Image of Sumerian landscape

City States, Kingdoms and Empires in Mesopotamia

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The city of Adab was mostly a city that belonged to larger empires, but under the king Lugal-anne-mundu, Adab conquered all of Mesopotamia for a brief period.

Akkadian Empire


The Akkadian Empire was started by Sargon of Akkad ("Sargon the Great"), based around the city state of Akkad, around 2330 - 2150 BCE. The Akkadian period follows the Early Dynastic period.



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Bad-tibira was the second oldest city in Sumeria, according to the Sumerian King List. This city of craftsmen was home to Dumuzi, the god of harvests.

map of the city of larsa


The city of Larsa was one of five old cities from before the flood. It was an important trading city and centre for mathematical learning, and and important city state and kingdom.

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Mari was an important trading city on the Euphrates, located in present day Syria. It was the staging post between Sumeria in the south and Egypt, Anatolia (Turkey) and the Mediterranean Sea.

map of the city of uruk


Nineveh was maybe the most beautiful city in the world at the height of its fame.

map of the city of ur


The city of Ur is one of the oldest in human history. Ur was founded around 4000 BCE, and abandoned around 500 BCE, lasting for 3,500 years. Initially it was an independent city-state, but it was later incorporated into many of the empires that stretched accross southern Mesopotamia.

map of the city of uruk


Uruk is one of the oldest city in the world, and around 3500 BCE it was probably the largest city. It is believed that writing was started in Uruk.

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The Lion Hunt

If you have visited the Sumerian section of the British Museum, chances are you have seen the Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal. It is a series of very impressive wall coverings illustrating the King Ashurbanipal's prowess.

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The game of Ur

Possibly the oldest board game in existence, and surely the oldest we have rules for, the Game of Ur is a fascinating predecessor to Backgammon. Watch a video on how to play it, and see the original at British Museum.