The Iranian plateau did not experience the rise of urban, literary civilization in the late 4th and early 3rd millennium on the Mesopotamian pattern, but the lowland Khuzestan did. It was the elamite civilization.
Geographically, Elam includes more than Khuzestan; It was a combination of the lowlands and the immediate uplands to the north and east. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold these different areas together under a coordinated government that allowed the maximum exchange of natural resources that are unique to each region. Traditionally, this has been the result of a federated government structure.
Closely related to this form of government was the Elamite system of inheritance and energy distribution. The normal government pattern was that of a sovereign who ruled over vassal princes. In the earliest time, the superintendent lived in Susa, which functioned as a federal capital. With him, his brother was the closest to his age, the Viceroy, who usually had his government in the hometown of the current ruling dynasty. This Viceroy was presumptuous for the Supreme. But a third official, the Regent or Prince of Susa (the district), shared power with the sovereign and the Viceroy.
Elam Empire Map showing the area of the Elamite
Empire in red and the neighboring areas.
The approximate Bronze Age extension of the Persian
Gulf is shown.
He was usually the son of the Supreme, or, if no son was available, his nephew. After the death of the sovereign, the Viceroy became supreme. The prince of Susa remained in office, and the brother of the old Viceroy, who was nearest to him, became the new Viceroy. Only when all the brothers were dead, the prince of Susa was promoted to the Viceroy, and made it possible for the sovereign to call his own son (or nephew) a new prince of Susa. Such a complicated system of governmental control, equilibrium, and powerlessness often broke down despite bilateral descent, and consulted the marriage (the forced marriage of a widow to the brother of her deceased husband). It is remarkable how often the system worked; It was only in the middle and Neoelamite periods that sons of more frequent fathers succeeded to power.
Elamite's history can be divided into three main phases: the old, middle and late or neoelamitic, periods. In all periods Elam was closely connected with Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria, sometimes by peaceful trade, often by war. Similarly, Elam was often a participant in events on the Iranian plateau. Both participations related to the combined necessity of all lowland cultures to control the warlike peoples in the East and to use the economic resources of the plateau.
Old Elamite Period
The earliest kings in the ancient Elamite period may be until about 2700 BC. Already in conflict with Mesopotamia, in this case apparently with the city of Ur, was characteristic of the Elamite history. These early rulers followed the Awan (Shustar) dynasty.
The 11th king of this line entered into the treaty relations with the great Naram-Sin of Akkad (around 2254 - around 2218 BC). Nevertheless, a new mansion soon appeared, the Simasch dynasty (Simash may have been in the mountains of the southern Lurist). The most prominent event of this period was the virtual conquest of Elam by Shulgi of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur (around 2094 - around 2047 BC).
|Elamit Empire Silver cup the sack of
Susa in 647 BC
Finally, the Elamites rose into rebellion and overthrew the 3rd Ur Dynasty, an event long recalled in Mesopotamian suits and Omen texts. Around the middle of the 19th century BC, the power in Elam moved to a new dynasty, by Eparti. The third king of this line, Shirukdukh, was active in various military coalitions against the rising power of Babylon, but Hammurabi (around 1792 - around 1750 BC) was not to be denied, and Elam was defeated in 1764 BC.The ancient Babylonian empire, however, fell into rapid decline after the death of Hammurabi, and it was not long before the Elamites could get revenge. Kutir-Nahhunte I attacked Samsuiluna (about 1749 - around 1712 BC), Hammurabi's son, and treated the Babylonians so severely that the event reminded them more than 1000 years later in an inscription of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It can be assumed that Elam has regained independence with this stroke. The end of the Eparti dynasty, which may have come in the late 16th century BC, is buried in silence.
Middle Elamite Period
After two centuries, for which sources reveal nothing, lay the means Elamish time with the rise to the power of the Anzanite dynasty opened, their home probably in the mountains north-east of Khuzestan. Political expansion under Khumbannumena (c 1285 - .. C 1266 BCE), the fourth king of this line, proceeded rapidly, and his successes were thought by his acceptance of the title "Expander of the Empire." He was from his son, Untash-Gal (Untash (d) Gal or Untash-Huban), a contemporary of Shalmaneser I of Assyria (c 1274 - C 1245 BCE) and the founder of the city of Dur Untash (modern Chogha Zanbil) .
In the years immediately following Untash-Gal, Elam increasingly found itself in a real or potential conflict with the rising power of Assyria. Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria (c. 1244 - c. 1208 BC) Fought in the mountains north of Elam. The Elamites under Kidin-Khutran, the second king to Untash-Gal, responded with a successful and devastating attack on Babylonia.
In the end, however, Assyrian power seems to have been too great. Tukulti-Ninurta managed to expand, for a brief time, Assyrian control well to the south in Mesopotamia, Kidin-Khutran faded into obscurity, and the Anzanite dynasty came to an end.
After a short time of dynastic difficulties, the second half of the middle Elamite period opened with the rule of Shutruk-Nahhunte (around 1160 BC). Two equally powerful and two less impressive kings followed this founder of a new dynasty whose home was probably Susa, and at that time Elam became one of the great military powers of the Middle East. Tukulti-Ninurta died about 1208 BC And Assyria fell into a period of inner weakness and dynastic conflicts.
Elam took advantage of this situation by engaging extensively in the area of the Diyala River and the heart of Mesopotamia. Shutruk-Nahhunte conquered Babylon, and after Susa led the Stela on which was recorded the famous law-code of Hammurabi. Shilkhak-In-Shushinak, brother and successor of the oldest son of Shutruk Nahhunks, Kutir-Nahhunte, who was still struggling to exploit the Assyrian weakness, fought far north as the territory of the modern Kirkuk.In Babylonia, however, the second dynasty of Isin led a native revolt against such a control as the Elamites could exert there, and the elamite power in central Mesopotamia was eventually broken. The elamite military empire began to shrink rapidly. Nebuchadrezzar I of Babylon (c. 1124-c. 1103 BC) attacked Elam and was barely beaten. A second Babylonian attack, however, succeeded, and the whole Elam was apparently overtaken, and ended the middle period of Elamit.
Elamit Empire Relief of a woman being
fanned by an attendant while she holds
what may be a spinning device before atable with a bowl containing a whole fish.
It is remarkable that, during the middle period of the Elamites, the old system of succession and distribution of power seems to have collapsed. Increasingly, the son succeeded in becoming a father, and less is heard of shared authority within a networked system. This probably reflects the efforts to raise the central authority in Susa to carry out effective military campaigns abroad and to hold Elamite foreign conquests.The old system of regionalism, which has balanced itself with federalism, must have suffered, and the fraternal section struggles that weakened Elam during the Neo-Lama period can have their roots in the centrifugal developments of the 13th and 12th centuries.
A long period of darkness separates the Middle and Neoelamitic periods. In 742 BC a certain Huban-Nugash is mentioned as king in Elam. The country seems to have been divided into some principalities, with the central power being rather weak.
The next 100 years testified to the constant attempts of the Elamites to interfere in Mesopotamian affairs, usually in the alliance with Babylon, against the constant pressure of neo-Assyrian expansion. Sometimes, with this policy, they were militarily and diplomatically successful, but by and large forced to make way for the increasing Assyrian power. Local elamite dynastic difficulties were fortified from time to time by Assyrian and Babylonian interference. Meanwhile the Assyrian army lost power and influence in Luristan.This internal and external pressure led to an almost complete collapse of every important central authority in Elam. In a series of campaigns between 692 and 639 BC, the armies of Ashurbanipal Susa destroyed a political and diplomatic mess that had become a chronic headache for the Assyrians. They smashed the buildings, plundered and sowed the land Elam With salt.