First Babylonian Dynasty was one among the earliest known dynasties in this world. The dynasty thrived some 1830 years before Christ. Was it a peaceful dynasty? How many kings ruled during that period? When did the dynasty fall? There are probably many questions that will be bothering you (assuming that you are interested in ancient history). Let us try to find out the answers of these questions in this list of 23 interesting First Babylonian Dynasty facts.
1. Historians have so far not succeeded in pinpointing the true origins of the First Babylonian Dynasty because the archeological evidences provided by Babylon are scare, thanks to a high water table.
2. Whatever evidence historians managed to collect about the dynasty were from written records and surrounding regions.
3. There is a widespread disagreement among the historians about the chronology of the dynasty. Some historians have come up with what is known as Babylonian King List A and others have something known as Babylonian King List B.
Babylonian King List A
- Sumu-abum or Su-abu – ruled between ca. 1830-1817 BC.
- Sumu-la-El – ruled between ca. 1817-1781 BC.
- Sabium – ruled between ca. 1781-1767 BC.
- Apil-Sin – ruled between ca. 1767-1749 BC.
- Sin-muballit – ruled between ca. 1748-1729 BC.
- Hammurabi – ruled between ca. 1728-1686 BC.
- Samsu-iluna – ruled between ca. 1686-1648 BC.
- Abi-eshuh – ruled between ca. 1648-1620 BC.
- Ammi-ditana – ruled between ca. 1620-1583 BC.
- Ammi-saduqa – ruled between ca. 1582-1562 BC.
- Samsu-Ditana – ruled between ca. 1562-1531 BC.
4. Kings Sumu-abum, Sumu-la-El, Sabium, Apil-Sin and Sin-muballit were not indigenous Akkadians. They were Amorites.
5. These first five kings did not manage to capture much of land. During their time, the First Babylonian Dynasty was made of a few towns which included Borsippa, Dilbat, Kish and Sippar.
6. The 6th King Hammurabi who ascended the throne after Sin-muballit was also an Amorite. It was under Hammurabi’s reign that First Babylonian Dynasty expanded. Hammurabi engaged his troops in military conquest.
7. When Hammurabi became King, important areas were not under First Babylonian Dynasty. For instance, Shamshi-Adad I ruled Assyria while Rim-Sin ruled Larsa. Other important areas were also not under First Babylonian Dynasty.
8. Hammurabi managed to capture Larsa from Rim-Sin during his 13th year of rule.
9. With the capture of Larsa, First Babylonian Dynasty managed to control important urban centers like Isin, Nippur, Uruk and Ur. Actually, the capture of Larsa gave Hammurabi complete control over southern Mesopotamia.
10. In around 1761 BC, Hammurabi managed to capture another major political power called Eshnunna.
11. With the capture of Eshnunna, First Babylonian Dynasty gained control over its economic stability and well-established routes of commercial trade.
12. Very soon, Hammurabi managed to expand the dynasty even further by capturing Assyria as well as some parts of Zagros Mountains. Assyria was also an economic powerhouse.
13. In 1760 BC, another place called Mari was eventually captured by Hammurabi. This brought entire Mesopotamia under First Babylonian Dynasty.
14. Hammurabi was also known by another name called Hammurapi-ilu which means ‘Hammurapi is God’ or ‘Hammurapi the God’.
15. Historians believe that in the Bible and Jewish records Hammurabi was the Amraphel king of Shinar (Sinear).
16. Amraphel king of Shinar was a contemporary of Abraham who lived from 1871 BC to 1784 BC.
17. Hammurabi died in 1686 BC and was succeed by his son Samsu-iluna.
18. It was during Samsu-iluna’s reign that several revolts took place. The first revolt was by Rim-Sin II (a nephew of Rim-Sin) but it was successfully crushed and Rim-Sin II was killed. Samsu-iluna destroyed the cities of Isin, Uruk and Ur.
19. A few years after Rim-Sin II’s death, Ilum-ma-ili (who claimed to be a descendant of Isin’s last king) revolted. The first battle between Ilum-ma-ili and Samsu-iluna was indecisive but in the second battle Samsu-iluna was defeated and Ilum-ma-ili established the First Dynasty of Sea-Land which remained under Sumerian control for next 300 years.
20. After his defeat, Samsu-iluna went in defensive mode and built 6 fortresses around the city of Nippur to ensure that Nippur remained under First Babylonian Dynasty. But with death of Samsu-iluna, Nippur immediately recognized Ilum-ma-ili as the new king. Thus under Samsu-iluna’s rule, the First Babylonian Dynasty as established by Hammurabi was reduced in size.
21. After Samsu-iluna came Abi-eshuh, Ammi-ditana and Ammi-saduqa. Their rules were peaceful and they mostly concentrated on enriching their cultural heritage. Finally, First Babylonian Dynasty came under the rule of Samsu-Ditana.
22. During the rule of Samsu-Ditana, First Babylonian Dynasty was invaded by Mursilis I and his Hittites army and Babylon was sacked, there by ending the rule of First Babylonian Dynasty that lasted for nearly 300 years.
23. Interestingly enough, Mursilis I and the Hittites army marched 2,000 kilometers south to invade Babylon!