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Mesopotamia / Cities /


Eshnunna, Sumer

30 cm high statue of male worshipper. Found in the Square Temple, Eshnunna. Now Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

CCeramic nude female figurine from Eshnunna. Isin-Larsa period, between 2000 and 1800 BCE.
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Ceramic nude female figurine, between 2000 and 1800 BCE. Photo: Mike Harrsch.

Ancient city in Mesopotamia, in what today is central Iraq. Its location corresponds to modern Tell al-Asmar, 30 km northeast of Baghdad (near Ba'quba).
Geographically, Eshnunna was on the border between Sumer and Elam, and Assyria not far off to the north. Culturally, it was part of Sumer.
Eshnunna is mainly remembered for being the city where early laws were developed, the Laws of Eshnunna, believed to have been developed around 1800 BCE, or about half a century before the Code of Hammurabi. These appear to have been of importance for the development of the latter.
The main god of Eshnunna was Tishpak.
Excavations at Eshnunna's Square Temple, unearthed a selection of fine alabaster sculptures, considered among the finest of ancient Near East sculptures.

Excavations tell that Eshnunna was settled in the 4th millennium BCE.
21st century: Eshnunna becomes the seat of a governor (ensi) subject to Ur.
Ca. 2000: Ur collapses, Eshnunna becomes independent.
Around 1900: Conquered by Elam.
Ca. 1754: Conquered by Babylonian king, Hammurabi. This results in decline for Eshnunna, the city becomes part of the Old Babylonian Empire. With this begins an era of decline.
Around 1600: Eshnunna is believed to have been abandoned.

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By Tore Kjeilen