponent of Sargon seems to be Nurdaggal of the city Burshakhanda unto which the “way was grievous”. Nurdaggal felt secure beyond his barriers: “Unto us Sargon will not come, surely the shore of the flood will prevent him. Who is the king who has come and seen our mountain?” And after Sargon captures the city of his foe, Nurdaggal says unto him: “The soldiers of thy god have caused thee to cross (saying): the mountains may he ascend, the river may he cross. What are the lands which can rival the city Aggata (Agade), what king can rival thee?” We are left in doubt concerning the movements of Sargon. Sayce interprets the passages as referring to Syria, Cilicia and Cappadocia. These lands were regarded in early legend as one of the six regions beyond the world-encircling sea and by reason of his distant conquest Sargon was actually supposed to have been translated to this Hyperborean land along with the hero of the Flood, Ut-Napishtim. A map based upon this mythical cosmology describes those trans-oceanic regions inhabited by monsters where dwell also Sargon, Ut-Napishtim and Nur-Dagan. Sayce has very plausibly connected Nurdaggal of the legend of Sargon, “King of Battle”, with Nur-Dagan. In view of the fact that the historical legend of Sargon was probably written under the influence of the old cosmology in which Asia Minor was regarded as beyond the sea, the present writer considers that it is possible to interpret the legend, as Sayce does, without seeing in it an expedition to Cyprus.




After these conquests Sargon divided his vast empire from the lower sea to the upper sea, from the rising to the setting of the sun into districts of five double hours' march each, over which he placed the “sons of his palace”. By these numerous delegates of his authority “he ruled the hosts of the lands altogether”. A severe contest with the Elamitic land and city Kazalla, whose king, Kash-tubila, revolted, now followed. “He turned Kazalla into dust and heaps of ruins; he destroyed even the resting-places of the birds”. This important city, often mentioned in later history, seems to have lain east of the Tigris in the latitude of Baghdad. Sargon's last expedition to the east was therefore in the latitude of his own capital, and into the province of Awan, where memories of a former kingdom still inspired the ambitions of its people.

“In his old age all the lands revolted and besieged him in Agade”; so runs the Chronicle, which adds that Sargon went out to battle and utterly overthrew their hosts. On the other hand, the Omens record a rebellion of the elders of his own land who besieged him in Akkad. The statement of the Chronicle is probably correct, for an inscription on his statue at Nippur refers to his smiting 30 governors of rebellious cities. Northern Mesopotamia along the upper Tigris next claimed his attention. At that time the territory later known as Assyria had been occupied by Hittite-Mitanni people whose land was called in Semitic Subartu, gentilic Subaru (Greek, Sabiroi, Sapeires, Saspeires). The old Sumerian civilization at Ashur, where the goddess Innini-Ishtar had a temple from remote antiquity, had been overrun by these advance guards of the Hittite race, who now attacked Sargon. According to one account Sargon invaded Subartu with his hosts and annihilated their armies. In another the latter attacked Sargon and were grievously smitten. He carried away their spoil unto Agade.

The Omens place the founding of the city Agade soon after Sargon's first invasion of the west. He took soil from the outer walls of Babylon and consecrated the boundaries of his new capital by tracing its outer walls with the earth of the holy city of Marduk. He made it after the model of Babylon. But according to the Chronicle this was the last act of his reign, and it adds that Marduk was angry because of this sacrilege and destroyed his people with hunger. “They united against him and he found no rest”. These two passages contain the first reference to the famous city of Babylon. It is thus seen to be pre-Sargonic; the cult of its god Marduk, son of the water-deity, Enki of Eridu, was already established according to the Chronicle; but as this reference to Marduk does not occur in the Omens, we may regard that part of the records as a late Babylonian gloss. Marduk, the later god of Babylon, appears first under the title Asar in the period of Gudea, and his original connection with Babylon is doubtful. The patron deity of Agade was Amal, a god identified with Marduk in an astronomical text. As he had also a temple in Babylon he may be the old god of Babylon transferred to Agade. Innini, or Anunit, goddess of Agade, had also a temple at Babylon. Accordingly both Aural and Innini seem to have been borrowed from Babylon, but we do not know why Sargon so honored the city.

The glorious reign of Sargon closed with the entire empire in revolt. The Babylonian Chronicle pragmatically attributes his disasters to the violation of the holy city Babylon. An Omen Text preserves the same tradition: “Sargon whose troops bound him in a trench and suppressed their master in a coalition”. The misfortune which overtook him at the end of his career is again referred to a birth omen, “if an ewe give birth to a lion with head of a lamb, lamentation of Sargon whose universal dominion [passed away]”. Only one sculptured monument of Sargon has been recovered; it is a large triangular monolith found at Susa; the king, according to Semitic fashion, has a long beard reaching to the waist, heavy moustaches, and his long hair is rolled into a huge chignon on the back of his neck. Sargon's ordinary title is “King of the city Agade”, to which is sometimes added “King of the Land” and “King of universal dominion”. He is also described as the pashish (i.e. elder brother') of Anu and the priest-king of Enlil.




(2279-2254 BC)