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Near East Kingdoms

Ancient Mesopotamia


MapCity State of Agade / Akkad

Situated to the immediate north of Sumer, the Akkadians were of Semitic origin. The people of Mari a little to the north were probably of the same stock. Their language is first attested in about 2800 BC, and it survived alongside Sumerian until about 1800 BC, when the latter died out from everyday use.

Under the rule of Sargon I, the city state of Agade (which was the Sumerian name for the city in the region of Akkad, known in the Bible as Accad) rose for a brief time to be a powerful empire, becoming one of the first to unify the entire south-central Mesopotamian region. The city was probably located on the west bank of the Euphrates in central Mesopotamia, between Sippar and Kish. Its ruins have yet to be found. Although the Sumerian king list claims that Sargon built Agade, it is mentioned in the reigns of more than one of his predecessors, such as En-cakanca-ana of Uruk and Lugalzaggesi of Uruk, so Sargon was probably just responsible for re-building and expanding it.

FeatureAccording to the king list, a total of twelve kings ruled for 197 years, once (in one dynasty) in Agade (List 1), or eleven kings ruled for 181 years, or nine kings ruled for 161 / 177 years (List 2). This is the fifteenth set of entries on the list comprising kings 82-92. Here, List 1 is primarily used, backed up by List 2 (see Sumer for details). Note that older dating systems place Sargon at circa 3000 BC, but this appears to be an increasingly inaccurate estimate.

(Additional information by Ras Feqade.)

c.2440 BC

En-cakanca-ana of Uruk conquers Agade, claiming hegemony over all of Sumer.

fl c.2350 BC

Alusarsid / Urumus

Existence and location uncertain.

Alusarsid is an early king of Agade who 'subdued Elam and Barahs (Barahsi?)'. This is contemporary with the reign of Lugalzaggesi of Umma. An element of more recent scholarly thinking equates him with Rimush, the successor of Sargon of the Akkadian empire, below, suggesting that his name has been misread until now. Alusarsid has also been placed in 'Kis' or Kish as ruler there, showing a great deal of ambiguity for this ruler's location and very existence.

Akkadian Empire

Sargon created an Akkadian empire which truly unified Sumer and Akkad administratively for the first time ever. However, there were problems, not least because each of the former independent city states inside the empire resented the imposition of outside control, and revolts were common.

(Additional information by Ras Feqade.)

c.2334 - 2279 BC

Sargon I the Great

Ruled for 56/55/54 years. Born c.2370.

Sargon, 'whose [probable] father, La'ibum (or Itti-Bel), was a gardener, the cupbearer of Ur-Zababa of Kish, founded Agade,' claims to be the first king to unite Mesopotamia (Sumer and Akkad), although Enshakushanna of Uruk had already achieved that.

Sargon the Great
Sargon the Great, the warrior king of apparently humble origins, unified Sumer for (perhaps) the first time in recorded history through a series of campaigns and the defeat of the current holder of Sumer's equivalent of a high kingship

He defeats and captures Lugalzaggesi of Uruk and Umma, claiming the empire and the kingship for his own. Expanding his territory he defeats Lagash and Kazallu, invades Syria and the Levant four times, and campaigns against the Gutians, the Hatti, and Marhashi.

His exploits create a realm which stretches from Anatolia and the Mediterranean, covering the Amorites (Martu) west of the Euphrates, up to Apum in northern Mesopotamia, and over to Elam in the east and Oman in the south. It is possibly he who is responsible for the destruction of Mari, while he also founds the new city of Gasur.

He also controls Mesopotamia to the north of Akkad, where the early Assyrian civilisation is achieving a level of sophistication of its own, and is enamoured of foreign goods, including those traded from the Indus Valley.

c.2278 - 2270 BC

Rimush / Rimuc

Son. Ruled for 9/7/15 years.

Rimush re-conquers a rebellious Elam and Marhashi (in modern central Iran), and fights hard to retain the empire, although he is apparently assassinated. An element of more recent scholarly thinking regards Rimush as being the same as Alusarsid, the minor ruler of early, pre-Sargon Agade, although he is still placed after Sargon in the reignal list.

c.2269 - 2255 BC

Manishtushu / Man-icticcu

Older (or younger) brother. Ruled for 15/7 years.

Manishtushu renovates the Temple of Ishtar, and fights a sea battle against thirty-two kings who gather against him. Like his brother, he also seems to die through assassination.

c.2254 - 2218 BC

Naram-Sin / Naram-Suen

Son. Ruled for 56 years. Claimed god-like status.

Facing revolts from the start of his reign, Naram-Sin conquers Ebla in Syria, defeats a coalition led by Kish, another coalition led by Uruk (which when combined includes all the major cities of Mesopotamia), and also attacks Nippur and the Hatti. He places his son, Sharkalisharri, in control of Nippur and conquers the Lullabi in the north.

With Agade growing steadily weaker, Elam and Marhashi declare their independence (although they are re-conquered for a time). It is possible that Uruk is a key player in the revolts. In a more peaceful moment, Naram-Sin is able to marry his daughter, Tar'am-Agade, to the king of Urkesh which is perhaps located on the very edge of Akkadian-controlled territory in the north.

c.2217 - 2193 BC

Sharkalisharri / Car-kali-carri

Son. Ruled for 25/24/29 years. m dau of ruler of Marhashi.

c.2210 BC

Marhashi overruns Elam for a time, and unites eastern efforts in fighting against the Akkadian Empire. A battle is fought near Akshak, at the confluence of the Diyala and Tigris rivers between the two states. One of the Marhashi ruler's daughters is married to Sharkalisharri of Agade or his son, perhaps as a consequence of the battle, and as a sign of renewed ties of peace.

c.2193 BC

Big climatic changes are taking place which result in a mega-drought in the Far East's Longshan culture and in the Near East. The latter sees the decline of Sumerian civilisation, the Akkadian empire, and the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the start of Egypt's 'First Intermediate' period, and flooding in Bronze Age Britain.

The Gutians sweep through southern Mesopotamia and overthrow both Elam and the Akkadian empire, either during Naram-Sin's reign or that of his son, ending Sumerian/Akkadian domination of the region. The Akkadians survive but their power is minimal, their decline helped along by a series of very brief, non-dynastic rulers. Both Sumer and Egypt endure a short (climate-induced) dark age at this time, and very little is known about Agade itself until around 2100 BC.

The king list now states: 'Who was king? Who was not king? Igigi the king; Nanum, the king; Imi the king; Elulu, the king - the four of them were kings but reigned only three years' see below). Civil war apparently grips the city of Agade. In the north the Hurrians arise as a notably separate group which begins to dominate the upper Tigris Valley and the upper Euphrates.

Akkadian State (Agade)

A rump Akkadian state survived the Gutian invasion and managed to limp on for a further half a century. The Gutians presented themselves as the true inheritors of the Akkadian Empire. In the now freed former Akkadian territories of Syria and Canaan, the Khirbet Kerakware culture emerged.

c.2192 - ? BC


Ruled for ? years.

Nanium / Imi

Ruled for ? years.

Imi / Nanûm

Ruled for ? years.

? - 2190 BC

Elul-dan / Elulu / Ilulu

Ruled for ? years.

c.2190 BC

Dudu, probably the son of Sharkalisharri, takes control of Agade and restores a semblance of stability.

Cuneiform tablet
Cuneiform tablets rarely survive intact, so this Akkadian example which translates a hymn to the goddess Ishtar from Sumerian is especially valuable

c.2189 - 2169 BC


Ruled for 21 years.

c.2168 - 2154 BC

Shu-Turul / Shudurul / Cu-Durul

Son. Ruled for 15/18 years.

c.2154 BC

The Akkadian kingdom collapses and the city is reputedly destroyed, thoroughly, by the occupying Gutians. The king list says it is destroyed by Urnigin of Uruk and the kingship carried off there, but this may instead be a reference to Uruk regaining the advantage in terms of power. The final Akkadians could be contemporaries of the kings of Uruk, and both are smashed by the Gutian hordes who are themselves expelled from Sumer in circa 2120 BC by a later king of Uruk.

c.1897 BC

Akkad re-emerges as an Amorite city state within the Babylonian empire, forming the capital of its northern division.

Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.