Origins Of Civilization: The Amorites Of Mesopotamia

The decline of the Akkadian Empire set the stage firstly for a Sumerian Renaissance and finally the rise of the Amorite Kingdoms which would pave the way for the emergence of Babylon as a dominant Mesopotamian City State.

In the immediate period following the decline of the Akkadian Empire, several Sumerian rulers like Gudea who ruled the powerful city of Lagash from 2144 to 2124 BC emerged and established a brief period of Uruk dominance in the Region which saw the erection and dedication of new Statues and Temples.

However, Uruk’s dominance would only last until 2112 BC when King Ur-Nammu overthrew the Uruk Kings and established the Third Dynasty of Ur.

This Dynasty was comprised of 5 Kings who would rule until 2004 BC.

The Third Dynasty of Ur established direct central control of the economies of the various City States who all lost their independence as their individual Kings were replaced by Governors appointed by and acting on behalf of the Kings at Ur.

The Sumerian City States experienced a surge in prosperity during the reign of the Third Ur Dynasty as Trade Networks and Civil Administration were greatly improved, and today the great Ziggurat at Ur stands as a momument to the successes of the Third Dynasty Of Ur.

However, the Third Dynasty of Ur began to decline around the end of the 21st Century BC.

Famine, drought and invasions by a new nomadic group, the Amorites, began to take its toll, and the Empire ceased to exist in 2004 BC when a series of conflicts led to its destruction.

The decline of the Third Dynasty of Ur would create a power vaccum, and the Amorites, a Semi-Nomadic Tribe would step in to fill it.

As a Nomadic Tribe, the Amorites had existed on the fringes of Mesopotamian Society where they regularly clashed with various City States. However, their initial mass migration into Mesopotamia began with the fall of the Third Dynasty of Ur.

The Amorite invasions began in Palestine and Syria, finally ending in Mesopotamia where they established their own new Dynasties, and assimilated into the local population adopting the superior Culture of the Mesopotamians and making it their own.

The most prominent Amorite Kingdom was eventually centred in the Ancient city of Mari where the Amorites introduced the Babylonian language, writing and administrative style.

However internal power feuds and constant expansionist Wars would lead to conflicts with other neighbouring City States like Elam which would eventually spell the demise of the Amorite Kingdom with its Capital at Mari.

Under Amorite King Shamshi-Adad, the Amorite Dynasty was consolidated after internal rivalries and victories in wars with surrounding States which led to a brief period of prosperity lasting until Shamshi-Adad’s death.

Following his death, another internal succession dispute led to the fragmentation of the Amorite Kingdom which was further weakened by more Wars with other expansionist City States intent on expanding their territorry and influence in the Region.

The continuous bouts of warfare between the rivals eventually drew in other powers from the wider region such as Larsa and Babylon who sought to exploit the conflicts for their own benefit which caused a wider period of warfare to erupt in the region.

Eventually, these Wars ended with the defeat of most of the competing City States by an alliance between the City States of Mari and Babylon.

As a new peace reigned, and Babylon’s prestige was raised by its prominent role in the previous round of bitter Wars between the City States, a permanent shift in the balance of power between the City States had occured, and it would eventually pave the way for the rise of King Hammurabi and the City State of Babylon to become the eminent power of Mesopotamia.