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First Dynasty of Isin - 2017-1794 BC

The First Dynasty of Isin (once dated at 2457-2232, is now dated from 1875 BC). An independent dynasty was established at Isin about 2017 BC by Ishbi-Erra, "the man of Mari." He founded a line of Amorite rulers of whom the first five claimed authority over the city of Ur to the south. The dynasty is called the "Isin," after its capital; its members style themselves "kings of Isin, kings of Sumer and Akkad."

The phase from c.2025-c.1763 B.C. is sometimes called the Isin-Larsa period. Many city-states vied with one another, but Isin and Larsa were the most powerful of these. There must have been a revolution. This is expressed in the fact that the kings of this dynasty, although they, like their predecessors and successors, wrote their inscriptions in Sumerian, finally discontinued to give their names a Sumerian form, as had been hitherto done in the South, but precisely like the North Babylonians (Naram Sin, etc.) bear names which are even in form recognisable as Semitic.

The dynasty seems to be of Amorite origin. A rival dynasty appears to have been established at Larsa [once dated c.2375, now dated 1770 BC], whose founder Gungunu was recognized by Ishme Dagan's son, Enannatum, priest of Xannar at Ur. The power passed from Ur to Isin. The kings were: Ishbi Ura (32 years), Gimililishu (10), Idin Dagan (21), Ishme Dagan (20), Libit Ishtar (11), Amil Ninib (28), Pur Sin (21), Iterkasha (5), Uraimitti (7), Sinikisha (1), Ellilbani (24), Zambia (3), (5), Ea (4), Sinmagir (11), and Damikilishu (23). Five of these have left inscriptions. During this period King Kudur Nanehundi plundered the temples of the land of Akkad and carried away the goddess Nanai from Uruk, brought back by Asurbanipal 1635 years later.

The fifth of the rulers of Isin, Lipit-Ishtar (reigned 1934-24 BC), is famous as having published a series of laws in the Sumerian language anticipating the code of Hammurabi by more than a century. The last of these kings is called Ishme-Dagan ("Dagan heard." His full title ran, "IshmeDagan, governor of Nippur, prince of Ur, Uddadu of Eridu, lord of Uruk, king of Isin, king of Sumer and Akkad, the beloved husband of Naua". Out of this combination of words the divine name Dagan is certainly "Canaanitish." It would be conceivable, therefore, that this is already to do here with Canaanites.

About 1794 Isin lost its independence, first to the neighbouring city of Larsa and later to Babylon. The city revived between about 1156 and 1025 under its 2nd dynasty, a number of whose kings exercised authority over Babylonia (southern Iraq).

2nd Dynasty of Isin: c.1157-1026 BC

Marduk-kabit-ahheshu18 11571140
Itti-Marduk-balatu8 11391132
Nebuchadrezzar I22 11251104
Adad-apla-iddina22 1068 1047
Nabu-shumu-libur8 10331026
The power of the last rulers of the Kassite Dynasty in Babylonia was weakened by decades of conflict with Assyria to the north and Elam to the west. In 1157 BC royal power was claimed by a new dynasty based at the city of Isin. In a series of intense wars, about which not much is known, Marduk-kabit-ahheshu (c. 1152-c. 1135) established what came to be known as the 2nd dynasty of Isin. His successors often continued fighting.

The most famous king of the dynasty was Nebuchadrezzar I (Nabu-kudurri-usur; c. 1119-c.1098, or 1125-1104 BC), Nebuchadrezzar I (not to be confused with Nebuchadnezzar II of Biblical notoriety). Nebuchadrezzar I fought mainly against Elam, following the evidence in inscriptions on kudurrus [boundary stones]. A number of poetic texts and later epics survive that describe how the statue of the god Marduk, captured by an invading Elamite army, was found by Nebuchadnezzar in the city of Susa and restored to the main temple in Babylon. He was thus believed to have received Marduk's blessing.

The city of Babylon is mentioned in documents of the late third millennium BC and became the center of an Amorite dynasty in the early second millennium BC. It was the royal city of the Kassites and during the Second Dynasty of Isin (1157-1026 BC) it became the capital of southern Mesopotamia and its patron deity Marduk became the national god.

However, towards the end of the reign of Nebuchadrezzar I, Aramaean tribal groups, which lived outside the Babylonian cities but were attracted by their wealth, began to launch raids. This caused major difficulties for Nebuchadnezzar's seven dynastic successors, and Babylonia entered a period of serious crisis. The kings were unable to maintain control of the country and the dynasty came to an end.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:48:37 ZULU