Adab (Bismaya) :

A town situated on the former course of the Tigris. Archaeological findings were made at the site at the beginning of the twentieth century.


Adad (Addu) :

A storm god with principal temples at Aleppo, Arrapha and Karkar.


Akkad :

The ancient name of the whole territory of Central Mesopotamia, from Babylon to Ešnunna. The kings ‘of Sumer and Akkad’ had united the wider territory of Southern and Central Mesopotamia. The same Akkadian word also denotes more specifically Agade, the ancient city founded by Sargon in the twenty-fourth century as the capital of his empire. It was somewhere near modern Baghdad but, although it survived longer than the Empire of Sargon, its precise location is unknown.


Akkadian :

The language, classified as Eastern Semitic, used throughout Mesopotamia and beyond during virtually the whole of its ancient history. From the end of the third millennium onwards Babylonian, the language of Central and Southern Mesopotamia, can be distinguished from Assyrian, which was first attested in Assur and subsequently, from the middle of the second millennium, in the whole of Northern Mesopotamia.


Alalah (Tell Atchana) :

A town situated on the River Orontes in Northern Syria. It was first excavated by British archaeologists from the 1930s onwards, with operations suspended during the War. The archives from the seventeenth century were found in Level VII.


Ammi-Saduqa :

King of Babylon (1646–1626) and great-great-grandson of Hammurabi. The well-preserved text of the mîšarum he proclaimed when he was king is taken as the model for those proclaimed by other kings.


Amorites :

An Amorite-speaking people from Western Syria who invaded Mesopotamia at the end of the third millennium. After the demise of the kingdom of Ur (2002) Amorite warlords established several dynasties, firstly at Isin and Larsa, and then at Babylon, Halab, Qatna and Ekallatum. They and their language gradually assimilated with the native Akkadian population. Amorite is classified as a North-Western Semitic language and is attested especially in personal names and some technical terminology between the end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second millennium.


Amud-pi-El :

King of Qatna, son of Išhi-Addu.


Amurrum :

A deity whose name is identical with the region of Syria that was the original homeland of the Amorites.


An :

One of the two principal deities of the Sumerian pantheon.


Andarig (perhaps Tell Khoshi) :

Capital city of a kingdom south of the Jebel Sinjar. After the principal king Qarni-Lim (1775–1765) was murdered, he was succeeded by Atamrum (1765–1763).


Anšan (Tall-i Malyan) :

Ancient capital of Elam, situated close to the city of Shiraz in Iran.


Apil-Sin :

King of Babylon (1830–1813) and grandfather of Hammurabi.


Apilum :

A type of prophet. The Babylonian word literally means ‘respondent’.


Arrapha (Kirkuk) :

Capital of a kingdom that Samsi-Addu annexed as his own for a few years.


Asqur-Addu :

King of Karana (1764–1762).


Assur (Qala’at Šerqat) :

A city-state situated on the right bank of the middle Euphrates. In the first half of the second millennium it was not of any major political importance but was the base for long-distance trade with Anatolia. The famous Old Assyrian archives found in the commercial quarter of Kaniš (Kültepe) show in great detail how the Assyrian merchants conducted their affairs. Assur was the principal god associated with the city of Assur.


Ašlakka :

An important town, not yet identified, at the centre of the Habur triangle. At the beginning of his reign as king of Mari, Zimri-Lim conquered it and installed Ibal-Addu as king. When he rebelled against Mari at the end of 1763 Zimri-Lim conquered the town again.


Ašnakkum (Chagar Bazar) :

Capital of an important kingdom in the Habur triangle.


Atamrum :

Coming originally from Allahad he took refuge at Ešnunna. There he sided with the emperor of Elam, who gave him a large number of troops to invade Northern Mesopotamia. After the murder of Qarni-Lim at the beginning of 1765 he became king of Andarig, but then he joined forces with Zimri-Lim once he realised that Elam was going to be defeated. Eventually he associated himself with Hammurabi. At the end of 1763 he died suddenly.


Atra-hasis :

One of the heroic personages in the Babylonian legend of the Deluge. His name can be translated as ‘exceedingly wise’. The text of the legend is found on a series of tablets written towards the end of the Old Babylonian period as well as from later ‘Ninevite’ versions, which were prepared for the library of Assurbanipal at Nineveh.


Awîlum :

A word occurring very frequently in the Code of Hammurabi. Essentially it means ‘a man’, but in different contexts it can also mean a person in general, or more specifically a free man (in contrast to wardum), or even someone enjoying a privileged position at court (in contrast to an ordinary subject of the king).


Aya :

A goddess, spouse of Šamaš.


Bâbtum :

A word denoting both a designated area of a Babylonian town and the assembly that was in control of regulating affairs in that area.


Babylon :

A city situated on the ancient course of the Euphrates. The name is attested as early as the Agade period (c. 2300) and it was the residence of an ensi, a governor in the Ur III period. When the Amorites arrived at the beginning of the nineteenth century they made it the capital of the First Dynasty of Babylon.


Bahdi-Lim :

Governor of Mari in the time of Zimri-Lim.


Bâ’irum :

One of two categories of soldier referred to in the Code of Hammurabi (see rêdûm). The word literally means ‘a fisherman’, which when applied to a soldier becomes a marine, because supposedly he caught his fish while patrolling the southern marshes in his boat and fulfilling his military duties.


Balih :

A tributary of the Euphrates flowing into the left bank. The valley it formed was known as the region of Zalmaqum, where Harran was one of the principal towns.


Belet-ili :

One of the names, literally meaning ‘Lady of the Gods’, for the mother goddess of the Sumero-Akkadian pantheon. Alternatively she is known as Nintu.


Benjaminites :

A confederation of five of the Amorite tribes living in various territories of the Near East. Not all of them were sedentary, as some were always on the move with their flocks along the Euphrates valley in Western Syria. The name Benjamin literally means ‘a son of the right’ or ‘someone from the south’ and is identical to the name used in the Bible to denote the most southern of the twelve tribes of Israel. The element meaning South, yamin, is cognate with the name Yemen, in the south of the Arabian Peninsula.


Bensim’alites :

An important element of the Amorite population to which both Yahdun-Lim and Zimri-Lim, kings of Mari, belonged. They exercised sovereignty over the Bensim’alites, who in the time of Zimri-Lim were still nomadic, leading their flocks in the pastures of the Habur triangle. The element sim’al means both ‘left’ and ‘north’, and so the literal meaning of the name, ‘a son of the left’ or ‘someone from the north’, distinguishes the Bensim’alites from the Benjaminites.


Borsippa (Birs Nimrud) :

A town, 20 kilometres south-west of Babylon, where the principal temple of Nabu, the Ezida, was located.


Burundum :

A region which must have been situated to the northeast of Zalmaqum, on the right bank of the Upper Tigris. It is mentioned as one of the regions conquered by Hammurabi in 1761.


Cuneiform :

A system of writing attested from the end of the fourth millennium onwards, first used to write Sumerian and subsequently Akkadian as well as several other languages from different groups, such as Elamite, Hurrian and Hittite. The name is derived from cuneus, the Latin for ‘wedge’, since the signs it uses, which may indicate whole words (logograms) or a syllable of a word (phonogram), consist of wedges clustered in different formations. Most cuneiform inscriptions are imprinted onto soft clay tablets which are then hardened by drying. Stone was also often used as a more permanent writing medium, as for example when inscribing the stele with Hammurabi’s laws.


Cylinder seal :

Small cylinder of stone engraved with images and perhaps also an inscription to identify the owner. Once a scribe had completed writing a clay tablet the seal would be rolled over the still moist surface. The seal impression marked the end of a document, confirmed that the words that had been written were genuine and authenticated a legal decision. Boxes, jars and gates were sometimes secured with clay over which a seal has been impressed and clay envelopes as well as the tablet contained in them are similarly sealed. Cylinder seals from the Old Babylonian period were usually engraved with an image and an inscription to identify the owner. The images and inscriptions are inscribed in mirror format so that they could be properly seen in the seal impression.


Daduša :

King of Ešnunna until 1779, when his son Ibal-pi-El II succeded to that throne. After attacking the kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia he concluded a peace treaty with Samsi-Addu, and then in 1780 joined him in the campaign against the kingdom of Urbilum.


Dagan :

The principal god in the area of the Middle Euphrates with temples at Tuttul and Terqa. He became assimilated with the Sumerian god Enlil.


Damkina :

Spouse of the god Enki (Ea).


Der (Tell ‘Aqar, close to Badrah) :

Capital of a kingdom in the east of Babylonia on the route from Malgium to Susa. It is to be distinguished from two other towns with the same name, the one in xixthe Balih valley, and the other on the Euphrates, a few kilometres downstream from Mari.


Dilbat (Tell ed-Deylam) :

A town located 30 kilometres to the south of Babylon devoted to the god Uraš.


Diyala :

Tributary of the Tigris along which the kingdom of Ešnunna extended. One of the main routes from the Iranian plateau to the Mesopotamian plain passed through the Diyala valley.


Ebabbar :

The Sumerian name, meaning ‘the shining temple’, for the temple of Šamaš at Sippar.


Ebla (Tell Mardikh) :

Located 60 kilometres to the south of Aleppo and capital of a vassal kingdom of Aleppo in the seventeenth century. The name is not attested in documents from the time of Hammurabi.


Ekallatum :

Town on the middle stretches of the Tigris, almost certainly to be located on the right bank about 30 kilometres north of Assur. Samsi-Addu, after he had established the kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia, chose Ekallatum as the capital and placed his son Išme-Dagan on the throne there.


Ekur :

The Sumerian name, meaning ‘the mountain temple’, for the temple of Enlil at Nippur.


Elam :

Area in the west of modern Iran with Anšan (modern Tall-i Malyan) as the capital. The Sumerian name for the emperor of Elam was sukkal-mah but this was generally abbreviated to sukkal.


Emar (Meskene) :

Town on the right bank of the Middle Euphrates. Situated as it was on the border of the kingdom of Aleppo it became an important crossroads for trade.


Emeslam :

The Sumerian name for the temples at Kutha and Maškan-šapir.


Emutbalum (also Yamutbal) :

Name of an Amorite tribe which settled in the lower valley of the Tigris around Maškan-šapir and which gave its name to the surrounding area. The name was used to refer to the whole of the ancient kingdom of Larsa after it had been annexed by Hammurabi.


Enki :

Sumerian god of wisdom and of subterranean water courses, who was venerated principally at Eridu and Malgium. The Akkadians identified him with Ea.


Enlil :

One of the two principal deities of the Sumerian pantheon. His temple, the Ekur, was at Nippur; see An; Dagan.


Eponym :

The name of a person or place used to denote a distinct period of time. In Assur a series of names of eponymous magistrates denoted a sequence of years. But in Babylon during the reign of Hammurabi every year was given a name commemorating a significant event accomplished in the year that had just passed (see ‘Year name’).


Eridu :

Ancient Sumerian town which gradually became depopulated because of the desertification of the environment. But because it was the cult centre for Enki/ Ea, it always retained its religious importance.


Erra :

Deity of the underworld identified with Nergal with a principal temple at Kutha.


Ešnunna (Tell Asmar) :

Capital of the territory of Warum in the Diyala basin, with Tišpak as its principal deity. It played an especially important political role in the period of Hammurabi, during which time the names of three successive kings are recorded: Daduša, Ibal-pi-El II and Silli-Sin.


Eštar :

Goddess of love and war, to be identified with Sumerian Inanna. She was a principal deity at Uruk together with An, and at Agade and Nineveh. At Zabala she was known as Sugallitum and at Kiš she functioned alongside the warrior god Zababa. At Mari the ritual of Eštar was enacted at the winter festival. It is one of the very few Old Babylonian rituals where the text has been preserved and the festival was an occasion for the king to assemble all his vassals together in his presence.


E’unir :

Sumerian name for the temple of Enki at Eridu.


Gilgameš :

Legendary king of Uruk and a Sumerian hero. A series of legends written in Sumerian narrate his famous exploits. Some of them were assembled together into one legend written in Akkadian in the Old Babylonian period. But the most famous version of the Gilgameš legend was compiled in the second half of the second millennium and is known from a series of first millennium tablets, in particular those compiled and conserved in the library assembled by Assurbanipal in Nineveh.


Girsu :

Sumerian town situated on the lower reaches of the Tigris. Its former importance had greatly declined by the beginning of the second millennium.


Gula :

Principal deity of Isin, also known as Nin-karrak and Nin-Isina. She was particularly associated with health and had the dog as an animal attribute.


Gur :

Measure of capacity, approximately equal to 300 litres.


Guti :

Mountain dwellers in the Zagros. They were resident in the kingdom of Gutium and were regularly used as mercenary troops by the kings of the surrounding areas.


Habiru :

Wandering bands of migrants who were occasionally used as mercenary troops.


Habur :

Tributary on the left bank of the Euphrates. The numerous streams flowing down from the mountain of Tur Abdin and feeding the upper course of the Euphrates produce the Habur triangle, a very fertile area of piedmont.


Halab (Aleppo) :

Capital city of the kingdom of Yamhad. The ancient name is preserved in Arabic for modern Aleppo. Three of the kings of Halab, Sumu-epuh, Yarim-Lim and Hammurabi, were contemporaries of Hammurabi of Babylon.


Hammurabi of Aleppo :

Ascended to the throne in 1765, son of Yarim-Lim.


Hammurabi of Babylon :

King of Babylon (1792–1750), son of Sin-muballit.


Hammurabi of Kurda :

Ascended to the throne in 1769. His relationship with Zimri-Lim of Mari was marred by conflict.


Hanat (‘Ana) :

An island in the Euphrates which formed the capital of the upper region of Suhum.


Harradum (Khirbet ed-Diniye) :

Small town in the region of Suhum which was excavated by a team from France between 1981 and 1988.


Haya-sumu :

King of Ilan-sura in the heart of the Habur triangle. He was one of the principal vassals of Zimri-Lim, who gave him two of his daughters in marriage, and one of the principal channels for authoritatively relaying orders from Zimri-Lim for the region.


Hiritum :

Town between the Tigris (near Upi) and the Euphrates (near Sippar) still yet to be discovered. In 1764 the Elamites failed in their attempt to take it by siege. Hammurabi’s victory at Hiritum marked the beginning of the successful expulsion of the invading Elamites.


Hit :

Town on the Middle Euphrates that has kept its ancient name. Under Zimri-Lim it was attached to the kingdom of Mari and was coveted by Hammurabi for its rich supplies of bitumen. It was to here that those condemned to be subjected to the ‘ordeal by the river’ were taken.


Hurrians :

Mountain dwellers in the north and north-east of Mesopotamia.


Ibal-pi-El :

Influential nomad chief from Mari, with the same name as the king of Ešnunna, his contemporary. He commanded the troops sent to Babylonia to resist the invasion of the Elamites and during this time sent several letters to Zimri-Lim at Mari.


Ibal-pi-El II :

King of Ešnunna (1778–1766), son and successor of Daduša.


Ida-maras :

Ancient name for the western part of the Habur triangle.


Ilan-Sura :

Important capital in the Habur triangle, where Hayasumu was king.


Ilkum :

Babylonian word meaning ‘the service’, usually military service, demanded from an individual by his king in return for which he was given a subsistence field.


Inanna :

Sumerian name for the goddess Eštar.


Ipiq-Eštar :

King of Malgium. In 1764 he made an alliance with Hammurabi and joined him in the capture of Larsa.


Isin (Išan Bahriyat) :

Town in the centre of Sumer, where Gula was the principal deity, and capital of the kingdom of Isin. That kingdom was first annexed by Rim-Sin in 1794 and then in 1763 by Hammurabi, when he conquered the kingdom of Larsa.


Išhi-Addu :

King of Qatna, father-in-law of Yasmah-Addu and an ally of Samsi-Addu.


Išme-Dagan :

Oldest son of Samsi-Addu, who was installed on the throne of Ekallatum by his father. Soon after his father died (1775) he was obliged to leave his capital and take refuge in Babylon. He was able to occupy his throne in Ekallatum again when the Elamites had taken Ešnunna. But he began to have very serious troubles with the Elamites and once again, in 1763, sought refuge in Babylon. Hammurabi was able to take control of the whole region in 1761 and he allowed him to return to his throne.


Jebel Sinjar :

Mountain separating the valley of the Habur from that of the Tigris.


Kahat :

Important town in the south of the Habur triangle, perhaps Tell Barri.


Karana :

Town on the south of the Jebel Sinjar close to Tell Rimah (modern Qattara), perhaps Telafar.


Karkar :

Town situated on the lower reaches of the Tigris, where the principal god was Adad, perhaps Tell Jidr.


kârum :

A word literally meaning ‘quay’, which is used also to denote the commercial district occupied by the merchants of a town and also the scheme of organisation into which they arranged themselves. A team of merchants comprised five men, and a chief merchant controlled the activities of all the teams.


Kazallu :

Town in Central Babylonia which was the base for the tribe of Mutiabal. Control of the town was a matter of dispute between the kingdoms of Larsa and Babylon. When the Elamites invaded the inhabitants sided with them. As a result, the town was captured by Hammurabi in the course of his victory in the war against Elam.


Keš :

Sumerian town close to Nippur, where the principal deity was a mother-goddess who was known by different names, including Mama, Nintu and Ninmah. Its exact location is not known, but it should not be confused with Kiš.


Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia :

Extensive kingdom founded in Northern Mesopotamia by Samsi-Addu, stretching from the banks of the Tigris (Ekallatum, Assur) to the banks of the Euphrates (Mari). It dissolved after the death of Samsi-Addu.


Kispum :

A ritual in which food and drink was offered to the deceased relatives of a family.


Kiš (Tell Uhaimer and Tell Ingharra) :

A town with two focal points situated 25 kilometres to the east of Babylon. The god Zababa was venerated in Tell Uhaimer and the goddess Eštar in Tell Ingharra. It should not be confused with Keš.


Kurda (Beled Sinjar) :

Important town to the south of the Jebel Sinjar. The two kings there, who were contemporary with Hammurabi of Babylon, were Bunu-Eštar and Hammurabi of Kurda.


Kutalla (Tell Sifr) :

Small settlement near to Larsa. A cache of archives from the period of Hammurabi was found there by nineteenthcentury excavators.


Kutha (Tell Ibrahim) :

Town situated to the north-east of Babylon where Erra, god of the underworld, was venerated.


Lagaš (al-Hiba) :

Important Sumerian town on the lower reaches of the Tigris.


Larsa (Tell Senkereh) :

Town in the south of Sumer, where Šamaš was the principal deity, and the capital of the kingdom of Larsa. Rim-Sin, king of Larsa (1822–1763), annexed the kingdoms of Uruk and Isin, but was finally defeated by Hammurabi.


Lipit-Eštar :

King of Isin (1936–1926). The Laws of Lipit-Eštar, written in Sumerian, are attributed to him.


Lu-Ninurta (Awil-Ninurta) :

A high-ranking Babylonian nobleman who was a close companion of Hammurabi. It was he who wrote the large number of letters to Šamaš-hazir.


Malgium :

Town situated on the ancient course of the Tigris above Maškan-šapir. It had often attracted the attention of others but was finally conquered by Hammurabi in 1759. The exact location of the place is not known.


Mankisum (perhaps Tell Kurr) :

Town on the middle reaches of the Tigris. Control of the town was a matter of dispute between the kingdoms of Ekallatum, Ešnunna and Babylon.


Marad (Tell Wanna wa Ûaduum) :

Town to the south of Babylon where the god Lugal-Marad was venerated.


Marduk :

Principal god of Babylon, whose temple was called Esagil, meaning ‘temple of the lofty peak’.


Mari (Tell Hariri) :

Town situated about 15 kilometres on the Syrian side of the present border with Iraq. During early excavations at the palace there led by André Parrot (1933–1939), a large archive of approximately 20,000 tablets was discovered. It is this archive, more than any other, that has provided us with information of detailed historical events in the time of Hammurabi.


Maškan-šapir (Tell Abu Duwari) :

Town situated on the ancient course of the Tigris where Nergal was venerated. Under Rim-Sin it was the principal town in the north of the kingdom of Larsa. It was captured by Hammurabi to open the way for his assault on the capital city, Larsa.


Me-Turan (Tell Haddad and Tell es-Sib) :

Town halfway along the Diyala valley belonging to the kingdom of Ešnunna. The construction of a dam meant that this double tell had to be flooded, and the Department of Antiquities of Iraq made it the subject of a rescue archaeological operation from 1977–84. One house in the town must have belonged to an exorcist, as an exorcist’s library was found there.


Mîšarum :

A decree proclaimed by the king to restore a balance in economic and social affairs. The proclamation of mîšarum would normally be made on the king’s accession and possibly also later in his reign. The most complete text of a proclamation we have is that made by Ammisaduqa, the main point of which is an amnesty for debts, both those owed to the palace and any not yet paid that had been incurred to ensure a person’s livelihood.


Muškênum :

An ordinary subject of the king, of a lower social status than awîlum but higher than wardum.


Mutiabal :

Name of the tribe inhabiting the region of Kazallu.


Mutu-Numaha :

Younger son of Hammurabi. He was sent as a Babylonian prince to spend some time at Mari.


Nadîtum :

A woman who had been consecrated to the principal deity of a town and who was prohibited from having children. We know more about those who were consecrated to Šamaš at Sippar and whom lived in the gagûm, a secluded area usually translated as ‘cloister’.


Nawûm :

The Babylonian term for the land frequented by nomads, as well as for the nomadic groups to be found there, and also for their flocks which they pastured there.


Nabu :

Son of Marduk and the protective deity of scribes, whose principle temple was at Borsippa.


Nahur :

Important town in the Habur triangle which has not yet been located.


Nanna :

Sumerian moon-god who was principally associated with the town of Ur. Akkadians venerated the same moon-god under the name of Sin.


Naram-Sin :

King of Agade (c. 2254–2218), who became the subject of historical legends which began to be put into writing in the Old Babylonian period. He is to be distinguished from a king of Ešnunna in the nineteenth century who had the same name.


Nergal :

God of the underworld who was also known as Erra. His principal temples are at Kutha and Maškanšapir.


Nineveh :

Town situated on the left bank of the Tigris opposite modern Mosul. An important cult of Eštar was based there.

Ninurta :

God associated with warfare. He was the protector of Nippur and his principal temple had been built there.


Nippur (Nuffar) :

Sumerian town where the temple of Enlil had been built.


Old Babylonian :

Four centuries covering the period 2002–1595, from the collapse of the dynasty of Ur to the death of Samsu-ditana, the last king of the First Babylonian Dynasty. Old Babylonian is the name used to refer to the language recorded on documents from this period.


Qabra :

Town situated in the valley of the Little Zab to the east of Assur. Samsi-Addu and Daduša launched a joint campaign and captured it in 1780.


Qarni-Lim :

King of Andarig (c. 1775–1765).


Qatna (Mishrife) :

Town in Central Syria close to Homs, which was the capital of the kingdom of Qatna. The kings there that were contemporary with Hammurabi were Išhi-Addu and Amud-pi-El.


Qattara (Tell al-Rimah) :

Town on the south-east of the Jebel Sinjar excavated by a team from Britain (1964–1971). Several sets of archives were recovered there, including around 200 tablets in the palace from the time of Hammurabi. The mound has also been identified with ancient Karana, but identifying it with Qattara is more plausible.


Rapiqum :

Town on the middle Euphrates between Hit and Sippar. It became involved in several confrontations between Babylon, Ešnunna and the kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia.


Razama :

Town to the north-east of the Jebel Sinjar. In 1765 it was besieged by troops from Elam and Ešnunna led by Atamrum.


Rêdûm :

A Babylonian word literally meaning ‘follower’. The original task of a rêdûm was to act as an escort, somewhat similar to a duty sometimes assigned to today’s policemen. In time he became used more as an infantryman.


Rim-Sin :

King of Larsa (1822–1763), who enjoyed considerable military success in the earlier part of his long reign, annexing the kingdoms of Uruk (1803) and Isin (1794). Less is known about the later period, but it ended when Hammurabi annexed Larsa (1763).


Samsi-Addu :

Founder of the vast kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia, after he had managed to conquer first Ekallatum and then Assur on the Tigris. He almost certainly originally came from the region of Agade. Towards the end of his reign he placed his two sons on two thrones; Išme-Dagan at Ekallatum and Yasmah-Addu at Mari. He died in 1775.


Samsu-iluna :

King of Babylon for 38 years (1749–1712), son and successor to Hammurabi. He was unable to maintain control of all the territory his father had passed on to him and parts of it seceded in phases. In 1738 he lost the south of Sumer (the regions of Ur, Uruk and Larsa), and in 1719 he lost the centre (the regions of Nippur and Isin). To maintain Babylonian control consistently over the area of the Middle Euphrates (from Mari to Tuttul) was also too much for him.


Sargon :

King of Agade (c. 2334–2279). Some of his legendary accomplishments were put into writing in the Old Babylonian period.


Shekel :

A unit of weight approximately equal to 8 grams; 60 shekels (480 grams) equal 1 mina; 60 minas equal 1 talent (just under 30 kilograms).


Sin :

Akkadian name for the Sumerian god Nanna.


Sin-bel-aplim :

Court official of Hammurabi in control of foreign diplomatic relations.


Sin-iddinam :

The secretary of Hammurabi at the time war broke out with Elam. It is possible that he is the same person who was appointed to be governor of the Lower Region of Larsa after that kingdom had been annexed by Hammurabi.


Sin-kašid :

Benjaminite king who founded a dynasty at Uruk around 1865 and built a palace there. After he had concluded an alliance with Sumu-la-El, the king of Babylon gave him one of his daughters in marriage.


Sin-muballit :

King of Babylon (1812–1793), father of Hammurabi.


Sippar-Amanum (Tell ed-Der) :

Town, sometimes known as Greater Sippar, where Annunitum was the chief deity. It was situated on one of the ancient tributaries of the Euphrates, about seven kilometres from Sippar-Yahrurum. Both towns are often called simply Sippar.


Sippar-Yahrurum (Abu Habbah) :

Town situated on one of the ancient tributaries of the Euphrates. It was often simply called Sippar, like Sippar-Amanun, which was only about seven kilometres away. Šamaš was the chief deity of the town.


Suhum :

Area on the middle reaches of the Euphrates downstream from Mari. Hanat was the chief town of the Upper Region, the region higher upstream, and Yabliya the chief town of the Lower Region. It was an area where conflicts frequently erupted with Mari, Babylon and Ešnunna.


Sukkal-mah :

Official Sumerian title for the emperor of Elam at the beginning of the second millennium, which is often abbreviated to sukkal.


Sumer :

The ancient name of the territory of Southern Mesopotamia. When that territory had been united politically with Central Mesopotamia, with Nippur as its centre, the kings were known as kings ‘of Sumer and Akkad’.


Sumerian :

Earliest language attested in cuneiform. The language has an agglutinative structure with a marked tendency towards monosyllabic elements. It is a language which is not with any certainty affiliated to any other. Towards the end of the third millennium it ceased to be used as a spoken language but continued in use for writing scholarly and religious texts as long as there were scribes who maintained the tradition of writing cuneiform.


Sumu-abum :

Traditional founder (1894–1881) of the First Dynasty of Babylon, according to the later lists of kings. In fact he was a powerful Amorite nomad chief who was a contemporary of Sumu-la-El, but he never took up residence in Babylon.


Sumu-ditana :

The eldest son of Hammurabi. As a prince of Babylon he was sent to spend some time in the kingdom of Mari.


Sumu-Epuh :

Founder of the Amorite dynasty at Aleppo in the nineteenth century. He died in 1778.


Sumu-la-El :

King of Babylon (1880–1845) and the actual founder of the First Dynasty of Babylon. It was he who built the palace which came to be occupied by Hammurabi. He eventually annexed the smaller kingdoms surrounding Babylon, such as Sippar, Kiš and Marad.


Susa :

Capital of the region in south-western Iran now known as Khuzistan. The sovereign was generally affiliated to a side-branch of the ruling dynasty at Anšan. In the twelfth century an Elamite sovereign deposited booty there, plundered from Babylonia, which included the stele on which the Code of Hammurabi is inscribed.


Suteans :

Nomads who controlled the routes in the Syrian Desert from west of the Euphrates over the steppe.


Silli-Sin :

King of Ešnunna (1763–1762). He had simply been the head of a section of the army at Ešnunna but, once the Elamites had been repelled, he took the throne. He entered into an alliance with Hammurabi, who gave him one of his daughters to marry. The alliance was shortlived and Silli-Sin was defeated in 1762.


Siwapalarhuhpak :

Emperor (sukkal) of Elam. His name must have sounded particularly complicated to the ears of Semitic-speaking people, for more than one scribe at Mari records it as Šeplarpak.


Šaduppum (Tell Harmal) :

Small town belonging to the kingdom of Ešnunna, situated in the suburbs of modern Baghdad. Excavations by Iraqi archaeologists began there in 1945 and have yielded many documents from the Old Babylonian period, including letters and administrative and school texts. Two copies of the Laws of Ešnunna attributed to Daduša were also found there.


Šamaš :

God of the sun and controller of justice and divination. His two main sanctuaries, each known as Ebabbar, were at Larsa and Sippar.


Šamaš-hazir :

Manager of the administration of the royal domain in the region of Larsa after 1763. The stream of letters he received from Hammurabi and Lu-Ninurta provide important insights into social affairs and economic matters in Larsa after it had been annexed.


Šehna :

An alternative name for Šubat-Enlil.


Šerda :

Goddess, wife of Adad.


Šibtu :

Daughter of Yarim Lim, king of Aleppo. He gave her to Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, as a wife.


Šitullum :

Town on the Tigris, at the southern end of the kingdom of Ekallatum, perhaps near Tikrit.


Šubartum :

Region in northern Iraq which became the focal point for several campaigns by Hammurabi towards the end of his reign.


Šubat-Enlil (Tell Leilan) Town situated in the centre of the Habur triangle. Samsi-Addu used this name for the town of Šehna, when he selected it to be his principal residence at the end of his reign. But it fell victim to the assaults of many attackers, including some from Ešnunna and some from Elam, and in 1728 it was destroyed by Samsu-iluna.


Šukallum :

A palace official who was in very close contact with the king. The term is sometimes translated as ‘vizier’ or ‘first minister’.


Šušarra (Tell Shemshara) :

Town in the upper valley of the Little Zab. In the late 1950s Danish and Iraqi archaeologists worked there, and some 200 tablets were found in the archives dating from the time that Samsi-Addu incorporated it into the kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia. The town was destroyed in 1779.


Tadmor :

Town in the Syrian desert, better known by its Classical name, Palmyra, but which has kept its ancient name in Arabic. It was frequented by Suteans in the Old Babylonian period.


Tamkârum :

The Babylonian word for a merchant. Merchants were grouped into a kind of guild supervised by the head tamkârum, who was a dependant of the king.


Tašmetum :

Goddess, wife of Nabu.


Terhatum :

A payment made by the family of the husband-to-be to the father of his bride-to-be.


Terqa (Tell Ashara) :

Town on the Middle Euphrates about 70 kilometres upstream from Mari. It was a very important provincial centre for the kingdom of Mari and the site of an important temple of Dagan.


Tilmun :

An exotic location referred to in Mesopotamian literature. It is located in the Arab-Persian Gulf and in the Old Babylonian period is to be identified with Bahrain. Maritime trade was being regularly conducted between Tilmun and the merchants of Ur.


Tur Abdin :

A peak in the eastern projection of the Taurus Mountains where the sources of the tributaries of the Habur can be found.


Turukkeans :

A semi-nomadic people coming from the Zagros who used to make terrifying raids against the settled population. Some of them were deported to Babylonia at the end of the Hammurabi’s campaign in 1757.


Tuttul (Tell Bi’a) :

Town situated at the confluence of the Balih with the Euphrates. A German archaeological team excavated the site (1980–1997) and they discovered a palace of Yasmah-Addu, king of Mari, with an archive of 300 tablets.


Tab-eli-matim :

High-ranking official in the court of Hammurabi, probably functioning as the ‘overseer of the barbers’.


Ugarit :

(Ras Shamra) Town on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, just north of the modern port of Lattakia, Syria. It was occupied as long ago as the sixth millennium but the excavations there, which have been being conducted since 1929, have essentially concentrated on material from the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries. In 1765 Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, is said to have stayed there for more than a month.


Upi :

Normally identified with Opis of Classical literature, a riverside town on the Tigris, but still without any certain location. In the time of Apil-Sin it was attached to Babylonia but then became part of Ešnunna. Hammurabi devoted much effort to seeing it reconquered.


Ur (Tell Muqayyar) :

Town in southern Iraq. It had been an important capital until the collapse of the Third Dynasty of Ur, but it was later able to remain significant as a port on the Gulf and as a religious centre. The principal deity venerated there was Nanna (Sin) in the temple Ekišnugal. The Third Dynasty of Ur was founded by Ur-Nammu in 2110 and lasted for just over a century until 2002. The five kings of the dynasty had managed to accumulate a vast territory under their control, even more extensive than that of Sumer, and they established a remarkably impressive system of central planning for maintaining an efficient administration.


Urbilum (Arbele) :

Capital city of a kingdom located in modern Iraqi Kurdistan.


Ur-Nammu :

King of Ur (2110–2093), founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur. A code of laws written in Sumerian is attributed to him.


Uruk (Warka) :

Town in Sumer. In about 1865 Sin-kašid founded an independent dynasty there, which lasted until it was brought to an end by Rim-Sin in 1803.


Wardum :

The Babylonian term for a servant, someone of a lower social class. The word is also used to refer to a servant of the king, who would have been a high official at court.


Yabliya (Tell Jode-fiyeh and Shishin) :

Principal town of Lower Suhum.


Yagid-Lim :

Father of Yahdun-Lim and grandfather of Zimri-Lim, kings of Mari.


Yahdun-Lim :

King of Mari (c. 1810–c. 1794). Although he is recorded as being the father of Zimri-Lim he is more likely to have been his uncle or his grandfather.


Yamhad :

A kingdom with its capital at Aleppo.


Yarim-Addu :

Envoy sent by Zimri-Lim to Hammurabi of Babylon at the time of the war with Elam. He sent numerous reports back to the king of Mari about the situation as it developed.


Yarim-Lim :

King of Aleppo (1778–1765).


Yasmah-Addu :

King of Mari (about 1792–1775), son of Samsi-Addu. It was in his reign that the kingdom of Mari was integrated into the kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia.


Year name :

A significant event that occurred in a year was used as the name for the next year. It was a convenient way of dating documents, where an abbreviated form of the official year name is often found. In the Old Babylonian period these names were generally written in Sumerian, but in Mari they were written in Akkadian.


Zababa :

Warrior god, protector of the town of Kiš.


Zabala (Tell Ibzaykh) :

Town close to Larsa where Inanna was venerated.


Zalmaqum :

Region of the upper valley of the Balih. Harran was the capital of one of the four kingdoms of Zalmaqum.


Zarpanitum :

Goddess, wife of Marduk.


Ziggurat :

The principal religious sanctuary in a Babylonian town, constructed as a stepped tower. The ziggurat at Babylon was known in Sumerian as Etemenanki and was located next to Esagil, the temple of Marduk.


Zimri-Lim :

Last king of Mari (1774–1761). He is presented as the son of Yahdun-Lim and, like him, as belonging to the tribe of Bensim’al. When the kingdom of Mari was annexed by Samsi-Addu he went into exile, but with help from Aleppo he came back to reconquer it in 1775. Because of the importance of the town of Hit, which he very much wanted to keep, there were years of tension between him and Hammurabi about fixing the border between Mari and Babylon. In 1764 he joined forces with Hammurabi to repel the invading Elamites and also sent troops to help him in the battle for Larsa in 1763. His archives recovered from the palace of Mari are one of our richest sources of information for reconstructing the events of the reign of Hammurabi. There is no mention of him after 1761.


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