7. History. Babylonian history, so far as we can go back, begins about 3Soo B.C. with Sargon I, king of Agade.
(1) Sargon. This date is fixed by their own inscriptions, and since they were a nation of astronomers and observers of eclipses, sun-spots, and the phases of the moon, we can rely quite accurately on their dates. Nabonidus, who was king of Babylon about 554 B. C., was an archxol °gist and enthusiastic student of antiquity. He sought and found the foundation stone of the tem ple of the Sun-god. The literal translation of the inscription containing the announcement of his dis covery is as follows: "That temple I excavated, its ancient foundation stone I sought, fifteen square cubits. I dug down (for) the foundation stone of Naram-Sim, the son of Sargon, which for three thousand two hundred years no king, my predeces sor, had found." This date added to 554 B. C., the date of King Nabonidas, takes us back to about 3Soo B.C. The inscription of this very King Sar gon was found at Sepharvaim by Hormuzd Rassam. The writing was on a small perforated hard stone of a mottled, pinkish-gray color and in the form of the very earliest known, and reads: "1, Sargon, the king, king of Agade, to the Sun god (Samas) in Sippara have dedicated." There must of course have been kings before Naram-Sim and his father Sargon, and centuries which cannot be computed must have passed 'before the Babylonians had reached the high state of culture and civilization 'necessary to enable them to pro duce such an object as that described above; for the stone is most beautifully drilled and polished and the characters are carefully and remarkably well executed' (E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A., Baby lonian Life and History, fi. ,to, London, 1891).
(2) Earlier Date. But, while the general con sensus of opinion among Assyriologists has been that accurate Babylonian chronology fairly begins with Sargon I, king of Agade, 3Soo B.C., the dis coveries of the American expedition at Nippur or Niffer (see CALNEII) give us a much earlier date. Prof. H. V. Hilprecht found the fragments of pre Sargonic times in which are narrated the achieve ments of En-shag-shur-ana in defending Kengi, the ancient name for Babylonia, from the enmity of the city of Kish. The capital of this early
kingdom was probably the city of Erech (Gen. x:lo). (See ERECH). The period of his reign was probably 500o B.C. He was followed by other kings, among them Ur-Shulpaddu and Lugalzay gisi, the latter being the Alexander of his time (B.C. about 4500). (See Hilprecht, The Babylo nian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania. Part II.) (3) Ur-Bagas. Of Nimrod, the grandson of Ham and the great-grandson of Noah (Gen. x:6, to), in whose time, according to Scripture, the kingdom was established, no trace has been found in the Babylonian records. The most important kings after Naram-Sim were Ur-Bagas, who built many temples, and Dungi. The next line of kings came from Karrak, and they were followed by sev eral viceroys. Later Simti-Silhah, an Elamite from Larsa, was ruler, and was succeeded by his son Kudur-Alabug, and his grandson Rim-Agu.
(4) Hammurabi. These last two were de feated in about zioo B. C. by Hammurabi, who was possibly a Kassite, and he became master of Babylon. Under him the kingdom prospered in all departments. It must have been at this period that Abraham made his departure from Ur of the Chaldees (see ABRAHAM). Hammurabi was fol lowed by a long list of kings who have left no de tails of their reigns. A tablet has been found containing the names of about a hundred kings, but it is difficult to arrange their chronological order. Those ruling after the commonly accepted date of the flood are given, and the names are all Semitic in form.
(5) A Kassite Dynasty. About i7o0 B. C. a Kassite dynasty was established at Babylon. In 145o B. C. a king called Kara-Indas made a treaty with the Assyrian king regarding the boundaries of their empires, as did also the next king, Burna Burgas. This ruler was called king of Gan dunigas, which some have identified with the Gar den of Eden. About 1330 B. C. the Assyrian em pire began to assert itself and a little later con quered Babylon. under Tukulti Ninipi. The next Babylonian king was apparently Bclzakir-iskun, in whose reign the Elamites made several fierce attacks upon Babylonia.