11 Akkadian Empire Facts That You May Not Have Heard Of Before | Kidadl


11 Akkadian Empire Facts That You May Not Have Heard Of Before

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The Akkadian Empire is the first empire to rule all of Mesopotamia and their reign of rule lasted for 200 long years from 2300 BCE to 2100 BCE.

Northern Mesopotamia is where the Akkadians used to live while the Sumerians lived in the region of southern Mesopotamia. The Akkadians spoke a different language to the Sumerians, but the culture and the government structure of the Akkadians were similar to that of the Sumerians.

City-states were made up in both the Sumerian government as well as the Akkadian. Each city had its own ruler who ruled the part as well as the neighboring areas. City-states were not known to be united and they often fought with each other. But with time, this changed and Akkadian rulers started to make alliances and rule together. It was around 2300 BC when the Akkadian ruler, Sargon the Great, rose to power. King Sargon even established his city and named it Akkad. A Sumerian city named Uruk once attacked the city of Akkad, but King Sargon won that fight and he conquered Uruk instead. Sargon then conquered all of the city-states and he united northern and southern Mesopotamia under the rule of one Akkadian king.

The next 200 years of the ancient Akkadian Empire saw them expand leaps and bounds. Elamites to the east were conquered and then they moved to Oman. The Mediterranean Sea and Syria were also conquered under the Akkadian Empire's rule.

Naram-Sin was one of the great kings of the Akkad Empire. It was still part of Sargon's reign as Naram-Sin was actually the grandson of Sargon. His rule lasted for more than 50 years. During his time, revolts were broken and the empire expanded more. The reign of Naram-Sin is considered the top of the Akkadian period.

After 200 years of Akkadian rule, the Sumerian city of Ur came back for revenge and rose to power by conquering the city of Akkad in 2100 BCE. A Sumerian king then ruled the Empire but he could not succeed in keeping the Empire united as the Akkadian kings could. The empire started getting weaker year after year and in 2000 BCE, the Amorites conquered the empire out of the Sumerian rule. Although the Akkadians took the Sumerian cultural heritage as their own, the might of the kings were greater in terms of keeping unity and expanding their reign.

In ancient Mesopotamia, two languages were spoken - the Akkadian language and the Sumerian language. The empire was so advanced even during the ancient Mesopotamia days that major cities were connected with good roads and even a postal service was enacted for the help of the people. Sumerians actually believed that the Akkadian Empire collapsed as Naram-Sin took over the city of Nippur and destroyed the temple there. They believed that the Akkadian Dynasty fell due to a curse upon them.

Akkadian kings were really smart as they kept control over all the kingdom by appointing their sons as the governors of the main cities. The kings even made their daughters high priestesses in the temples of the major gods. The first dynasty was set up by Sargon the Great.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about British Empire at its height and the British Empire map here on Kidadl?

Sargon And His Dynasty

Centered in the city of Akkad was a Semitic Empire known as the Akkadian Empire. This empire united all Sumerian speakers and indigenous Akkadian-speaking people under one rule.

Sargon the Great was the founder of the Akkadian Empire. Under the rules of Sargon and all the kings, going to the last of the final Akkadian kings, the political peak was reached in the Akkadian Empire from the 24th to the 22nd centuries BCE. The Akkadian Empire is even regarded as the first empire in history.

Sargon was originally a gardener. This gave him direct access to many workers in the empire which was how he recruited his first army. He soon displaced King Ur-Zababa of Kish and was crowned king. Sargon soon began his foreign conquests where he went to different places and acquired them under the Akkadian Empire. It took four different military campaigns, but he acquired Canaan and Syria and took three years to control the western countries and put it under one rule, the Mesopotamian dynasty. Saigon's reach was great as his empire went as far westwards as the Mediterranean Sea and probably Cyprus, northward towards the mountains, south towards Oman, and eastern towards Elam. Noble citizens of Akkad became Mesopotamian kings of these regions and the rule continued as everyone stayed loyal to their one true king, Sargon. From the silver mines of Anatolia to the mines of Afghanistan, and from Lebanon to Magan, trade flourished during this time.

Sargon was known to respect and follow the Sumerian deities throughout his life. He prayed to the goddess Inanna, his patroness, and the warrior god of Kish, Zababa. Sargon even went ahead and called himself the great ensi of Enlil and the anointed priest of Anu.

Even in old age, Sargon managed to defeat his enemies. It is thought that Sargon was assassinated in a palace conspiracy similar to his son. Rimush, his son was assassinated by his courtiers. However, his other son, Manishtusu reigned for only 15 years, before being assassinated. Read more about them next.

Sargon's Successors: Rimush And Manishtusu

Rimush was the second ruler of the Akkadian Empire and was the son of queen Tashlultum and Sargon. After his reign, his brother Manishtusu took over the empire. They were succeeded by Rimush's nephew and Manishtushu son Naram-Sin.

The reign of Rimush lasted for 9-15 years as he was later assassinated by his courtiers. There were widespread revolts during his ruling period and he had to reacquire the cities of Umma, Ur, Lagash, Adab, Der, and Kazallu. It was from a rebellious Sumerian prince. Rimush was known to destroy most Sumerian areas and even indulged in a mass killing of Sumerian people. There are records of him destroying places and killing many Sumerian people. There has been a victory stele associated with Rimush on epigraphical and stylistic grounds. Victorious campaigns against Marhashi and Elam were also recorded in the third year of Rimush's reign.

Manishtusu was the third king of the empire. In 2270 BCE, he became the ruler after Rimush died. He was known for leading different campaigns across further lands as he was free from the rebellions that took place during his brother's rule. There is an inscription from the king himself, that when he once led down a fleet through the Persian Gulf, there were 32 different kings that joined together to fight him. Manishtusu managed to defeat everyone and he then proceeded to look at all the kingdoms and even plundered many other kingdoms along the Gulf of Persia. Similarly, he led troops and conquered many places. Manishtusu like his brother was assassinated by the members of his own court. if you visit the Louvre, you will find a pyramidal stele erected by the king himself having a long cuneiform script in the Akkadian language. After his death, Naram-Sin took the imperial title of king.

For expanding the empire, the Akkadians even moved south to Oman.

Living In The Akkadian Empire

The Akkadian Empire is an example of great governance and the future Mesopotamian states compared themselves to this great empire.

The economy of the Akkadian Empire depended heavily on the irrigated farmlands found in southern Iraq and the rain-fed agriculture of northern Iraq. Agriculture was not a problem in the lands of Akkad and nearby states, however, there was a scarcity of other goods like timber, metal ore, and stone to build houses and other architectures. Gods and kings were celebrated during those times and the empire's elaborate art showcased this. People mostly followed Sumerian culture, but the spoken language was Akkadian. People could speak both languages, but eventually Akkadian took the pole position. The empire also had a library with celestial observations.

Collapse Of The Akkadian Empire

The reign of the Akkadians lasted for around 200 years.

The Akkadian conquest during the rule of Naram-Sin saw a lot of productive work being done. In around 2154 BCE, the Akkadian Empire collapsed. After the collapse of the empire, a dark age of decline came about and continued until the third dynasty of Ur rose in 2112 BCE. The empire became significantly weak by the reign of Naram-Sin's son Shar-kali-Sharri. He tried a lot to restore the past glory of the empire but failed due to the invasion of Gutians-the barbarian people from the Zagros mountains.

When these people took over, they did not care for governance or agriculture. This led to grain prices going up and the occurrence of famine. Sumerian king Ur-Nammu came about and cleared all Gutians from the Mesopotamian lands. This was the end of them. The Upper Country saw the collapse of rain-fed agriculture which meant that subsidies were lost for the Akkadians in the southern part of Mesopotamia. After the fall of the empire, the Akkadian people divided into Babylonia in the south and Assyria in the north.

The Mesopotamian Pantheon

Deities in Mesopotamia were prayed upon devotionally and all kings respected them fully.

The deities An, Enlil, and Enki were considered the three most important deities in the Mesopotamian Pantheon. This was believed until it was researched that the pantheon might have had different deities with different time periods and locations. Goddess Inanna is also considered very important in the Uruk period. In Assyria, Asur was considered the main god. An, Enki, Enlil, Ninhursag, Utu, Nanna, and Inanna were the most powerful deities in the Sumerian culture.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Akkadian Empire facts, then why not take a look at Spanish Empire facts or Aztec Empire facts.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

Ritwik has a bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. His degree developed his passion for writing, which he has continued to explore in his previous role as a content writer for PenVelope and his current role as a content writer at Kidadl. In addition to this, he has also completed CPL training and is a licensed commercial pilot!

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