Naram-Sin of Akkad

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Naram-Sin, stele
Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, c. 2230 BC. It shows him defeating the Lullibi, a tribe in the Zagros Mountains, trampling them and spearing them. He is also twice the size of his soldiers. In the 12th century BC it was taken to Susa, where it was found in 1898.
Born Naram-Sin
Other names Naram-Suen
Predecessor Manishtushu
Successor Shar-Kali-Sharri
Children Shar-Kali-Sharri
Parent(s) Manishtushu (father)
unknown mother
Relatives Sargon of Akkad (grandfather)
Tashlultum (grandmother)
Rimush (uncle)
En-hedu-ana (aunt)

Naram-Sin (also transcribed Narām-Sîn, Naram-Suen, Sin or Suen being the Akkadians' moon god equivalent to the Sumerian Nanna), reigned ca. 2254–2218 BCE, middle chronology, was the third successor and grandson of King Sargon of Akkad. Under Naram-Sin the Akkadian Empire reached its zenith. He was the first Mesopotamian king known to have claimed divinity for himself, and one of the first (following the earlier Lugal-Anne-Mundu) to be called "King of the Four Quarters".


Naram-Sin was born as a son of Manishtushu. He was thus a nephew of King Rimush and grandson of Sargon and Tashlultum. Naram-Sin's aunt was the High Priestess En-hedu-ana.


Naram-Sin traded with Meluhha (almost certainly corresponding to the Indus Valley civilization), and controlled a large portion of land along the Persian Gulf. He expanded his empire by defeating the King of Magan at the southern end of the Persian Gulf, and conquering the hill tribes to the north in the Taurus Mountains. His famous "Victory Stele" depicts his triumph over Satuni, chief of Lullubi in the Zagros Mountains. The king list gives the length of his reign as 56 years, and at least 20 of his year-names are known, referring to military actions against various places such as Uruk and Subartu. One unknown year was recorded as "the Year when Naram-Sin was victorious against Simurrum in Kirasheniwe, and took prisoner Baba the governor of Simurrum, and Dubul the ensi of Arame".[1] Other year names refer to his construction work on temples in Akkad, Nippur, and Zabala. He also built administrative centers at Nagar and Nineveh.

One Mesopotamian myth has it that the goddess Inanna abandoned the former capital of Akkad following Naram-Sin's plunder of the Ekur (temple of the god Enlil) in Nippur. In his anger, Enlil brought the Gutians down from the hills east of the Tigris, to bring plague, famine and death throughout Mesopotamia. To prevent this destruction, eight of the gods decreed that the city of Akkad should be destroyed to spare the remaining cities. While this story may be mythological, it does suggest that Gutian raids were already beginning during this period.[citation needed]

External video
Victory stele of Naram Sin 9068.jpg
Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, Smarthistory

Soon after the death of Naram-Sin, the Akkadian Empire came under increasing pressure from Gutian incursions. By around 2124 BC, all Akkad was in the hands of the Gutians. The Gutians remained there for 125 years before being replaced by the Ur III state as the dominant political power.[2][3]

Victory stele

Smaller fragment of Victory Stele of Naram-Sin

Naram-Sin's famous Victory Stele depicts him as a god-king (symbolized by his horned helmet) climbing a mountain above his soldiers, and his enemies, the defeated Lullubi. Although the stele was broken off at the top when it was stolen and carried off by the Elamite forces of Shutruk-Nakhunte, it still strikingly reveals the pride, glory, and divinity of Naram-Sin. The stele seems to break from tradition by using successive diagonal tiers to communicate the story to viewers, however the more traditional horizontal frames are visible on smaller broken pieces. It is six feet and seven inches tall, and made from pink limestone.[4] The stele was found at Susa, and is now in the Louvre Museum.[5] A similar bas-relief depicting Naram-Sin was found a few miles north-east of Diarbekr, at Pir Hüseyin.


The only known son of Naram-Sin was his successor Shar-Kali-Sharri. Excavations at Tell Mozan (ancient Urkesh) brought to light a sealing of Tar'am-Agade, a previously unknown daughter of Naram-Sin, who was possibly married to an unidentified endan (ruler) of Urkesh.[6]

See also


  1. Year-Names of Naram-Sin of Agade
  2. Babylonian Life and History, by E. A. Wallis Budge
  3. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  4. Kleiner, Fred (2005). Gardner's Art Through The Ages. Thomson-Wadsworth. p. 41. ISBN 0-534-64095-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Louvre ( Arts and Architecture). Köln: Könemann. ISBN 3-8331-1943-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Buccellati, Giorgio; Kelly-Buccellati, Marilyn (2002). "Tar'am-Agade, Daughter of Naram-Sin, at Urkesh" (PDF). In Al-Gailani Werr, Lamia. Of Pots and Plans. Papers on the Archaeology and History of Mesopotamia and Syria presented to David Oates in Honour of his 75th Birthday. London: Nabu. pp. 11–31. ISBN 1897750625. Retrieved 18 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • H.W.F. Saggs, The Babylonians, Fourth Printing, 1988, Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
  • J. P. Naab, E. Unger, Die Entdeckung der Stele des Naram-Sin in Pir Hüseyin, Istanbul Asariatika Nesriyati XII (1934)[1].

External links