Mari – The Ancient City State

Related Articles

Related Articles

Mari is an archaeological site, located near Abu Kamal on the western bank of the Euphrates in Syria.

Unlike many cities that grew from an earlier settlement or nucleus of settlements, Mari was purpose-built as a city during the Mesopotamian Early Dynastic period I around 2900 BC by either the Sumerians, the Kish civilisation or the East Semitic speaking people from Terqa in the north.

The city was founded to control the trade routes and waterways that connected the Levant with the Sumerian and Eblaite Kingdoms, reaching a population of 40,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Image Credit : Gianfranco Gazzetti

The first phase of the city comprised of a circular embankment with an internal rampart that contained gardens and industrial works. At the centre of the city was a central mound with an administrative or civic building, encircled by a residential district but was abandoned during the Early Dynastic Period II around 2550 BC.

Mari was reoccupied during the Early Dynastic Period III and refortified with a two-metre wall around the outer circular embankment. At the centre, a royal ceremonial palace was constructed with several temples and a series of sophisticated urban planning with streets that descended from the centre to ensure proper drainage.

Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

Image Credit : Gianfranco Gazzetti

Around 2300 BC, Mari was destroyed by Sargon of Akkad, the ruler of the Akkadian Empire and was placed under the control of an Akkadian governor establishing the Shakkanakku dynasty. With the fall of Akkad, Mari gained its independence but was absorbed into the expanding Amorite territories becoming a seat of the Amorite Lim dynasty.

Mari was destroyed in a conflict with Babylon around 1759 BC, shrinking in size to a small village under Babylonian administration but would change hands in ongoing wars between Babylon and Assyria.

Image Credit : Gianfranco Gazzetti

In the middle of the eleventh century BC, Mari became part of Hana whose king Tukulti-Mer took the title – King of Mari and rebelled against Assyria, causing the Assyrian King Ashur-bel-kala to attack the city. The city continued as a small settlement until the Hellenistic period before disappearing from historical records.

Mari was rediscovered in 1933 by Bedouin tribes who were digging at Tell Hariri when they discovered a headless statue. A research team from the French authorities controlling Syria at the time was despatched who started excavations later that year.

Since 1933, over 25,000 clay tablets in Akkadian, written in cuneiform have been discovered revealing a detailed account of the Mari city-state, the administration, economic and judicial activities and the names of various officials and the city’s historical chronology.

Header Image Credit : Gianfranco Gazzetti

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


Takht-e Soleymān – The Throne of Solomon

Takht-e Soleymān is an archaeological site located near the modern-day town of Takab in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran.

New UD study shows that tropical forest loss is increased by large-scale land acquisitions

In recent years, there has been a rise in foreign and domestic large-scale land acquisitions--defined as being at least roughly one square mile--in Latin America, Asia, and Africa where investing countries and multinational investors take out long-term contracts to use the land for various enterprises.

New research reveals how water in the deep Earth triggers earthquakes and tsunamis

In a new study, published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists provide the first conclusive evidence directly linking deep Earth’s water cycle and its expressions with magmatic productivity and earthquake activity.

Discovering an exoplanet the size of Neptune

An exoplanet the size of Neptune has been discovered around the young star AU Microscopii, thanks in part to the work of Jonathan Gagné, a former iREx Banting postdoctoral researcher who is now a scientific advisor at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

A Blue Spark to Shine on the Origin of the Universe

Why is our Universe made of matter? Why does everything exist as we know it? These questions are linked to one of the most important unsolved problems in particle physics.

Trimontium (Newstead) – The Roman Fort

Trimontium is Roman fort complex located in Newstead on the Scottish Borders.

Volcanic Eruption Caused Social and Political Unrest Leading to Rise of Roman Empire

The assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 BC triggered a 17-year power struggle that ultimately ended the Roman Republic leading to the rise of the Roman Empire.

Diets of Bronze-Age People in Southern Poland was Largely Vegetable Based

New study suggests that ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age people living in the southern parts of modern-day Poland survived mainly on a vegetable-based diet.

New Interactive Map Reveals the Lost Continent of Zealandia

A new mapping interface by the GNS Science’s Te Riu-a-Māui / Zealandia research programme (TRAMZ) reveals the geology of Aotearoa New Zealand and the lost continent of Zealandia.

Werwolf – The Classified Wehrmacht Bunker

Führerhauptquartier Werwolf was the codename for a bunker complex built during WW2 as a military headquarters for Adolf Hitler and his generals to monitor the eastern front.

Popular stories