History of Iraq 2 – the Kassites

History of Iraq 2 – the Kassites

Practically nothing is known about the origins or the language of this high-land people before they arrived in Iraq. Several of their scientific terms, however, recorded by the Babylonians, are thought to be of Indo-European roots. They came down from the mountains of Loristan in the north-east, captured Babylon from which the Hassites had withdrawn, and founded the Kassite dynasty as successors to the Babylonian empire. They gave themselves the title of ‘kings of Babel and Akkad’.

Their most famous king was Kurigalzu (1483-1412 B.C.) a contemporary of the Pharaoh Amnu-Kis II of Egypt. He built a new capital, called Dur-Kurigalzu, the ruins of which are to be found 25 miles north-west of Baghdad at Agarguf. The huge ‘ziggurat’ is in good condition and has withstood the ravages of time for more than two thousand years. It was consecrated to the most important Kassite god, An-Lil.

According to the records found at Tel-al-Amarna (the country of Amurru) in Egypt, the Kassites had far-ranging contacts with the East, during the time of Akhenaton. They added practically nothing, however, to the culture inherited from their predecessors, or to the history of Mesopotamia.
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