Naram Sin: Victory Stele & Concept

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we explore the Akkadian king Naram-Sin, and the victory stele erected in honor of one of his military victories. The stele provides insight into ancient Akkadian views of royalty.

Ancient Status Updates

When was the last time you or someone you loved did something you were really proud of? Perhaps you just graduated high school, or your son or daughter just scored a goal at a weekend soccer match. You probably wanted to share the achievement with others you cared about, whether over email, social media, or - gasp! - actually calling them. Well, over four millennia ago, kings and nobles who wanted to let visitors know about their great accomplishments could not brag over various Internet platforms. Instead, they often commissioned carvings or monuments to display their greatest achievements. Naram-Sin, a third-century B.C. king of the Akkadian Empire, erected just such a monument.

Who Was Naram-Sin?

Naram-Sin ruled the empire from the capital, Akkad, from 2254-2218 B.C. The fourth ruler of the Semite dynasty, Naram-Sin reigned when the Akkadian Empire was its most powerful, stretching from modern-day Turkey to Iran, and south into the Arabian Peninsula. He had an active role in this expansion, fighting battles in western Iran and modern-day Syria. Naram-Sin was unique in that, while his father was considered simply a king, Naram-Sin took on the title King of the Four Corners (referring to the entire world/universe) and was considered to be a living god by the Akkadian people.

Akkadian Empire at its height
Akkadian Empire at its height

Naram-Sin's Victory Stele


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