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Sargon had neither rival nor equal. His splendor, over the lands it diffused. He crossed the sea in the east. In the eleventh year he conquered the western land to its farthest point.
— Chronicle of Early Kings

Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great and "the Great King", was a Semitic Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, Sargon reigned during the last quarter of the third millennium BC. Cuneiform sources agree that he was cup-bearer (official in charge of wine) of king Ur-Zababa of Kish, and some later historians have speculated that he killed the king and usurped his throne before embarking on the quest to conquer Mesopotamia. He was originally referred to as Sargon I until records concerning an Assyrian king also named Sargon (now usually referred to as Sargon I) were unearthed.

Sargon's vast empire is thought to have included large parts of Mesopotamia, and included parts of modern-day Iran, Asia Minor and Syria. He ruled from a new, but as yet archaeologically unidentified capital, Akkad, which the Sumerian king list claims he built (or possibly renovated). He is sometimes regarded as the first person in recorded history to create a multiethnic, centrally ruled empire, although the Sumerians Lugal-anne-mundu and Lugal-zage-si also have a claim. His dynasty controlled Mesopotamia for around a century and a half.

Battle vs. Ashurbanipal (by El Alamein)[]

Sargon of Akkad: RedRedRedRed

Ashurbanipal: BlueBlueBlueBlue

The glint of the early morning sun shines down on the back of Ashurbanipal, the king of Assyria, as he stands straight and proud in his chariot, spear held outward menacingly. He is out for his daily hunt, with another chariot accompanying him - the game will be large today. Off in the distance, a lion bends down to lap up water from a pool in the king's gardens. These animals are imported from exotic Egypt and other lands for Ashurbanipal's entertainment. Lowering his spear, Ashurbanipal raises his composite bow and notches an arrow, taking careful aim at the unsuspecting beast. The arrow flies through the air, quivering as it finds its mark. Just as Ashurbanipal steps down from the chariot, a smaller arrow snaps past his head. Turning, Ashurbanipal finds Sargon holding up his short bow, Sumerian soldiers standing at the ready behind him. Lowering his gaze, Sargon unsheaths his sword and points it at the Assyrians. His troops advance steadily, crouched behind their shields, spears extended. 

Ashurbanipal coolly orders his chariot driver to drive in a wide arc around the Sumerians, while his Assyrian troops charge directly at the advancing enemies. Nocking an arrow to his composite bow, Ashurbanipal holds the projectile against his bow until the chariot comes close to the confused Sumerians. Letting loose the string, Ashurbanipal watches as the arrow flies straight to its mark, killing one of Sargon's men. Red Sargon responds with his bow and arrow, firing at Ashurbanipal's chariot as it breaks away, driving out of range. Meanwhile, the Assyrian and Sumerian ground troops clash, the longer spears of the Assyrians holding Sargon's men at bay. One especially powerful downward thrust from an Assyrian spear punches through the chestplate of a Sumerian soldier, throwing him to the ground, bleeding out. Red The Assyrian responsible pulls the weapon out of his fallen foe, only to be met with a dagger right to his neck. Blue Sargon releases his slain foe and looks up, only to receive a spear to the stomach. Red The Sumerian king doubles over in pain and shock, right as Ashurbanipal rides up with his chariot, sword unsheathed. With one lazy flick of his wrist, Ashurbanipal decapitates his defeated enemy. The head rolls off into the dust.

Looking off into the distance, Ashurbanipal notices Sargon's last surviving soldier running, full speed, in the opposite direction. He has dropped his weapons and shield as he runs for his life. Ashurbanipal merely nods at his soldiers and rides off, not even glancing backwards as one of his men loads a stone into a sling. With three twirls to gain momentum and a quick downward snap of the arm, the Assyrian sends the projectile flying all of 300 meters to strike the fleeing Sumerian in the back of the head. Red The man tumbles facefirst into the dust and lies still.

"The king has ordered us to retrieve all of their heads," the Assyrian captain orders his men. "You know what to do." With a grim efficiency, the Assyrian soldiers unsheath their short swords and head over to the dead Sumerian troops.

Expert's Opinon[]

Sargon may have been a better leader, but Ashurbanipal's technological advantages coupled with his superior military organization, led him to an easy triumph over his predecessor.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.