Akkadian Empire | Definition, Meaning, Culture, History & Facts

The Akkadian Empire was the first to control all of Mesopotamia. Between 2300 BC and 2100 BC, it lasted for about 200 years.

How it Started

While the Sumerians dwelt in the south of Mesopotamia, the Akkadians lived in the north. They spoke a separate language but shared the same government and culture as the Sumerians. Individual city-states made up the composition of the government. At this time, the monarch of each city oversaw both the city and its surroundings. These city-states were initially divided and frequently engaged in conflict.

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The Akkadian kings eventually realized the benefits of unifying many of their cities into a single state. They started cooperating and forming alliances.

Sargon the Great

Sargon the Great ascended to power around 2300 BC. He founded Akkad as his own city. He fought back and eventually defeated Uruk when it attacked his city, the strong Sumerian metropolis of Uruk. Then he went on to subjugate all the city-states of Sumer and unite the northern and southern parts of Mesopotamia under one king.

The Empire grows.

The Akkadian Empire grew during the following two hundred years. The Elamites to the east were attacked and subjugated by them. To Oman in the south they went. They even traveled as far west as Syria and the Mediterranean Sea.


Naram-Sin was one of Akkad’s most notable kings. He was Sargon the Great’s grandson. For more than 50 years, Naram-Sin ruled. He strengthened the empire and put down uprisings. The Akkadian Empire is thought to have peaked during his rule.

Fall of the Empire

The Sumerian city of Ur returned to prominence in 2100 BC and overthrew the city of Akkad. The Empire was still united even though a Sumerian ruler now oversaw it. But as the empire weakened, it was ultimately overthrown by the Amorites in about 2000 BC.

Interesting Akkadian Historical Facts

Akkadian and Sumerian were two languages that were widely spoken at the period in Mesopotamia.

Between the major cities, numerous nice highways were constructed. Even a formal postal service was created.

When Naram-Sin seized control of the city of Nippur and demolished the temple, the Sumerians thought that a curse had been laid on them, causing the Akkadian Empire to fall.

The rulers kept control of the principal cities by appointing their sons as governors. They also appointed their daughters as high priestesses to the principal deities.

The first dynasty was established by Sargon. He proposed that a man’s dominion should pass to his sons.