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Ancient Mesopotamia
The First Dynasty of Babylon



The First Dynasty of Babylon
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 11
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.56

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    metropolis, ox-driver, reasserted, stela, diorite, following, amass, vicinity, circa, sacked, turbulent, demise, groundbreaking, sovereignty, powerhouse, formidable
     content words:    Middle East, Euphrates River, Atlal Babil, Al Hillah, Jean-Vincent Scheil, Louvre Museum, Zagros Mountains, Hittite King, Hittite Kingdom


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The First Dynasty of Babylon
By Vickie Chao
  

1     Circa 2004 B.C. Mesopotamia was in a turbulent era! At the time, Ibbi-Sin, the last ruler of the 3rd dynasty of Ur, was having problems retaining control over his kingdom. On one hand, he worried about the Amorites, a nomadic Semitic tribe from the Middle East, whose growing influence was a good cause for concern. On the other hand, he had to put up with Ishbi-Erra, a general whose ambition reached no limit. As the two issues continued to plague him day and night, Ibbi-Sin saw power slowly slipping through his fingers. In spite of his best efforts, he never solved the problem. To make matters worse, sensing that the final days of the 3rd dynasty of Ur were fast approaching, Elam -- an ancient country in present-day southwestern Iran -- broke free and reasserted its independence. Shortly after reclaiming their sovereignty, the Elamites took Ur, the capital, under siege. When they finally sacked it, they arrested Ibbi-Sin and took him back to the city of Elam. That was the last we ever heard of him.
 
2     Upon the collapse of the 3rd dynasty of Ur in 2004 B.C., the Amorites took advantage of the situation and began to flex their muscles. Slowly and surely, they made progress and set themselves up as kings of several cities formerly controlled by the 3rd dynasty of Ur. One of those cities was Babylon. Babylon, located near the Euphrates River in southern Mesopotamia, was the capital of the state Babylonia. Over the course of thousands of years, this famous metropolis had acquired many different names. As a result, Babylon was also called Bab-ilu, Bab-ilim, Bavel, Babel, or Atlal Babil in various languages. Today, the area lies within the vicinity of Al Hillah, an Iraqi city about 60 miles south of Baghdad.
 
3     The first Amorite king of Babylon was Sumuabum. He founded the 1st dynasty of Babylon in 1894 B.C. Of the scant information we have about that period, we know only that he and the following four successors appeared to be good rulers. None of them, however, seemed to amass a reputation that could exceed the fame enjoyed by the next king, Hammurabi (also spelled as Hammurapi).

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