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Rim-Sin (I),
King of Larsa (1822-1763 B.C.)

At the beginning of the 20th century, archaeologists unearthed a very important find at Tall Sankarah (ancient Larsa) in southern Iraq. Among the items recovered were clay tablets, a stone Stela with carved inscriptions and other art objects revealing significant information about Rim-Sin and his nemesis, Hammurabi. Prior to this find, the only mention of Rim-Sin had been in the Name List of Sumerian Kings.

During the 21st century B.C. the Sumerian city of Ur dominated southern Mesopotamia. Over the years, the immigrantion of Amorites from the east and Kassites from the north began to weaken its power. In Ur's weakened state, it could not prevent cities, such as Isin, from breaking away. The city-states of Isin and Larsa (southeast of Uruk) came to dominate what is known as the Isin-Larsa period. They seem to have existed in a state of armed neutrality for more than a century, in which each consolidated its power.

While Isin was initially the more powerful of the two great powers, by the rule of Gungunum and Abi-sare, Larsa had gained the upper hand. In fact, the rulers of Isin after Enlil-bani ruled little more than Isin itself. Meanwhile, he twelth king of Larsa, Silli-Adad (c. 1835 B.C.), reigned for only a year before being killed in battle with Babylon. A powerful Elamite noble named Kudur-Mabug claimed the throne of Larsa. Kudur-Mabug reigned in Jamutbal, a kingdom on the coast of the Persian Gulf to the east of the Tigris River, across from Elam. Jamutbal is synonymous with the Jabuna Kingdom (or Sapuna or Jambudvipa) of the Indus Valley.

Kudur-Mabug installed his son, Warad-Sin (1834-23 B.C.) on the throne as king of Larsa. This act apparently caused little disruption in the economic life of Larsa, and this was in fact a most prosperous period, as many thousands of business documents attest. Agriculture and stockbreeding flourished; much attention was given to irrigation; and long-distance trade connected the Euphrates with the Indus valley through commerce in hides, wool, vegetable oil, and ivory. Upon Warad-Sin's death, Kudur-Mabug gave the thron over to his second son, Rim-Sin. As in the case of his brother, Kudur-Mabug inaugurated the reign of Rim-Sin by a dedication; but there seems to be no inscription in which Rim-Sin makes a dedication for the life of his father, implying that Kudur-Mabug died soon after his second son came to the throne.

Under Rim-Sin (1822-1763), the arts, especially the old Sumerian scribal schools, flourished. He enjoyed the longest authenticated reign in Mesopotamian history. He defeated Babylon in battle in 1794 B.C., conquered Isin and ruled all of Sumer. Rim-Sin was the last Mesopotamian monarch to claim divinity. Rim-Sin was the last "Sumerian" ruler and his reign was the last flowering of sumerian culture.

'Rim' means 'ruler' in Sumerian, and is derived from 'Raman', the name of the thunder god of the Amorites. 'Sin' means 'moon god' in Akkadian, and is derived from 'Sana', the Akkadian god of the thunder storm.

The following is a short timeline detailing the military campaigns which effected Larsa under Rim-Sin's reign:

{Kings of Sumeria}

 

Rim-Sin (II),
King of Larsa (1741-1736 B.C.)

In the 8th year of the rule of Samsu-iluna (Hammurabi's son), Babylon was engaged in battles wih the Kassites. This preoccupation encouraged various city-states in Mesopotamia to exert their independence. Rim-Sin II seized this opportunity and rose to take the throne of Larsa. The following year, having defeated the Kassites, Samsu-iluna returned to press his case in Sumer. He soundly defeated the forces of Idamaras, Emutbal, Uruk and Isin - after which he turned his armies on Ur and Larsa, which he destroyed. In all, Rim-Sin II enjoyed total rule of Larsa for just over one year, though his battles with Samsu-iluna lasted for five years, most of the fighting taking place on the Elam/Sumer border. In the end, Rim-Sin II was captured and executed.

{Kings of Sumeria}

Sources:

  • Alexander, John Bruce; "Babylonian Inscriptions In The Collection Of James B. Nies - Vol. VII: Early Babylonian Letters And Economic Texts"; Yale University Press, 1943.
  • Goetze, Albrecht; "Yale Oriental Series, Babylonian Texts - Vol. X: Old Babylonian Omen Texts"; Yale University Press & Oxford University Press, 1947.

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