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Sealand Dynasty

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Sealand Dynasty

The Sealand Dynasty, (ŠEŠ-KU) or the 2nd Dynasty of Babylon (although it was independent of Amorite ruled Babylon), very speculatively ca. 1732–1460 BC (short chronology), is an enigmatic series of kings attested to primarily in laconic references in the king lists A and B, and as contemporaries recorded on the Assyrian Synchronistic king list A.117. The dynasty, which had broken free of the short lived, and by this time crumbling Babylonian Empire, was named for the province in the far south of Mesopotamia, a swampy region bereft of large settlements which gradually expanded southwards with the silting up of the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The kings bore fanciful pseudo-Sumerian names and harked back to the glory days of the dynasty of Isin. The third king of the dynasty was even named for the ultimate king of the dynasty of Isin, Damiq-ilišu. Despite these cultural motifs, the population predominantly bore Akkadian names and wrote and spoke in the Akkadian language. There is circumstantial evidence that their rule extended at least briefly to Babylon itself.

The King list tradition

The king list references which bear witness to the sequence of Sealand kings are summarized below:

Position King List A[i 1] King List B[i 2] Purported reign[i 1] Contemporary
1 Ilima[ii] Ilum-ma-ilī 60 years Samsu-iluna and Abi-ešuh (Babylon)[i 3]
2 Ittili Itti-ili-nībī 56 years
3 Damqili Damqi-ilišu II 36 years Adasi (Assyria)[i 4]
4 Iški Iškibal 15 years Belu-bāni (Assyria)[i 4]
5 Šušši, brother Šušši 26 years Lubaia (Assyria)[i 4]
6 Gulki… Gulkišar 55 years Sharma-Adad I (Assyria)[i 4]
6a mDIŠ-U-EN[i 4] ? LIK.KUD-Šamaš (Assyria)[i 4]
7 Peš-gal Pešgaldarameš,[nb 1] his son, same 50 years Bazaia (Assyria)[i 4]
8 A-a-dàra Ayadaragalama,[nb 2] his son, same 28 years Lullaya (Assyria)[i 4]
9 Ekurul Akurduana 26 years Shu-ninua (Assyria)[i 4]
10 Melamma Melamkurkurra 7 years Sharma-Adad II (Assyria)[i 4]
11 Eaga Ea-gam[il] 9 years Erishum III (Assyria)[i 4]

An additional king list[i 5] provides fragmentary readings of the earlier dynastic monarchs.[1] The king list A totals the reigns to give a length of 368 years for this dynasty. The Synchronistic King List A.117 gives the sequence from Damqi-ilišu onward, but includes an additional king between Gulkišar and Pešgaldarameš, mDIŠ-U-EN (reading unknown). This source is considered reliable in this respect because the forms of the names of Pešgaldarameš and Ayadaragalama match those on recently published contemporary economic tablets (see below).[2]

Evidence of individual reigns

The sources for this dynasty are sparse in the extreme, with insufficient evidence to enable their placement in absolute chronology or to support the somewhat dubious length of reigns alleged on the king list A.


Ilum-ma-ilī,[i 6] or Iliman (mili-ma-an),[i 2] the founder of the dynasty, is known from the account of his exploits in the Chronicle of Early Kings[i 3] which describes his conflicts with his Amorite Babylonian contemporaries Samsu-iluna and Abi-ešuḫ. It records that he “attacked and brought about the defeat of (Samsu-iluna’s) army.” He is thought to have conquered Nippur late in Samsu-iluna’s reign [3] as there are legal documents from Nippur dated to his reign.[i 7] Abi-eshuh, the Amorite king of Babylon, and Samsu-iluna’s son and successor, “set out to conquer Ilum-ma-ilī,” by damming the Tigris, to flush him out of his swampy refuge, an endeavor which was apparently confounded by Ilum-ma-ilī’s superior use of the terrain.


The last surviving year-name for Ammi-ditana commemorates the “year in which (he) destroyed the city wall of Der / Udinim built by the army of Damqi-ilišu.[i 8] This is the only current contemporary indication of the spelling of his name, contrasting with that of the earlier king of Isin.[4]


Gulkišar, meaning “raider of the earth,” has left few traces of his apparently lengthy reign. The colophon of a tablet giving a chemical recipe for glaze[i 9] reads “property of a priest of Marduk in Eridu,” thought to be a quarter of Babylon rather than the city of Eridu, is dated Gul-ki-šar lugal-e "year after (the one when) Gul-kisar (became?) king.” A kudurru[i 10] of the period of Babylonian king Enlil-nādin-apli, ca. 1103–1100 BC, records the outcome of an inquiry instigated by the king into the ownership of a plot of land claimed by a temple estate. The governors of Bit-Sin-magir and Sealand, upheld the claim based on the earlier actions of Gulkišar who had “drawn for Nanse, his divine mistress, a land boundary.” It is an early example of a Distanzangaben statement recording that 696 years had elapsed between Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, Enlil-nādin-apli’s father, and Gulkišar.[5]

Pešgaldarameš and Ayadaragalama

Pešgaldarameš, “son of the ibex,” and Ayadaragalama, “son of the clever stag,” were successive kings and descendants (DUMU, "sons" in its broadest meaning) of Gulkišar.

Recently published tablets mainly from the Martin Schøyen collection, the largest privately held collection of manuscripts to be assembled during the 20th century, cover a 15 to 18 year period extending over part of each king’s reign. They seem to originate from a single cache but their provenance was lost after languishing in smaller private collections since their acquisition on the antiquities market a century earlier. The tablets include letters, receipts, ledgers, personnel rosters, etc., and provide year-names and references which hint at events of the period. Messengers from Elam are provisioned,[i 11] Anzak, a god of Dilmun (ancient Bahrain) appears as a theophoric element in names,[i 12] and Nūr-Bau asks whether he should detain the boats of Ešnunna,[i 13] a rare late reference to this once thriving Sumerian conurbation. In addition to normal commercial activity, two omen texts[i 14] from another private collection are dated to the reign of Pešgaldarameš and a kurugu-hymn mentions Ayadaragalama.[i 15] A variant version of the Epic of Gilgameš relocates the hero to Ur and is a piece from this period.[2]

Ayadaragalama’s reign seems to have been eventful, as a year-name records expelling the “massed might of two enemies,” speculated to be Elamites and Kassites, the Kassites having previously deposed the Amorites as rulers in Babylon. Another records the building of a “great ring against the Kalšu (Kassite) enemy” and a third records the “year when his land rebelled.” A year-name gives “year when Ayadaragalama was king – after Enlil established (for him?) the shepherding of the whole earth,” and a list of gods includes Marduk and Șarpanitum, the tutelary deities of The Sealand.[i 16][2]

A neo-Babylonian official took a bronze band dedicatory inscription of A-ia-da-a-ra, MAN ŠÚ “king of the world,” to Tell en-Nasbeh, probably as an antique curio, where it was discarded to be found in the 20th century.


Ea-gâmil, the ultimate king of the dynasty, fled to Elam ahead of an invading horde lead by Kassite chief Ulam-Buriaš, brother of the king of Babylon Kashtiliash, who conquered the Sealand, incorporated it into Babylonia and “made himself master of the land.”


  1. ^ a b Babylonian King List A, BM 33332, i 4 to 14 where the names are abbreviated but give their lengths of reign.
  2. ^ a b Babylonian King List B, BM 38122, reverse 1 to 13.
  3. ^ a b Chronicle of Early Kings, tablets BM 26472 and BM 96152, B rev. (Ilum-ma-ilī) 7-10 (Ea-gâmil) 12–14.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Synchronistic King List A.117, Assur 14616c, i 1 to 10.
  5. ^ Formed from BM 35572 and eleven other fragements.
  6. ^ Tablet Ashm. 1922.353 from Larsa.
  7. ^ Five legal tablets such as CBS 4956, published in Chiera (1914), CBS 11013, published as BE VI 2 text 68, 3N-T 87, UM 55-21-239 catalogued as SAOC 44 text 12, and OIMA 1 45, from Nippur.
  8. ^ Tablets MCS 2 52, YOS 13 359.
  9. ^ Tablet BM 120960 thought to have been recovered from Tall 'Umar (Seleucia) on the Tigris.
  10. ^ Kudurru in the University Museum, Philadelphia, BE I/1 83 15.
  11. ^ MS 2200/40 and MS 2200/455.
  12. ^ MS 2200/394, 444, 321 and so on.
  13. ^ MS 2200/3.
  14. ^ R. Kovacs 5304 and 5309.
  15. ^ R. Kovacs 5306.
  16. ^ MS 2200/81.


  1. ^ Given as PEŠ.GAL-DÀRA.MAŠ.
  2. ^ Given as A-DÀRA-GALAM.MA.


  1. ^ J. A. Brinkman (1999). Dietz Otto Edzard, ed. Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie: Meek – Mythologie 8. Walter De Gruyter. p. 7. 
  2. ^ a b c Stephanie Dalley (2009). Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology. Volume 9 Babylonian Tablets from the First Sealand Dynasty in the Schoyen Collection. CDL Press. pp. 1–16. 
  3. ^ Albert Kirk Grayson (1975). Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles. J. J. Augustin. p. 221. 
  4. ^ William W. Hallo (2009). The world's oldest literature: studies in Sumerian belles-lettres. BRILL. p. 183. 
  5. ^ J. A. Brinkman (1968). A political history of post-Kassite Babylonia, 1158–722 B.C. Analecta Orientalia. p. 118. 
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