Episode 21 – Akkad 5 Surpassing Sargon with Naram-Sin

Who was the greatest king of the Akkadian Empire? Today I make the case for Naram-Sin, who brought the empire to the high water mark and really solidified everything his grandfather had worked to build, as well as creating his own innovations. He isn’t well remembered by history, thanks to his tremendous hubris, but listen to his accomplishments and ask yourself if maybe his hubris was at least a bit justified.

There are some secondary sources that put forward the theory that Naram-Sin doesn’t declare himself a god until much later in his reign. Honestly, they could well be right, but the victory stele of Naram-Sin clearly shows him trimphing over the barbarians of the Lullubi mountains, and the first three year names are all barbarian sounding, and so likely the Lullubi campaign. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions here, it wouldn’t be the first time, and I could be misunderstanding or misordering the year names, but from the sources I have it looks right to me to put his deification pretty early in his life.

Mr. Naram-Sin

The famous Victory Stele. On the left are the good guys, on the right are the bad guys, and the big man is on top, as usual.

Also, where are the Lullubi? Somewhere in the mountains, that is for sure, but accounts differ greatly on where exactly they were located. Some say they were directly north of Akkad, some say they were northeast of Susa. The latter seems to be a slightly more common interpretation, so that is what I am going with.

Also, did he really go straight to Oman after clearing up his rebellion? We don’t have a year name for this campaign but I am pretty confident it actually occured, and so I am locating it in the gap in our year name list. In the list of year names, we have 20 of perhaps 37 years of rule, and a known gap of a few years just after the rebellion, and so I am slotting this campaign in there.

Bonus fun fact, you can still go to a certain rock in Iraq and see a carving of Naram Sin that has sat in the open for 4000 years. Link here with the story.

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