Friday, February 8, 2013

Sargon the Conqueror

Sargon the Conqueror
The first known conqueror in Mesopotamia was a warrior named Sargon. He was born to a nomadic people who lived in northern Mesopotamia. As a young man he served as an official in the Sumerian city-state of Kish. Sargon later killed the king of Kish and took control of the city-state. Sargon gathered an army and marched through Mesopotamia, establishing an empire. An empire is a conquered land of many peoples and places governed by one ruler. Sargon became the region's first emperor, or ruler of the empire.

In the middle of his empire, Sargon built a capital city called Akkad (AH.kahd). His empire and its people came to be known as Akkadian. Though the Akkadians were not Sumerians, they adopted the Sumerian culture as their own. As a sign of his conquest over the huge area, Sargon ordered every boundary pillar and city wall torn down.

For the next 55 years Sargon ruled over his empire. He maintained his rule both by force and by organization. Sargon was probably one of the first kings in Mesopotamia to set up a standing army made up of paid soldiers who served for a long period of time. Before that time, people became soldiers only in time of war. Sargon also appointed loyal nobles as governors to control conquered cities.

Sargon was an effective ruler and his empire was well organized. By about 2300 B.C. the Akkadian Empire stretched from what is now Iran westward to the Mediterranean Sea. When the empire finally weakened, the Mesopotamian city-states found themselves caught between two strong centers of power Assyria (uh.SIR.ee.uh) and Babylonia.

Why did Sargon tear down boundary pillars and city walls?

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