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Ishbi-Erra (Akkadian: Išbi-erra, name was written phonetically in cuneiform: ddiš-bi-èr-ra, in contemporary inscriptions; fl. c. 1953 BCE — c. 1920 BCE by the short chronology of the ancient Near East) was the founder of the dynasty of Isin. Ishbi-Erra was preceded by Ibbi-Sin of the third dynasty of Ur in ancient Lower Mesopotamia, and then succeeded by Šu-ilišu.


Letter from Ishbi-Erra to Ibbi-Suen about the purchase of grain[edit]

Letter from Ishbi-Erra to Ibbi-Suen about the purchase of grain, Correspondence of the Kings of Ur, Old Babylonian period, ca. 1800-1600 BCE, at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature; their original date of composition and their historical accuracy are debated.
  • If you have not got enough grain, I myself shall have grain brought in to you. My lord has become distressed about the battles in Elam. But the Elamites' grain rations have quickly been exhausted, so do not slacken your forces! Do not fall head first into their slavery, nor follow at their heels!
  • That I should guard for you Isin, and Nibru: let it be my responsibility. My lord should know this!
  • My lord, I am without fear!
  • My lord: the loudest roarer.
  • May An, Enlil and Enki, who have loved Ibbi-Suen from the womb, look upon him approvingly.
  • Your heart should not fret over this. [...] Let your heart be glad over.
  • As long as my lord is alive, he will exercise kingship over Urim.

Quotes about Ishbi-Erra[edit]

Correspondence of the Kings of Ur[edit]

Correspondence of the Kings of Ur, Old Babylonian period, ca. 1800-1600 BCE, at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature; their original date of composition and their historical accuracy are debated.
  • Say to Icbi-Erra: this is what your lord, Ibbi-Suen, says: As long as Enlil was my lord, what course were you following? And is this how you alter your word? Today Enlil detests me, he detests his son Suen (the principal deity of Urim), and is handing Urim over to the enemy. Its central part is gone, the enemy has risen up, and all the lands are thrown into disarray. But on the day when Enlil turns again towards his son Suen, you and your word will be marked out!
  • Say to Ibbi-Suen, my lord: this is what Puzur-Culgi, the governor of Kazallu, your servant, says:
    A messenger of Icbi-Erra came to me. He presented himself before me announcing: "Icbi-Erra, my lord, sends you a message: Enlil, my lord, [...] has told me to bring before Ninisina the cities, deities and troops of the region of the Tigris, Euphrates, Ab-gal and Me-Enlila watercourses, from the province of Hamazi to the sea of Magan, so as to make Isin the storehouse of Enlil, to make it famous, and to make those regions its spoils of war and to make Isin's citizens occupy their cities. Why do you oppose me? I swear by the name of my lord Enlil and by Dagan, my personal god, that I will indeed get hold of Kazallu! The cities and the province which Enlil has promised me I want to build up within Isin. [...] I want to perform at their ecec festivals. I want to install my statues, my emblems, my en priests and nindijir priestesses in their jipar shrines. And as for you, I want to remove from within his country the man in whom you placed your trust! I want to rebuild the fortification of Isin and name it Idil-pacunu!"
  • Just as he said he would, he has rebuilt the fortification of Isin and named it Idil-pacunu. He has captured Nibru and installed his garrison there. Also he has captured Nijdugani, the chief administrator of Nibru. He has imprisoned Zinnum, the governor of Subir. He has plundered Hamazi. He has made Nur-ahi, the governor of Ecnunna, Cu-Enlil, the governor of Kec, and Puzur-Tutu, the governor of Bad-ziaba, return to their posts. At his cry of victory [...] Icbi-Erra is constantly at the head of his soldiers! Just as he said he would, he has captured the regions of the Tigris, Euphrates, the Ab-gal and Me-Enlila watercourses. He has made Iddin enter Malgium. Opposing Girbubu, the governor of Jirikal, he cut off his strap and captured him. His cry of victory lies heavily upon us. Now Icbi-Erra is looking in my direction. I have no ally, nobody with whom I can align myself. Since he has not yet been able to get me in his grasp, let me come to you when he falls upon me. My lord should know this!
  • You have made me so happy with the news and everything. Who could give me a house-born slave such as you are? Who has such a capable man, so beneficial to his lord? [...] From today, you are my son who makes me happy. The cities of the province, the land of the Martu, Elam -- all of them I have placed before you: you are just as important as I am. So sit before them on a throne on a golden dais! [...] Let their messengers prostrate themselves in front of you! [...] Remove a governor -- appoint a governor! Appoint a commander! Designate a captain-general! Certainly you should put a man to death, a man who has killed: blind the man who has killed! Build your house of manhood for an attendant who has been favourably looked upon! Make sure your recompense is great! Now, you should not suddenly alter your word about all that I have been sending to you.

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