Larsa
Overview
 
Larsa was an important city of ancient Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu
Utu
Utu is the Sun god in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal. His brother and sisters are Ishkur and Inanna and Erishkigal....

. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlement Tell as-Senkereh or Sankarah.
According to the Sumerian king list
Sumerian king list
The Sumerian King List is an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer from Sumerian and neighboring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of "official" kingship...

, "Larag" (Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

: LA-RA-AKKI) was one of the five cities to "exercise kingship" in the legendary antediluvian era.
Encyclopedia
Larsa was an important city of ancient Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu
Utu
Utu is the Sun god in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal. His brother and sisters are Ishkur and Inanna and Erishkigal....

. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlement Tell as-Senkereh or Sankarah.

History

According to the Sumerian king list
Sumerian king list
The Sumerian King List is an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer from Sumerian and neighboring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of "official" kingship...

, "Larag" (Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

: LA-RA-AKKI) was one of the five cities to "exercise kingship" in the legendary antediluvian era. The historical "Larsa" was already in existence as early as the reign of Eannatum
Eannatum
Eannatum was a Sumerian king of Lagash who established one of the first verifiable empires in history. One inscription of his, found on a boulder, states that Eannatum was his Sumerian name, while his "Tidnu" name was Lumma.-Conquest of Sumer:...

 of Lagash
Lagash
Lagash is located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah. Lagash was one of the oldest cities of the Ancient Near East...

, who annexed it to his empire.

The city became a political force during the Isin
Isin
Isin was an ancient city-state of lower Mesopotamia about 20 miles south of Nippur at the site of modern Ishan al-Bahriyat in Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate.-History:...

-Larsa period. After the Third Dynasty of Ur
Third Dynasty of Ur
The Third Dynasty of Ur, also known as the Neo-Sumerian Empire or the Ur III Empire refers simultaneously to a 21st to 20th century BC Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state that some historians regard as a nascent empire...

 collapsed ca. 1940 BC, Ishbi-Erra
Ishbi-Erra
Ishbi-Erra was the first king in the Dynasty of Isin. When the Third Dynasty of Ur collapsed during the reign of Ibbi-Sin, and the former empire was overrun by invaders from Elam and elsewhere, Ishbi-Erra, who had until then served as governor of Isin, set-up an independent kingdom. This kingdom...

, an official of Ibbi-Sin
Ibbi-Sin
Ibbi-Sin, son of Shu-Sin, was king of Sumer and Akkad and last king of the Ur III dynasty, and reigned circa 1963 BC-1940 BC . During his reign, the Sumerian empire was attacked repeatedly by Amorites...

, the last king of the Ur III Dynasty, relocated to Isin
Isin
Isin was an ancient city-state of lower Mesopotamia about 20 miles south of Nippur at the site of modern Ishan al-Bahriyat in Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate.-History:...

 and set up a government which purported to be the successor to the Ur III dynasty. From there, Ishbi-Erra recaptured Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

 as well as the cities of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 and Lagash, which Larsa was subject to. Subsequent Isin rulers appointed governors to rule over Lagash; one such governor was an Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

 named Gungunum
Gungunum
Gungunum ruled the ancient Near East city-state of Larsa from 1868 BC to 1841 BC. He was an Amorite, the son of Samium. He was a contemporary of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin, and took control of the city of Ur...

. He eventually broke with Isin and established an independent dynasty in Larsa. To legitimize his rule and deliver a blow to Isin, Gungunum captured the city of Ur. As the region of Larsa was the main center of trade via the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, Isin lost an enormously profitable trade route, as well as a city with much cultic significance.

Gungunum's two successors, Abisare
Abisare
Abisare ruled the ancient Near East city-state of Larsa from 1841 BC to 1830 BC. He was an Amorite. The annals of his 11 year-old reign record that he smote Isin in his 9th regnal year.-External links:*...

 (ca. 1841 - 1830 BC) and Sumuel
Sumuel
Sumuel or Sumu-El ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from c. 1830 BC to 1801 BC. He was an Amorite. Annals for his complete 29 year reign have survived; thus it is known that he campaigned against Akusum and Kazallu in his year 4, Uruk in year 5, Pinaratim in year 8, Sabum in year 10,...

 (ca. 1830 - 1801 BC), both took steps to cut Isin completely off from access to canals. After this period, Isin quickly lost political and economical force.

Larsa grew powerful, but it never accumulated a large territory. At its peak under king Rim-Sin I
Rim-Sin I
Rim-Sin I ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1758 BC to 1699 BC or 1822 BC to 1763 BC . His sister En-ane-du was high priestess of the moon god in Ur. Rim-Sin I was a contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon and Irdanene of Uruk.-Reign:Rim-Sin’s reign of Larsa started sometime around...

 (ca. 1758 - 1699 BC), Larsa controlled only about 10-15 other city-states — nowhere near the territory controlled by other dynasties in Mesopotamian history. Nevertheless, huge building projects and agricultural undertakings can be detected archaeologically. After the defeat of Rim-Sin I by Hamurabi of Babylon, Larsa became a minor site, though it has been suggested that it was the home of the 1st Sealand Dynasty of Babylon.

Kings of Larsa

Ruler Reigned (short chronology) Comments
Naplanum
Naplanum
Naplanum was the first independent king of the ancient Near East city-state of Larsa ca. 1961 BC to 1940 BC — roughly during the reign of Ibbi-Sin of Ur-III and the great famine — according to the later Larsa King List...

 
ca. 1961—1940 BC Contemporary of Ibbi-Suen of Ur III
Emisum
Emisum
Emisum or Iemsium ruled the ancient Near East city-state of Larsa from 1940 BC to 1912 BC. He was an Amorite....

 
ca. 1940—1912 BC
Samium
Samium
Samium ruled the ancient Near Eastern city-state of Larsa from 1912 BC to 1877 BC. He was an Amorite. He had a son called Zabaia....

 
ca. 1912—1877 BC
Zabaia
Zabaia
Zabaia ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1877 BC to 1868 BC. He was an Amorite and the son ofSamium....

 
ca. 1877—1868 BC Son of Samium, First royal inscription
Gungunum
Gungunum
Gungunum ruled the ancient Near East city-state of Larsa from 1868 BC to 1841 BC. He was an Amorite, the son of Samium. He was a contemporary of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin, and took control of the city of Ur...

 
ca. 1868—1841 BC Gained independence from Lipit-Eshtar of Isin
Isin
Isin was an ancient city-state of lower Mesopotamia about 20 miles south of Nippur at the site of modern Ishan al-Bahriyat in Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate.-History:...

Abisare
Abisare
Abisare ruled the ancient Near East city-state of Larsa from 1841 BC to 1830 BC. He was an Amorite. The annals of his 11 year-old reign record that he smote Isin in his 9th regnal year.-External links:*...

 
ca. 1841—1830 BC
Sumuel
Sumuel
Sumuel or Sumu-El ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from c. 1830 BC to 1801 BC. He was an Amorite. Annals for his complete 29 year reign have survived; thus it is known that he campaigned against Akusum and Kazallu in his year 4, Uruk in year 5, Pinaratim in year 8, Sabum in year 10,...

 
ca. 1830—1801 BC
Nur-Adad
Nur-Adad
Nur-Adad ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1801 BC to 1785 BC. He was a contemporary of Sumu-la-El of Babylon....

 
ca. 1801—1785 BC Contemporary of Sumu-la-El
Sumu-la-El
Sumu-la-El was a King in the First Dynasty of Babylon. He reigned ca.1817 BC - 1781 BC.-References:...

 of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

Sin-Iddinam
Sin-Iddinam
Sin-Iddinam ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1785 BC to 1778 BC. He was the son of Nur-Adad, withwhom there may have been a short co-regency overlap....

 
ca. 1785—1778 BC Son of Nur-Adad
Sin-Eribam
Sin-Eribam
Sin-Eribam ruled the ancient Near East Amorite city-stateof Larsa for only two years, from ca. 1778 BC to 1776 BC.-External links:*...

 
ca. 1778—1776 BC
Sin-Iqisham
Sin-Iqisham
Sin-Iqisham ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1776 BC to 1771 BC. He was the son of Sin-Eribam and a contemporary of Zambiya of Isin....

 
ca. 1776—1771 BC Contemporary of Zambiya of Isin
Isin
Isin was an ancient city-state of lower Mesopotamia about 20 miles south of Nippur at the site of modern Ishan al-Bahriyat in Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate.-History:...

, Son of Sin-Eribam
Silli-Adad
Silli-Adad
Silli-Adad ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1771 BC to 1770 BC. His reign was less than a full year; the annals state that he was "removed from kingship" and "was no longer king". His successor was Warad-Sin.-External links:*...

 
ca. 1771—1770 BC
Warad-Sin
Warad-Sin
Warad-Sin ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1770 BC to 1758 BC. There are indications that hisfather Kudur-Mabuk was co-regent or at very least the power behind thethrone. His sister En-ane-du was high priestess of the moon god in Ur....

 
ca. 1770—1758 BC Possible co-regency with Kudur-Mabuk
Kudur-Mabuk
Kudur-Mabuk was a ruler in the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1770 BC to 1754 BC. His sons Warad-Sin andRim-Sin I were kings of Larsa. His daughter En-ane-du was highpriestess of the moon god in Ur....

 his father
Rim-Sin I
Rim-Sin I
Rim-Sin I ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1758 BC to 1699 BC or 1822 BC to 1763 BC . His sister En-ane-du was high priestess of the moon god in Ur. Rim-Sin I was a contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon and Irdanene of Uruk.-Reign:Rim-Sin’s reign of Larsa started sometime around...

 
ca. 1758—1699 BC Contemporary of Irdanene of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

, Defeated by Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, Brother of Warad-Sin
Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 
ca. 1699—1686 BC Official Babylonian rule
Samsu-iluna
Samsu-Iluna
Samsu-iluna was the seventh king of the founding Amorite dynasty of Babylon, ruling from 1750 BC to 1712 BC middle chronology. He was the son and successor of Hammurabi by an unknown mother...

 of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 
ca. 1686—1678 BC Official Babylonian rule
Rim-Sin II
Rim-Sin II
Rim-Sin II ruled the ancient Near East city-stateof Larsa from 1678 BC to 1674 BC. Rim-Sin II was a contemporary of Samsu-iluna of Babylon.-External links:*...

 
ca. 1678—1674 BC Killed in revolt against Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...


Archaeology

The remains of Larsa cover an oval about 4.5 miles in circumference. The highest point is around 70 feet in height.

The site of Tell es-Senkereh, then known as Sinkara, was first excavated by William Loftus
William Loftus
William Kennett Loftus was a British geologist, naturalist, explorer and archaeological excavator. He discovered the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk in 1849.-Biography:...

 in 1850 for less than a month.
In those early days of archaeology, the effort was more focused on obtaining museum specimens than scientific data and niceties like site drawings and findspots were not yet in common usage.
Loftus recovered building bricks of Nebuchadnezzar II of the
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

 which enabled the sites identification as
the ancient city of Larsa. Much of the effort by Loftus was on the
temple of Shamash
Shamash
Shamash was a native Mesopotamian deity and the sun god in the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian pantheons. Shamash was the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu...

, rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar II. Inscriptions of
Burna-Buriash II of the Kassite dynasty of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 and Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 of the First Babylonian Dynasty
First Babylonian Dynasty
The chronology of the first dynasty of Babylonia is debated as there is a Babylonian King List A and a Babylonian King List B. In this chronology, the regnal years of List A are used due to their wide usage...

 were also found. Larsa was also briefly worked by Walter Andrae in 1903.
The site was inspected by Edgar James Banks
Edgar James Banks
Edgar James Banks . American diplomat, antiquarian and novelist. Banks was an antiquities enthusiast and entrepreneurial roving archaeologist in the closing days of the Ottoman Empire, who has been held up as an original for the fictional composite figure of Indiana Jones...

 in 1905. He found
that widespread looting by the local population was occurring there.

The first modern, scientific, excavation of Senkereh occurred in 1933, with the work of Andre Parrot.
Parrot worked at the location again in 1967.
In 1969 and 1970, Larsa was excavated by Jean-Claude Margueron.
Between 1976 and 1991, an expedition of the Delegation Archaeologic Francaise en Irak led by J-L. Huot excavated at Tell es-Senereh for 13 seasons.

See also

  • Cities of the ancient Near East
    Cities of the ancient Near East
    The largest cities in the Bronze Age ancient Near East housed several tens of thousands. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age with some 30,000 inhabitants was the largest city of the time by far...

  • Short chronology timeline
    Short chronology timeline
    The short chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1728 BC – 1686 BC and the sack of Babylon to 1531 BC....


External links

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