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Sumer and Akkad

Historical Overview Section

The term "Sumerian" is the common name given to the ancient inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia by their successors, the Semitic Akkadians. The successor Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Ancient Iraq (Mesopotamia). It reached the height of its power between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests of king Sargon of Akkad.

On assuming the crown Sargon entered upon a career of foreign conquest, four times invading the Syro-Canaanite? and three years thoroughly subduing the countries of "the west" to unite them with Mesopotamia "into a single empire" to create an empire that reached as far as the Mediterranean Sea and Anatolia, and extending his rule to Elam, and as far south as Magan (Oman), an area over which he reigned for 56 years. This consolidation of the city-states of Sumer and Akkad reflected the growing economic and political power of Mesopotamia. Troubles multiplied toward the end of his reign. A later Babylonian text states "In his old age, all the lands revolted against him, and they besieged him in Akkad (the city)"…but "he went forth to battle and defeated them, he knocked them over and destroyed their vast army". Also shortly after, "the Subartu (mountainous tribes of) the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously".

These difficulties broke out again in the reign of his sons. Revolts broke out during the 9-year reign of his son, Rimush, who fought hard to retain the empire and in the fifteen year reign of Rimush's elder brother, Manishtushu. Both appear to have been assassinated. Within 100 years the Empire of Akkad collapsed, almost as fast as it had developed, ushering in a short Dark Age. Later, the 3rd dynasty of Ur was the last great "Sumerian renaissance", but already the region was becoming more Semitic than Sumerian, with the influx of waves of Martu (Amorites) who were later to found the Neo-Babylonian? Empire.

The Military
The almost constant wars among the Sumerian city-states for 2000 years helped to develop the military technology and techniques of Sumer to a high level. The first war recorded was between Lagash and Umma in ca. 2525 BC on a stele called the Stele of Vultures. It shows the king of Lagash leading a Sumerian army consisting mostly of infantry. The infantrymen carried spears, wore copper helmets and carried leather or wicker shields. The spearmen are shown arranged in a coherent formation, which would have required training and discipline; this implies that the Sumerians may have made use of professional soldiers.

The Sumerian military used carts harnessed to onagers. These early chariots functioned less effectively in combat than did later designs, and some have suggested that these chariots served primarily as transports, though the crew carried battle-axes and lances. The Sumerian chariot comprised a four or two-wheeled device manned by a crew of two and harnessed to four onagers. The cart was composed of a woven basket and the wheels had a solid three-piece design.
Sumerian cities were surrounded by defensive walls. The Sumerians engaged in siege warfare between their cities, but the mudbrick walls failed to deter some foes.

Using the army in ADLG

  • Your eyes are inexorably drawn to the idea of a Bedouin ally, to bring in the mounted Camel Corps and mess with everyone else's chariotry
  • A strategist is always welcome, but with no impetuous troops and a fairly solid feeling army harder than usual to make a no-brainer case for including one. Even if he is called King Agga.
  • Its hard to see that there is enough shooting in this theme to support adding Pavises to large swathes of your infantry - the Amorite swordsmen are a better bet to take on enemy bowmen, and with 6 LI of your own you can screen pretty well already too.

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