- (C. 1595–1150 B.C.)According to the Babylonian King List, the Kassite Dynasty comes after the First Dynasty of Babylon and before the Second Dynasty of Isin. Thirty-two kings are listed, but the first three (Gandash, Agum I, and Kashtiliash) reigned before the end of the Babylonian Dynasty and were thus contemporary with the last Babyloniankings. Most but not all of the kings had Kassite names. There are few historical sources from the first 200 years.According to the Babylonian King List, there were 36 Kassite kings who ruled some 500 years. The chronology of the period, especially before 1500, is very uncertain and neither the sequence nor the lengths of reigns are firmly attested. It has also been suggested that the Kassites practiced co-regency. It was a king named Ulamburiash who was credited with the unification of Babylonia after he defeated the king of the Sealand. The best-known Kassite rulers were Kadashman-Enlil I (reigned c. 1380–c. 1359) and Kurigalzu II (reigned c. 1332–c. 1308).The Kassite kings were responsible for a reorganization of the country into a strongly centralized state. Although they were most scrupulous to endow the ancient cult places and rebuild temples, the old citieslost some of their importance during this period as the countryside became more densely inhabited and smaller political units, such as villages and towns, proliferated. The Kassite kings donated large tracts of land in perpetuity to private individuals. Such donations were recorded on large, cone-shaped stones known as kudurru. The Kassites made few attempts to enlarge their territory by invading other countries and generally presided over a peaceful and prosperous period; for a while, gold rather than silver became a medium of exchange.Like other elites of the time, the Kassites were very interested in the breeding of horses and the new technology of chariots that was to transform military strategy. Generally, the Kassite elites did not impose their cultural traditions on their Babylonian subjects. They were keen to demonstrate their respect for the local customs and religious practices. They encouraged scribal activities, and it was under Kassite kings that Babylonian became the lingua francafor the whole of the ancient Near East.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.
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