History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Mesopotamia




MapFeatures for Ancient MesopotamiaCity State of Isin

Sumerian civilisation, already on the wane due to the collapse of agriculture and a depopulation of southern Mesopotamia, was ended in circa 2004 when Third Dynasty Ur was defeated by Elam. The Amorites, who had been settling in Mesopotamia for some centuries, effectively became the successors to the Sumerians, assimilating their culture and founding city states of their own; Babylon, Ebla, Hamath, and Isin. Isin (modern Ishan al-Bahriyat) already existed under the rule of Ur's Third Dynasty, but there are no records of any of its rulers from the Sumerian period. Instead, it achieved independence as Ur declined. One of the final king's officials, Ishbi-Erra, moved to Isin and established himself as a ruler there, continuing many of Ur's traditions and ceremonies.

There are a number of versions of the Sumerian king list which contain many differences from one another. One version comes from an inscription on a block of stone found at Isin. This one was an update of earlier Sumerian king lists which added Isin's kings to Sumer's royal roster, and it was inscribed during the reign of Damiqilishu, the last of Isin's kings. The inscription was made only a few years before Hammurabi of Babylon captured southern Mesopotamia in the mid-eighteenth century BC and made it a province of his new empire.

FeatureAccording to the Sumerian king list, a total of eleven kings (MS P4+Ha has sixteen) ruled for 159 years (MS P4+Ha has 226 years), once (in one dynasty) in Isin. This is the twentieth set of entries on the list comprising kings 125-139. List 1 has fourteen kings ruling for 203 years. Here, List 1 is primarily used, backed up by List 2 (see Sumer for details).

c.2017 BC

With Ur rapidly fading in power and influence, a power vacuum emerges which the larger city states scrabble to fill. One of Ibbi-Sin's officials takes the opportunity to move to the subject city of Isin and create his own city state there.

c.2017 - 1984 BC

Ishbi-Erra / Icbi-Erra

Ex-official of Ur who founded the city state. Ruled for 33 years.

c.2016 BC

Isin occupies and plunders the province of Hamazi as Ur's empire collapses.

c.2013 BC

Kazallu is conquered by Isin. Eshnunna receives Isin's help in battle against Subartu.

c.1998 BC

Six years after the great brick mausoleums and temples of the third dynasty kings of Ur are destroyed by the Elamites, Isin is strong enough to force the Elamites out, seizing Ur and restoring the temples, though Ur is no longer a capital city. At the same time Isin gains control of the Sumerian spiritual centre of Nippur, another culturally symbolic and commercially crucial town, Uruk, and the province of Lagash, of which Larsa is a part. Ishbi-Erra also maintains good relations with Eshnunna, another regional power at this time, while Kazallu gains similar levels of power in central Mesopotamia. Ishbi-Erra claims the title 'king of Ur' in an attempt to confirm the authority of his domination of the region.

c.1984 - 1974 BC

Shuilishu / Cu-ilicu

Son. Ruled for 10/20/10/15 years.

c.1974 - 1953 BC

Idin-Dagan / Iddin-Dagan

Son. Ruled for 21/25 years.

c.1953 - 1933 BC

Ishme-Dagan / Icme-Dagan

Son. Ruled for 20/18 years. Rebuilt the temple at Ur.

c.1940 BC

The Assyrians begin making raids into central and southern Mesopotamia, attacking the Amorite city states.

c.1933 - 1922 BC

Lipit-Ishtar / Lipit-Ectar

Son. Ruled for 11 years.

c.1922 - 1894 BC


Son. Ruled for 28 years.

c.1920? BC

Isin suddenly and rapidly begins to decline. The exact events are not known, but around this time, Gungunum, Isin's governor of the province of Lagash (and apparently based at Larsa), seizes Ur. This move cuts Isin's vital trade route, economically crippling the city.

c.1904 - 1866 BC

MapGungunum's two successors at Ur seek to cut off Isin's access to water by rerouting canals to Larsa. Nippur is also lost around this time, and Uruk breaks away in about 1865 BC. Kazallu seemingly follows suit at some point around 1900 BC.

c.1894 - 1873 BC

Bur-Sin / Bur-Suen

Son. Ruled for 21 years.

c.1873 - 1868 BC


Son. Ruled for 5 years.

c.1868 - 1860 BC

Erraimitti / Erra-imitti

Ruled for 8/7 years.

c.1860 BC

The much-weakened throne of Isin is seized by Enlilbani, ending the dynasty of kings which had been established over 150 years previously. The city state remains weak, but independent.

c.1860 - 1836 BC

Enlilbani / Enlil-bani

Seized the throne. Ruled for 24 years.

c.1836 - 1833 BC

Zambia / Zambiya / Zambija

Ruled for 3 years.

c.1833 - 1829 BC

Iterpisha / Iter-pica

Ruled for 4 years.

c.1829 - 1825 BC

Urdukuga / Ur-dul-kuga

Ruled for 4 years.

c.1825 - 1814 BC

Sinmagir / Suen-magir

Ruled for 11 years.

c.1814 - 1791 BC

(No data) / Damiq-ilicu / Damiqilishu

Ruled for 23 years.

c.1800 BC

Scribes in Sumer record that rich shipments from the Indus Valley culture suddenly cease at around this time.

c.1796 BC

Rim-Sin of Larsa captures Isin, ending its independence.

c.1787 (1791?) BC

Isin is attacked and defeated by Hammurabi's Babylonian empire. Direct rule of Isin appears to be taken by Larsa.

c.1763 BC

With the defeat of Larsa by the Babylonian empire. Hammurabi fully controls Isin.

c.1732 BC

Claiming descent from Damiq-ilicu, Iluma-Ilum gains the freedom of Sumer south of Nippur, founding the Babylonian Dynasty of the Sealand.

1156 BC

Following invasions by the Elamites, the Babylonians rally around the Isin nobility, which is now part of Babylonian nobility, and they reclaim the throne and strengthen it.