Excerpt ( 4,358 years ago ):
Sargon, the king of Kish, was victorious in thirty four battles and destroyed walls as far as the edges of the sea … 5,400 men daily eat in his presence.
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad was perhaps the first emperor in Human history. The tablet shown below records his deeds.
Sargon, the king of Kish, was victorious in thirty four battles and destroyed walls as far as the edges of the sea. He had ships from Melukkha, Magan, and Dilmun moor at the piers of Akkad. In the city of Tuttul, Sargon, the King of Kish, fell prostrate before the god Dagan and prayed. He gave him the Upper Land, Mari, Yarmuti, and Ebla, as far as the Cedar Forest and the metal mines. Sargon, the king of Kish: Enlil has given him no equal. 5,400 men daily eat in his presence.
Sargon, the mighty king, king of Agade, am I.
My mother was a changeling, my father I knew not.
The brother(s) of my father loved the hills.
My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates.
My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me.
She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed
She cast me into the river which rose not (over) me,
The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the
drawer of water.
Akki, the drawer of water lifted me out as he dipped his
Akki, the drawer of water, [took me] as his son
(and) reared me.
Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener,
While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me (her) love,
And for four and [ ... ] years I exercised kingship,
The black-headed [people] I ruled, I gov[erned];
Mighty [moun]tains with chip-axes of bronze I con-
The upper ranges I scaled,
The lower ranges I [trav]ersed,
The sea [lan]ds three times I circled.
Dilmun my [hand] cap[tured],
[To] the great Der I [went up], I [. . . ],
[ . . . ] I altered and [. . .].
Whatever king may come up after me,
[. . .]
Let him r[ule, let him govern] the black-headed
[Let him conquer] mighty [mountains] with chip-axe[s
[Let] him scale the upper ranges,
[Let him traverse the lower ranges],
Let him circle the sea [lan]ds three times!
[Dilmun let his hand capture],
Let him go up [to] the great Der and [. . . ]!
[. . .] from my city, Aga[de ... ]
[. . . ] . . . [. . .].
*the mythical place called Dilmun, a pure, clean, bright place where sickness, violence, and old age do not exist.
From: George A. Barton, Archaeology and The Bible, 3rd Ed., (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1920), p. 310.
TRANSLATION OF THE ANNALS OF SARGON OF ACCAD AND NARAM-SIN1
- When the moon at its setting with the colour of a dustcloud2 filled the crescent, the moon was favourable for Sargon who at this season
- marched against the country of ELAM and subjugated the men of ELAM.
- Misery (?) he brought upon them; their food he cut off.
- When the moon at its setting filled the crescent with the colour of a dust-cloud, and over the face of the sky the colour extended behind the moon during the day and remained bright,
- the moon was favourable for Sargon who marched against the country of [PHOENICIA], and
- subjugated the country of PHOENICIA. His hand conquered the four quarters (of the world).
- When the moon increased in form on the right hand and on the left, and moreover [during] the day the finger reached over the horns.3
- the moon was favourable for Sargon who at this season produced joy (?) [in] BABYLON, and
- [like] dust the spoil of BAB-DHUNA was carried away and .....
- .... he made ACCAD a city; the city of . . . . he called its name;
- [the men of . . . . in the] midst he caused to dwell.
- [When the moon]. . . . . on the left the colour of fire . . . . . [on] the left of the planet, and
- [the moon was favourable to Sargo]n who at this season against the country of PHOENICIA
- [marched and subjugated it]. The four quarters (of the world) his hand conquered.
- [When the moon] . . . . . . . . behind the moon the four heads were placed,
- [the moon was favourable to Sargon who at this season] marched [against] the country of PHOENICIA and
- [subjugated the country of PHOENICIA.] His [enemies ?] he smote j his heroes
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . in the gate of its4 rising.
- [When the moon was fixed?] and a span . . . . . [the moon was favourable to Sargon] as for whom at this season the goddess [ISTAR]
- [ with favours] filled for him his hand . . . . . . the goddess ISTAR [all countries]
- caused him to conquer; against Tiri (?) . . . .
- [When the moon] appeared [like] a lion, the moon was favourable to Sargon who at this season
- was [very] exalted and a rival (or) equal had not j his own country was at peace. Over
- [the countries] of the sea of the setting sun5 he crossed and for 3 years at the setting sun
- [all countries] his hand conquered. Every place to form but one (empire) he appointed. His images at the setting sun
- he erected. Their spoil he caused to pass over into the countries of the sea.6
- [When the moon on] the right hand was like the colour of gall, and there was no finger;7 the upper part was long and the moon was setting (?),
- [the moon was favourable for] Sargon who enlarged his palace of Delight (?) by 5 mitkhu, and
- established the chiefs [in it] and called it the House of Kiam-izallik.8
- When the moon was like a cloud (?), like the colour of gall, and there was no finger;7 on the right side was the colour of a sword; the circumference of the left side was visible;
- towards its face on the left the colour extended; the moon was favourable for Sargon against whom at this season Kastubila of the country of KAZALLA rebelled and against KAZALLA
- (Sargon) marched and he smote their forces; he accomplished their destruction.
- Their mighty army he annihilated; he reduced KAZALLA to dust and ruins.
- The station of the birds9 he overthrew.
- When the moon was like a cloud (?), like the colour of gall, and there was no finger;10 on the right side was the colour of a sword; the circumference of the left was visible;
- and against its face the Seven11 advanced; the moon was favourable to Sargon, against whom at this season
- the elders of the whole country revolted and besieged him in the city of ACCAD; but
- Sargon issued forth and smote their forces; their destruction he accomplished.
- Their numerous soldiery he massacred; the spoil that was upon them he collected.
- "The booty of Istar !" he shouted.
- When the moon had two fingers, and swords were seen on the right side and the left, [and] might and peace were on the left
- its hand presented a sword; the sword in its left hand was of the colour of 'sukhuruni; the point was held in the left hand and there were two heads;
- [the moon] was favourable for Sargon who at this season
- subjected the men of [the country] of 'SU-EDIN12 in its plenitude to the sword, and
- Sargon caused their seats to be occupied, and
- smote their forces; their destruction he accomplished; their mighty army
- he cut off, and his troops he collected; into the city of ACCAD he brought (them) back.
- [When the moon] had two fingers and on the right side it was of the colour of a sword and on the left it was visible;
- [and against its face] the Seven advanced; (its) appearance was of the colour of gall; the moon was favourable for Naram-Sin
- [who at] this season marched against the city of APIRAK, and
- [utterly] destroyed it: Ris-Rimrnon the king of APIRAK .
- [he overthrew], and the city of APIRAK his hand conquered.
- [When the moon] on the right it was of the colour of a sword, and on the left it was visible;
- [and against its face the Seven advanced ?]; the moon was favourable for Naram-Sin who at this season
- marched [against the country of MA]GANNA13 and seized the country of MAGANNA, and
- . . . . the king of MAGANNA his hand captured.
- [When against the moon] the Seven were banded, [and] behind it . . . . . .
- . . . . . . never may there be a son (?) . . . . .
1W. A. I., iv. 34. The text has been
translated in part by Mr. George Smith. The astrological notices with which
the account of Sargon's campaigns is associated are explained by
the fact that the great Chaldean work on astronomy and astrology was compiled
for his library at Accad, and that one of the objects of this work was
to trace a connection between certain astronomical occurrences and the
events which immediately followed them.
2 Ana pikhirti-su tsirip zakiki.
3 The moon lay on its back, and the distance from the extremity of one horn to that of another was as much as a span.
4 The Sun-god must be referred to.
5 The Mediterranean.
6 We infer from this that Sargon had crossed over into Cyprus, and there erected an image of himself. This might explain why his later name- , sake Sargon sent to the island a monument, which is now in Berlin. General di Cesnola brought back from Cyprus a Babylonian cylinder of heematite bearing the inscription, "Abil-!star, the son of llu-Balidh, the servant of the deified Nararn-Sin." The cylinder was probably executed either during the reign of Naram-Sin, or shortly afterwards, as the cult of the king is not likely to have continued after the fall of his dynasty.
7 It could not be measured.
8 "Thus he has appointed."
9 What this refers to it is impossible to say. The expression can hardly be metaphorical.
10 It could not be measured.
11 The Seven Evil Spirits who were supposed to cause eclipses of the moon.
12 The plain of the "Suti," or nomad tribes on the eastern side of Babylonia.
13 The Sinaitic Peninsula.