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. The reigns in List B are longer, in general.
The short chronology:
Sumu-abum or Su-abu
c. 1830—1817 BC
Ilushuma of Assyria
c. 1817—1781 BC
Erishum I of Assyria
Sabium or Sabum
c. 1781—1767 BC
Son of Sumu-la-El
c. 1767—1749 BC
Son of Sabium
c. 1748—1729 BC
Son of Apil-Sin
c. 1728—1686 BC
Zimri-Lim of Mari, Siwe-palar-huppak of
c. 1686—1648 BC
Son of Hammurabi
Abi-eshuh or Abieshu
c. 1648—1620 BC
Son of Samsu-iluna
c. 1620—1583 BC
Son of Abi-eshuh
Ammi-saduqa or Ammisaduqa
c. 1582—1562 BC
Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa
c. 1562—1531 BC
Sack of Babylon
Origins of the First Dynasty
The actual origins of the dynasty are rather hard to pinpoint with
great certainty simply because
Babylon itself, due to a high water
table, yields very few archaeological materials intact. Thus any
evidence must come from surrounding regions and written records. Not
much is known about the kings from
than the fact they were
Amorites rather than indigenous Akkadians.
What is known, however, is that they accumulated little land. When
Hammurabi (also an Amorite) ascended the throne of Babylon, the empire
only consisted of a few towns in the surrounding area: Dilbat, Sippar,
Kish, and Borsippa. Once
Hammurabi was king, his military victories
gained land for the empire. However,
Babylon remained but one of
several important areas in Mesopotamia, along with Assyria, then ruled
by Shamshi-Adad I, and Larsa, then ruled by Rim-Sin I.
In Hammurabi's thirtieth year as king, he really began to establish
Babylon as the center of what would be a great empire. In that year,
Larsa from Rim-Sin I, thus gaining control over the
lucrative urban centers of Nippur, Ur, Uruk, and Isin. In essence,
Hammurabi gained control over all of south Mesopotamia. The other
formidable political power in the region in the 2nd millennium was
Hammurabi succeeded in capturing in c. 1761. Babylon
exploited Eshnunna's well-established commercial trade routes and the
economic stability that came with them. It was not long before
Hammurabi's army took
Assyria (another economic powerhouse) and parts
of the Zagros Mountains. In 1760,
Hammurabi finally captured Mari, the
final piece of the puzzle that gave him control over virtually all of
the territory that made up
Mesopotamia under the Third Dynasty of Ur
in the 3rd millennium.
Hammurabi's other name was Hammurapi-ilu, meaning
"Hammurapi the god" or perhaps "Hammurapi is god." He could have been
Amraphel king of
Shinar or Sinear in the Jewish records and the Bible,
a contemporary of Abraham.
Abraham lived from 1871 to 1784, according
to modern interpretations of the Old Testament's figures that have
been sometimes reckoned in modern half years before the Exodus, from
equinox to equinox.
A recent translation of the Chogha Gavaneh tablets which date back to
1800 BC indicates there were close contacts between this town located
in the intermontane valley of Islamabad in Central Zagros and Dyala
Venus tablets of
Ammisaduqa (i.e., several ancient versions on
clay tablets) are famous, and several books had been published about
them. Several dates have been offered but the old dates of many
sourcebooks seems to be outdated and incorrect. There are further
difficulties: the 21-year span of the detailed observations of the
Venus may or may not coincide with the reign of this king,
because his name is not mentioned, only the Year of the Golden Throne.
A few sources, some printed almost a century ago, claim that the
original text mentions an occultation of the
Venus by the moon.
However, this may be a misinterpretation. Calculations support 1659
for the fall of Babylon, based on the statistical probability of
dating based on the planet's observations. The presently accepted
middle chronology is too low from the astronomical point of view.
A text about the fall of
Babylon by the
Mursilis I at the
end of Samsuditana's reign which tells about a twin eclipse is crucial
for a correct Babylonian chronology. The pair of lunar and solar
eclipses occurred in the month Shimanu (Sivan). The lunar eclipse took
place on February 9, 1659 BC. It started at 4:43 and ended at 6:47.
The latter was invisible which satisfies the record which tells that
the setting moon was still eclipsed. The solar eclipse occurred on
February 23, 1659. It started at 10:26, has its maximum at 11:45, and
ended at 13:04.
Chronology of the Ancient Near East
Kings of Babylon
List of lists of ancient kings
List of Mesopotamian dynasties
Short chronology timeline
Timeline of the Assyrian Empire
^ BM 33332.
^ BM 38122.
^ Reiner, Erica; D. Pingree. Babylonian Planetary Omens The Venus, the
Tablet of Ammisaduqa.
^ Kelley, David H.; E. F. Milone; Anthony F. Aveni (2004). Exploring
Ancient Skies: An Encyclopedic Survey of Archaeoastronomy. New York:
Springer. ISBN 0-387-95310-8.
^ Huber, Peter (1982). "Astronomical dating of
Babylon I and Ur III".
Monographic Journals of the Near Eas