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Ca. 2004-1792 BCECa. 1792-1763 BCE

Mesopotamia / Kingdoms /
Isin-Larsa period

Ebla Nineveh Ashur Babylon Nippur Kish Isin Susa Lagash Larsa Ur

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.

Period of Mesopotamian history defined to begin with the fall of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur, ca. 2004 BCE, and the rise of Babylonia, around 1790 BCE. The period is defined by two strong kingdoms, Isin and Larsa, that dominate in this era.
Isin first emerged as the leading power, ruled by Sumerians. Larsa was then subject to Isin, but within half a century, the Akkadian rulers of Larsa broke free. Elam would conquer Larsa about a century later, but formed a local dynasty that secured growth and prosperity.
Neither city-state managed to take control over all of Mesopotamia, Larsa at its largest never extended beyond about 10-12 cities, and beyond their borders, there were other small kingdoms. Largely, there was peace and trade between lands, and Larsa and Isin would even have trade reaching distant lands, like the Indus Valley (now Pakistan), exchanging hides, wool, vegetable oil and ivory.
This was a period of development of sciences, but art is generally of a lower quality than in times before and after.
Dating is difficult for this period, as sources are more scant than in many other periods of Mesopotamian history.

2004: The dominant city-state of the preceding century, Ur, is conquered by Elam, bringing the state structure to an end.
Around 2000: Exploiting the void after Ur's fall, the king of Isin, Ishbi-Erra, attempts to conquer other cities of Sumer, but faces challenges from two other kingdoms, Eshnunna and Ashur. Larsa passes onto the control of the king of Isin.
20th century: Governor of Larsa, Gungunum, breaks free from Isin. He conquers even the city of Ur. Larsa would now rise to become one of the strongest powers of region, thereby replacing Isin. Still, the kingdom of Larsa only controlled around 10-12 other cities.
Around 1865: The king of Isin is defeated, and the royal dynasty is replaced by an outside chief, Enlil-bani.
1834: Local dynasty of Larsa is replaced by the Elamites, beginning an era of growth and prosperity.
1794: King of Larsa, Rim-Sin, conquers and subjects Isin.
1763: War between Babylonian king, Hammurabi, and king Rim-Sin of Larsa. It is believed that Hammurabi dammed the river Euphrates to weaken Larsa. This war ends with the total victory of Hammurabi, and Larsa is incorporated into Babylonia.

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By Tore Kjeilen