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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 138

So great was the political upheaval caused by Rim-Sin and his allies and imitators in southern Babylonia, that it was not until the seventeenth year of his reign that Samsu-iluna had recaptured Erech and Ur and restored their walls. Among other cities which had to be chastised was ancient Akkad, where a rival monarch endeavoured to establish himself. Several years were afterwards spent in building new fortifications, setting up memorials in temples, and cutting and clearing canals. On more than one occasion during the latter part of his reign he had to deal with aggressive bands of Amorites.

The greatest danger to the Empire, however, was threatened by a new kingdom which had been formed in Bit-Jakin, a part of Sealand which was afterwards controlled by the mysterious Chaldeans. Here may have collected evicted and rebel bands of Elamites and Sumerians and various "gentlemen of fortune" who were opposed to the Hammurabi regime. After the fall of Rim-Sin it became powerful under a king called Ilu-ma-ilu. Samsu-iluna conducted at least two campaigns against his rival, but without much success. Indeed, he was in the end compelled to retreat with considerable loss owing to the difficult character of that marshy country.

Abeshu, the next Babylonian king, endeavoured to shatter the cause of the Sealanders, and made it possible for himself to strike at them by damming up the Tigris canal. He achieved a victory, but the wily Ilu-ma-ilu eluded him, and after a reign of sixty years was succeeded by his son, Kiannib. The Sealand Dynasty, of which little is known, lasted for over three and a half centuries, and certain of its later monarchs were able to extend their sway over part of Babylonia, but its power was strictly circumscribed so long as Hammurabi's descendants held sway.

During Abeshu's reign of twenty-eight years, of which but scanty records survive, he appears to have proved an able statesman and general. He founded a new city called Lukhaia, and appears to have repulsed a Kassite raid.

His son, Ammiditana, who succeeded him, apparently inherited a prosperous and well-organized Empire, for during the first fifteen years of his reign he attended chiefly to the adornment of temples and other pious undertakings. He was a patron of the arts with archaeological leanings, and displayed traits which suggest that he inclined, like Sumu-la-ilu, to ancestor worship. Entemena, the pious patesi of Lagash, whose memory is associated with the famous silver vase decorated with the lion-headed eagle form of Nin-Girsu, had been raised to the dignity of a god, and Ammiditana caused his statue to be erected so that offerings might be made to it. He set up several images of himself also, and celebrated the centenary of the accession to the throne of his grandfather, Samsu-iluna, "the warrior lord", by unveiling his statue with much ceremony at Kish. About the middle of his reign he put down a Sumerian rising, and towards its close had to capture a city which is believed to be Isin, but the reference is too obscure to indicate what political significance attached to this incident. His son, Ammizaduga, reigned for over twenty years quite peacefully so far as is known, and was succeeded by Samsuditana, whose rule extended over a quarter of a century. Like Ammiditana, these two monarchs set up images of themselves as well as of the gods, so that they might be worshipped, no doubt. They also promoted the interests of agriculture and commerce, and incidentally increased the revenue from taxation by paying much attention to the canals and extending the cultivatable areas.


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