King Sargon, to whom we attach our earliest definite date verified by later Babylonian annals, was the ruler of the whole Euphrates valley in the year 3800 B.C. In his day the mighty Babylon of the future was itself but a minor city of the northern Semites. Having established his authority over both Sumer and Akkad, Sargon set forth, as Lugal-zag-gisi had, upon a series of journeys in search of further victories. He reduced to subjection those ever-troublesome highlanders of Elam, and burned Susa, their capital. He fought the wild tribes of the mountains around the sources of the Euphrates; and if he could scarcely be said to conquer them, he at least put them to flight.

Babylon was probably the most famous City of Ancient Mesopotamia. Until today the city is a symbol for wealth, power, and sin largely due to its treatment in the Bible. The earliest mention of Babylon is in a dated tablet of the reign of Sargon of Akkad, who is stated to have built sanctuaries there. Polygamy was rare, and the husband had to pay the first wife compensation unless she was childless. Women could engage in contracts and own property, though they were rarely witnesses to contracts. Seals or thumbnail impressions were used as signatures.

Irrigation and dikes controlled the waters of the Euphrates River, providing bountiful harvests of grain, vegetables, and fruit in normal years. These foods were supplemented by herds of sheep and some cattle. The Babylonians traded food surpluses for raw materials like copper, gold, and wood, which they used to manufacture weapons, household objects, jewelry, and other items that could be traded.

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