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1792-1595 BCE1120-539 BCE

Mesopotamia / Babylonia /
1st Dynasty
Babylonian: bābili
Old Persian: babirush

Nineveh Babylon Ur Susa Ashur Uruk Carchemish Mari Sippar Larsa Lagash Kish Nippur Isin

Life-sized lions guarding the temple entrance at Shaduppum, central Mesopotamia. From the Old Babylonian period.
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Life-sized lions guarding the temple entrance at Shaduppum, central Mesopotamia. From the Old Babylonian period.

Era of Mesopotamian history in which the rulers of Babylon conquered large lands in Mesopotamia and into Syria. The period is defined to 1792-1595 BCE, 197 years.

The earlier history of Babylonia is normally connected to that of Sumer, the land of city-states that covered the same part of Mesopotamia as Babylonia.
The rise of Babylonia must not be understood as the rise of a new region and people. It rather involved that old Sumer came under the effective control of a single city, Babylon. Hammurabi's first year of reign is generally considered as the beginning of Babylonia's history, but its exact dating is uncertain. There are 3 chronological systems for the ancient Middle East, and according to these, Hammurabi's first year is either 1848 BCE, 1792 BCE or 1728 BCE. The middle of these is used by most publications.
Around 1900 BCE: The Semitic tribe, the Amorites, conquers most of Mesopotamia, and establishes its kings in Babylon.
1792 BCE: With Hammurabi's accession to power as king of Babylonia, the kingdom starts to become an important force in the region.
1760s: Hammurabi wins important victories against Babylonia's neighbours, principally Elam and Larsa. The kingdom rises to one of the regions most important powers.
Last half 18th century: Babylonian civilization continues its progress under king Samsu-iluna (1750- 1712 BCE), son of Hammurabi. His strongest opponents are the Kassites and the Sea-Land under the leadership of Iluma-ilum.
17th century: Babylonia declines in power and territory under less apt rulers.
Around 1595: The Hittites attack Babylonia, and loot the kingdom and remove king Samsuditana from power. Babylonia was so weakened that for a period comes under control of the country known as Sea-Land.
Around 1600: Babylon is sacked by the Kassites, who take control over the kingdom. From this followed a 400 year period of growth and prosperity for the region. This was also a period of great cultural achievement, and one of the most impressive literary works, the Enuma Elish, belongs to it.

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By Tore Kjeilen