ISIN
(modern ISHAN-AL-BAHRIYAT)
   City in southern Babylonia, 20 kilometers south of Nippur. It was excavated first in 1924 by A. T. Clay and Stephen Langdon, and then by Bartel Hrouda from 1973 to 1989. Archaeological excavations show that the site was already occupied in the Ubaid periodin the fifth millennium B.C. Isin was well known for its templededicated to the healing goddessNinisina (“Lady of Isin”), who was later identified with the Babylonian goddess Gula.
   The city had some importance in the Early Dynastic and Akkadian periods, but the name Isin does not appear in texts before the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur. Most of the extant structures date from the second millennium. The city came to prominence after the fall of Urin c. 2004, when Ishbi-Errafounded the First Dynasty of Isinin c. 2017. Isin’s supremacy was continuously contested by other cities, especially its archrival Larsa, which eventually conquered the city in c. 1794.
   The Kassite kings promoted the cult of Gula and invested in the restoration and enlargement of her temple. When Kassite rule was brought to an end by the Elamites, who then exercised control of most of central Babylonia, Isin’s position in the south provided relative autonomy. The Babylonian King List credits an Isin with exercising legitimate kingship as the Second Dynasty of Isin (1155–1027). There are few sources from this period apart from those of the reign of its most prominent king, NebuchadrezzarI, who undertook a successful campaign to Elam and restored national pride.
   See also KIDEN-HUTRAN.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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