Akkadian Empire (2350-2150 BCE)

external image akkad.jpg
The Akkadian Empire under the rule of our greatest ruler, Sargon of Akkad.




Our Akkadian Empire was technologically advanced, as we used roads to cover the entire empire. These roads were used for effective transportation, as well as providing the empire with a postal service. Our first and most important emperor, Sargon, ruled for fifty-six years, and chose Akkad as the center of the Akkadian empire. The Semitic Akkadian language gained literary prestige during this period, and the early Mesopotamian cuneiform script was adapted to the Akkadian language. In fact, a library was established by Sargon to hold official documents and astrological texts of the Akkadian Empire.


Our culture was based on the many societies that our leaders, especially Sargon, conquered during our empire. In addition to Babylonian art, we also made art that was heavily influenced by the artistry of the Egyptians. In celebration of military victories and conquests, we erected statues and images of Sargon in his honor. Our empire was developed and improved with such conquests, since we built cities and elaborate palaces with the spoils of war. Much of our history is shrouded in myths and legends, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, but it is known that our empire was at its greatest extent under the illustrious Sargon, who ruled circa 2300 BCE, and that the empire collapse after being invaded by the Gutians, from the Zagros region.


Our religion was the polytheistic Mesopotamian religion, characterized by many deities (both gods and godesses) representing aspects of nature and objects of importance in our lives in the Akkadian Empire. There was a god of Heaven, An, who was a major god, as well as gods and godesses standing for air, the sky, water, and the fertile Earth. Being an agrarian society, the forces of nature were an important part of our daily lives and survival. Other major deities represented other states such as Assyria, and there was a godess of war which we called Inanna. Less important aspects of daily life were represented by minor gods and godesses, who were, in our mythology, said to be the family members and descendents of the major deities.


2334 BCE - Sargon creates a Mesopotamian empire: Sargon of Akkad, who created our first empire in Mesopotamia, was originally the minister o the king of Kish. He then staged a coup against this king, using his administrative and military skills to soon take over all the city-states and bring us under his empire. He was able to conquer the Sumerian city-states so efficiently by controlling and taxing our trade routes of natural resources, as his army grew larger and increasingly unstoppable. This ingenious conquest allowed our founder to make his city of Akkad the most wealthy in the entire world at this time.

circa 2150 BCE - The Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh was a legendary Mesopotamian king, and became the subject of our most famous and most important folklore and poetry. The historical Gilgamesh was thought to have ruled around 2750 BCE, and for centuries after we wrote many versions of an epic about him, and the well-known "Epic of Gilgamesh" itself was first written in Akkadian as late as the early-2nd millenium BCE. This epic, along with other pieces of poetry and literature, comprised the majority of our mythology and popular culture. The Epic of Gilgamesh contained a complex story about the man Gilgamesh going on adventures with his friend Enkidu, and the stories reflect the feelings about friendship, loyalty, and the possibility of immortality that we Akkadians had as a complex society.

external image GilgameshTablet.jpg A tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Akkadian, the language which became dominant during our empire.

2150 BCE - The collapse of Sargon's empire: After about two centuries, our Akkadian Empire began to weaken and fall apart. Many of the citizens of our city-states began to resent the rule of the empire, and we started to rebel and dissent against our imperial rulers. Around the same time, barbarians started to invade our land, trying to gain pieces of Sargon's extensive realm and the massive wealth we had accrued over the duration of our rule. These barbarians, such as the Gutians, eventually weakened us so much that the Akkadian Empire collapsed. However, Sargon's imperial leadership, published in countless stories and legends, inspired leaders such as Hammurabi to later create empires in our Mesopotamian homeplace.

The Wall


Bentley, Jerry H., and Ziegler Herbert F.. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
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