Sargon of Akkad
And the Dawn of an Empire
Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great, was an Akkadian emperor who is famously known for his victories and rule over the city-states of Sumer in the 24th and 23rd centuries. He is referred to as one of the greatest rulers of Mesopotamia and he is accredited for the creation of the world’s first major empire (Time-Life 17). He is also referred to as the founder of Mesopotamian military tradition. The story of his birth is what some refer to as a legend. The story of his birth is somewhat like the story of Moses in the book of Exodus. The baby Sargon was put in a reed basket by his mother covered with bitumen to protect him and sent down the Euphrates. Later the baby was adopted by Aqqi, the water drawer, and raised him as his own. His father remained unknown but some have reason to believe through surviving fragments that his father’s name was La’ibum. After Aqqi raises him as his son the story becomes a little unclear, other than the one story of Sargon and Ur-Zababa. Ur-Zababa, king of Kish, awakens after a dream, the contents of which are not revealed on the left over portion of the tablet. For unknown reasons, Ur-Zababa appoints Sargon as his cupbearer. Soon after this, Ur-Zababa Marth invites Sargon to his chambers to discuss a dream of Sargon's, involving the favor of the goddess Inanna and the drowning of Ur-Zababa by the goddess. Obviously scared, Ur-Zababa orders Sargon murdered by the hands of Belis-tikal, the chief smith, but Inanna prevents it, demanding that Sargon stop at the gates because of his being "polluted with blood." When Sargon returns to Ur-Zababa, the king becomes frightened again, and decides to send Sargon to king Lugal-zage-si of Uruk with a message on a clay tablet asking him to slay Sargon. This where the legend more less cuts off but I am guessing it leads the story of him becoming king (Cooper 67-82). This leads us to the start of one of the greatest empires ever...
Cited: Cooper, Jerrold S. and Wolfgang Heimpel. "The Sumerian Sargon Legend." Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 103, No. 1, (Jan.-Mar. 1983).
Kramer, Samuel Noah. The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963. Print.
Mesopotamia: the Mighty Kings. Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life, 1995. Print.
Oppenheim, A. Leo, and Erica Reiner. Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1977. Print.
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