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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

specific cases.  

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.

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