Third Dynasty of Ur (Ur III)

Following the collapse of the Agade empire, the centre of power in southern Mesopotamia shifted to the cities of Uruk and Ur. The governor of Ur, Ur-Nammu, established a dynasty which came to dominate the other cities of the region, and whose territory stretched east into Iran. Under his successor, Shulgi, the empire was consolidated and centralised.

Shulgi was named as a god in many ancient documents. This gave him great power and followed a tradition established by the earlier rulers of Agade. He was succeeded by Amar-Sin and Shu-Sin, under whom many of the communication and supply routes across the empire were disrupted by groups of pastoralists (Amorites). This situation reached crisis point under the next ruler, Ibbi-Sin. With reduced supplies the empire was unable to effectively confront an attack by the Elamites from the east; Ur was destroyed and Ibbi-Sin was taken into exile.

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