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The actual site of ancient Isin.
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The actual site of ancient Isin.

Boundary stone from the 2nd Dynasty of Isin, 11th century BCE. British Museum, London, UK.
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Boundary stone from the 2nd Dynasty of Isin, 11th century BCE. British Museum, London, UK.

Ancient city in Mesopotamia, in what today is southern Iraq. Its location corresponds to modern Ishan al-Bahriyat, near Diwaniyah.
It was the country between Babylonia and Larsa.
Isin has two golden ages. The 1st Dynasty from ca. 2000-1794 BCE, the 2nd Dynasty came more than 600 years later, lasting 1156-1025 BCE. The first period is considered the Isin-Larsa period of Mesopotamian history.
At Isin, remains of many large structures have been identified, the largest being temples.
From Isin, laws were formulated before the Code of Hammurabi.
Isin has proved easy to exploit by looters and vandals after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. Some reports tell that very little of value remains at the original site today.
At Isin an ancient fertility cult was continued, in which the king annually acted out a sacred marriage, having sex with a priestess representing the goddess of love and war, Inanna. Kings' daughters were appointed official priestesses of the Moon-god.

Around 2017 BCE: An independent dynasty is established in Isin by Amorite chief, Ishbi-Erra. He claimed to be successor to the Ur rulers.
Around 2000: Ishbi-Erra attempts to conquer other cities of Sumer, but faces challenges from two other kingdoms, Eshnunna and Ashur.
20th century: Governor of Larsa, Gungunum, breaks free from Isin. He conquers even the city of Ur.
20th and 19th century: Larsa rises to one of the strongest powers of region, thereby replacing Isin.
Around 1865: The king of Isin is defeated, and the royal dynasty is replaced by an outside chief, Enlil-bani.
1794: Conquered by, and subjected to Larsa king, Rim-Sin 1. Isin would later pass on to Babylon.
1156: Isin reemerges as an independent city-state.
— During some of its kings, Babylon would be under control of Isin.
1025: Fall of Isin.

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By Tore Kjeilen