Sargon the Great of Akkad

The Ruler of Mesopotamia

A King of Akkad - Bronze Head of an Akkadian King
A King of Akkad - Bronze Head of an Akkadian King. Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Sargon the Great ruled Sumer c. 2334-2279 B.C. (accession dates from 2334-2200, according to Zettler). Legend says he ruled the whole world, but Sargon and sons conquered cities only from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. While the world is a stretch, they can fairly be called rulers of the whole of Mesopotamia.

Establishing Rule

Sargon established his capital at Agade (near Kish) becoming the king of Akkad and the first king of the Agade Dynasty. He conquered the nearby city-states of Ur, Umma, and Lagash, and developed a commercial trade-based empire, with unifying roads and a postal system.

Sargon made his daughter Enheduanna high priestess of Nanna, Ur's moon god. His sons Rimush and then Manishtushu succeeded him.

Origin Story

Like the Bible's Moses, Sargon may have been a Semite rather than a Sumerian. A story about Sargon's youth sounds like the Moses infancy story. The baby Sargon, nestled in a reed basket sealed with bitumen, was placed in the Euphrates River. The basket floated until it was rescued by a gardener or date grower. In this capacity, he worked for the king of Kish, Ur-Zababa until he rose up the ranks to become the king's cupbearer.

Then the ambitious king of the Mesopotamian city-state of Umma (and beyond), Lugulzaggesi, invaded Kish from the south. King Ur-Zababa king fled and Sargon led forces against Lugulzaggesi's Sumerian mini-empire. Lugulzaggesi had to leave Kish to face Sargon, who proved unstoppable. After Lugulzaggesi surrendered, Sargon named himself king of Kish and then marched south to conquer Mesopotamian land to the Persian Gulf.


Michael Roaf's

Susan Wise Bauer's

Richard L. Zettler. "Reconstructing the World of Ancient Mesopotamia: Divided Beginnings and Holistic History" .

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 2003.

Also Known As  Sargon of Agade, Sharrum-kin, King of Agade, King of Kish, King of the Land.