The Collapse of the Akkadian Empire : A Review of Historical and Textual Sources

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Title: The Collapse of the Akkadian Empire : A Review of Historical and Textual Sources
Author: Virtanen, Nikolas
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Filosofian, historian, kulttuurin ja taiteiden tutkimuksen laitos 2010-2017
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies 2010-2017
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för filosofi, historia, kultur- och konstforskning 2010-2017
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: yleinen historia
General History
allmän historia
Abstract: The latter stages of the 3rd Millennium BC saw the rise and collapse of the Akkadian Empire. Although their system of political organization was not necessarily invented by the Akkadians, they developed it much further than had been done ever before - with a centralized state power that had hegemony over most of Mesopotamia and kings that developed new ideologies of world dominion to legitimize their rule. Yet, as spectacular as the Empire might have been, so too was its sudden collapse. Due to the scarcity of our sources, the causes and events that eventually led to the collapse are enigmatic to us. Several theories have been presented, and especially the rise of palaeoclimatology and its methods have produced new theories as to why the Akkadian Empire collapsed. This thesis is an in-depth review and examination of the historical and textual sources that concern themselves with the Akkadian collapse, with the purpose of assessing their reliability and to compare and reflect them against the prevailing theories. These sources include royal inscriptions, letters, chronicles, king lists and literary compositions. All sources are examined through translations to modern languages. The results show how most of the theories have contradictions and issues relating to the textual sources. The fact of the matter is that with present sources no assured conclusions can be drawn, and it will take a breakthrough in discoveries – notably of the Akkadian capital – before any more light can be shed on the matter.
Subject: Akkad
Societal Collapse

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