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First Babylonian Dynasty

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Title: First Babylonian Dynasty  
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Subject: Babylonia, Burney Relief, Babylonian mathematics, Hammurabi, Mari, Syria
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First Babylonian Dynasty

Paleo-Babylonian Empire
Paleo-Babylonian Empire

circa 1830 B.C.E. — circa 1531 B.C.E.
The extent of the Paleo-Babylonian Empire at the start and end of Hammurabi of Babylon's reign, circa 1792 B.C.E. — circa 1750 B.C.E.
Capital Babylon
Languages Babylonian language
Religion Babylonian religion
Government Monarchy
King
 •  ca. 1830—1817 BC Sumu-abum (first)
 •  ca. 1562—1531 BC Samsu-Ditana (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
 •  Established circa 1830 B.C.E.
 •  Sack of Babylon circa 1531 B.C.E.
 •  Disestablished circa 1531 B.C.E.
Today part of  Iraq
Map of Iraq showing important sites that were occupied by the First Babylonian Dynasty (clickable map)
Maximum extent of the Paleo-Babylonian Empire during the reign of King Hammurabi's son, Samsu-iluna of Babylon reaching as far west as Tuttul (light green), circa 1750 B.C.E. — circa 1712 B.C.E.
Chronology of ancient Mesopotamia showing the domination of the Paleo-Babylonian Empire between circa 1763 B.C.E. — circa 1594 B.C.E.

The chronology of the first dynasty of Babylonia is debated as there is a Babylonian King List A[1] and a Babylonian King List B.[2] In this chronology, the regnal years of List A are used due to their wide usage. The reigns in List B are longer, in general.

The short chronology:

Origins of the First Dynasty

The actual origins of the Dynasty are rather hard to pinpoint with great certainty simply because Babylon itself, due to a high water table, yields very few archaeological materials intact. Thus any evidence must come from surrounding regions and written records. Not much is known about the kings from Sumuabum through Sin-muballit other than the fact they were Amorites rather than indigenous Akkadians. What is known, however, is that they accumulated little land. When Hammurabi (also an Amorite) ascended the throne of Babylon, the empire only consisted of a few towns in the surrounding area: Dilbat, Sippar, Kish, and Borsippa. Once Hammurabi was king, his military victories gained land for the empire. However, Babylon remained but one of several important areas in Mesopotamia, along with Assyria, then ruled by Shamshi-Adad I, and Larsa, then ruled by Rim-Sin I.

In Hammurabi's thirtieth year as king, he really began to establish Babylon as the center of what would be a great empire. In that year, he conquered Larsa from Rim-Sin I, thus gaining control over the lucrative urban centers of Nippur, Ur, Uruk, and Isin. In essence, Hammurabi gained control over all of south Mesopotamia. The other formidable political power in the region in the 2nd millennium was Eshnunna, which Hammurabi succeeded in capturing in c. 1761. Babylon exploited Eshnunna's well-established commercial trade routes and the economic stability that came with them. It was not long before Hammurabi's army took Assyria (another economic powerhouse) and parts of the Zagros Mountains. In 1760, Hammurabi finally captured Mari, the final piece of the puzzle that gave him control over virtually all of the territory that made up Mesopotamia under the Third Dynasty of Ur in the 3rd millennium.

Hammurabi's other name was Hammurapi-ilu, meaning "Hammurapi the god" or perhaps "Hammurapi is god." He could have been Amraphel king of Shinar or Sinear in the Jewish records and the Bible, a contemporary of Abraham. Abraham lived from 1871 to 1784, according to modern interpretations of the Old Testament's figures that have been usually reckoned in modern half years before the Exodus, from equinox to equinox.

A recent translation of the Chogha Gavaneh tablets which date back to 1800 BC indicates there were close contacts between this town located in the intermontane valley of Islamabad in Central Zagros and Dyala region.

The Venus tablets of Ammisaduqa (i.e., several ancient versions on clay tablets) are famous, and several books had been published about them. Several dates have been offered but the old dates of many sourcebooks seems to be outdated and incorrect. There are further difficulties: the 21 years span of the detailed observations of the planet Venus may or may not coincide with the reign of this king, because his name is not mentioned, only the Year of the Golden Throne. A few sources, some printed almost a century ago, claim that the original text mentions an occultation of the Venus by the moon. However, this may be a misinterpretation.[3] Calculations support 1659 for the fall of Babylon, based on the statistical probability of dating based on the planet's observations. The presently accepted middle chronology is too low from the astronomical point of view.[4]

A text about the fall of Babylon by the Hittites of Mursilis I at the end of Samsuditana's reign which tells about a twin eclipse is crucial for a correct Babylonian chronology. The pair of lunar and solar eclipses occurred in the month Shimanu (Sivan). The lunar eclipse took place on February 9, 1659 BC. It started at 4:43 and ended at 6:47. The latter was invisible which satisfies the record which tells that the setting moon was still eclipsed. The solar eclipse occurred on February 23, 1659. It started at 10:26, has its maximum at 11:45, and ended at 13:04.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ BM 33332.
  2. ^ BM 38122.
  3. ^ Reiner, Erica; D. Pingree. Babylonian Planetary Omens The Venus, the Tablet of Ammisaduqa. 
  4. ^ Kelley, David H.; E. F. Milone; Anthony F. Aveni (2004). Exploring Ancient Skies: An Encyclopedic Survey of Archaeoastronomy. New York: Springer.  
  5. ^ Huber, Peter (1982). "Astronomical dating of Babylon I and Ur III". Monographic Journals of the Near East: 41. 
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