King of Isin (c.2170 B.C.)

Throughout the late 23rd century and early 22nd century B.C., Mesopotamia was dominated by a dynasty of kings in Ur. However, by the time Ibbi-Sin, the last of that line, ascended the throne, Ur's hegemony was being threatened by the Elamites, who were making steady inroads into Shinar. Within four years, Ur's subject states began falling away.

Taking advantage of Ur's weakness, Ishbi-Irra claimed the throne of Isin. This began a short period of time in which Isin ruled supreme throughout the southern Tigris River valley. To maintain control of neighboring states, Ishbi-Irra installed provincial governors in various cities. One of these, an Amorite sheikh named Naplanum, wrested power over Larsa from Ur and became Ishbi-Irra's vassal. However, Larsa's power quickly grew to rival that of Isin. These two city-states came to dominate what is known as the Isin-Larsa period. They seem to have existed in a state of armed neutrality for more than a century, in which each consolidated its power. This power was eventually shattered by the rise of a new force in Mesopotamia, Hammurabi of Babylon.

There has been much debate over the years as to the exact dates of Ishbi-Irra's rise to power in Isin. It is generally considered that Ibbi-Sin's 24th (and final) year of rule corresponds to Ishbi-Irra's 14th. However, this issue continues to be debated in many journals on Near Eastern studies. Vital facts are missing from the first years of Ishbi-Irra's reign, and even with the information known about Dynasty IV of Kish, the issue is still unresolved.

{Kings of Sumeria}

    Further Reading:
  • "Journal of Cuneiform Studies," VIII, 4.
  • "New Lists of the Kings of Ur and Isin"