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Larsa (Sumerian logogram: UD.UNUGKI,[1] read Larsamki[2]) was an important city of ancient Sumer, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlementTell as-Senkereh or Sankarah.


According to the Sumerian king list, "Larag" (Sumerian: LA-RA-AKKI[3]) was one of the five cities to "exercise kingship" in the legendary antediluvian era. The historical "Larsa" was already in existence as early as the reign of Eannatum of Lagash, who annexed it to his empire. The city became a political force during the Isin-Larsa period. After the Third Dynasty of Ur collapsed ca. 1940 BC, Ishbi-Erra, an official of Ibbi-Sin, the last king of the Ur III Dynasty, relocated to Isin and set up a government which purported to be the successor to the Ur III dynasty. From there, Ishbi-Erra recap-tured Ur as well as the cities of Uruk and Lagash, which Larsa was subject to. Subsequent Isin rulers ap-pointed governors to rule over Lagash; one such governor was an Amorite named Gungunum. He eventually broke with Isin and established an independent dynasty in Larsa. To legitimize his rule and deliver a blow to Isin, Gungunum captured the city of Ur. As the region of Larsa was the main center of trade via the Persian Gulf, Isin lost an enormously profitable trade route, as well as a city with much cultic significance. Gungunum's two successors, Abisare (ca. 1841 - 1830 BC) and Sumuel (ca. 1830 - 1801 BC), both took steps to cut Isin completely off from access to canals. After this period, Isin quickly lost political and economical force.

Larsa grew powerful, but it never accumulated a large territory. At its peak under king Rim-Sin I (ca. 1758 - 1699 BC), Larsa controlled only about 10-15 other city-states — nowhere near the territory controlled by other dynasties in Mesopotamian history. Nevertheless, huge building projects and agricultural undertakings can be detected archaeologically. After the defeat of Rim-Sin I by Hamurabi of Babylon, Larsa became a minor site, though it has been suggested that it was the home of the 1st Sealand Dynasty of Babylon.

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