Sargon of Akkad
In the 23rd century B.C., Sargon became the first great empire
builder. Sargon the Great founded the city of Akkad and ruled
from 2334 to 2279 B.C. He conquered what he called "the four
corners of the universe" and maintained order in his empire
through repeated military campaigns. He decreed a set of laws
to every city-state in order to better govern his burgeoning
empire. The 282 laws are one of the earliest and more complete
written legal codes from ancient times. The codes have served
as a model for establishing justice in other cultures. It is not a
complete set of laws, but more a series of enactments addressing
The stability provided by this empire gave rise to the construction
of roads, improved irrigation, a wider sphere of influence in trade,
as well as developments in arts and sciences. The Akkadian
Empire created the first postal system where clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform Akkadian script were wrapped in outer clay envelopes marked with the name and address of the recipient and the seal of the sender. These letters could not be opened except by the person they were intended for because there was no way to open the clay envelope save by breaking it.
In order to maintain his presence throughout his empire, Sargon strategically placed his best and most trusted men in positions of power in the various cities. The "Citizens of Akkad," as a later Babylonian text calls them, were the governors and administrators in over 65 different cities.