The first major king of Assyria during its initial phase of expansion in the early second millennium b. c. An Amorite, Shamshi-Adad seized the throne of Ashur and rapidly carved out an empire that stretched from the Zagros foothills in the east to the central valleys of Syria in the west and encompassed large swaths of northern Babylonia. He placed one of his sons, Ishme-Dagan (reigned ca. 1780-1741 B. C.), on the throne of Ekallatum and his other son, Iasmah-Adad, on the throne of Mari. It appears that the father and sons waged almost constant small-scale wars with their neighbors, in the process gaining Assyria many new territories. Most of the evidence for Shamshi-Adad consists of surviving letters found in the royal archive of Mari. These writings reveal him to be a forceful, often impatient man who demanded much from his sons. The following excerpts concern troops movements and show how directly concerned these early Assyrian monarchs were with military details:
Say to lasmah-Adad: thus says Shamshi-Adad, your father. I have already written to you about the force of 500 men (from the troops) along the Euphrates, which it was suggested should be sent to Qatanum under the command of Zimri-ilu. Whether you have dispatched them, or whether you have not dispatched them, [I do not know], but as soon as you hear this my letter, you shall send off this force. Meanwhile I have also written to you about the force of 400 men (from the troops) along the Euphrates, which it is suggested should be sent to Qa-tanum together with the troops from the land of Dumatum and together with Sin-tiriís troops. These 400 men . . . will come to you. Do not send these 400 men away before the troops from the land of Dumatum and the troops under [the command of] Sin-dri have arrived. . . . Let them join these 400 men and send them to Qatanum.
See Also: Iasmah-Adad; Ishme-Dagan; letters; Mari