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King of Ebla
Tenure c. 2340 BC. Middle chronology
Predecessor Igrish-Halam
Successor Isar-Damu
King of Ebla
Wife Dusigu
Issue Isar-Damu
Princess Iti-Mut.[1]
Father Igrish-Halam
Mother Kesdut

Irkab-Damu (reigned c. 2340 BC),[2] was the king (Malikum) of the first Eblaite kingdom, whose era saw Ebla's turning into the dominant power in the Levant.[3][4] During his reign, the vizier started to acquire an important role in running the affair of the state and the military. Irkab-Damu's reign is also noted for the wide diplomatic relations between Ebla and the surrounding kingdoms.[5][6][7]


Ebla at the end of Irkab-Damu's reign.

Irkab-Damu succeeded king Igrish-Halam,[8][9] whose reign was characterized by an Eblaite weakness, and tribute paying to the kingdom of Mari with whom Ebla fought a long war.[6] Irkab-Damu started his reign by concluding a peace and trading treaty with Abarsal (probably located along the Euphrates river east of Ebla),[10] one of the first recorded treaties in history.[11] Ebla paid tribute to Mari during Irkab-Damu's first years on the throne.[6] A letter from king Enna-Dagan of Mari was discovered at Ebla,[12] and was used by the Mariote monarch as a tool to assert Mari's authority,[12] as it contained a historic telling of the victories won by the Enna-Dagans's predecessors over Ebla.[13]


Irkab-Damu launched a successful counteroffensive against Mari, and ended the tribute.[4][3] He expanded the borders of Ebla to its greatest extent, and controlled an area roughly half the size of modern Syria,[14] half of which was under the direct control of the king and administered by governors, while the rest consisted of vassal kingdoms paying tribute and supplying military assistance to Ebla.[14] A tablet from Ebla mention an Eblaite victory over Nagar, most probably during Irakb-Damu's reign.[15] The same tablet mention the concluding of a treaty with Enna-Dagan.[15] Irkab-Damu appointed Arrukum as the first vizier of Ebla,[16] who kept his office for five years,[17] and had his son Ruzi-Malik marrying princess Iti-Mut, the daughter of the king.[1]

Diplomacy was an important part of Irkab-Damu's policy, a clay tablet found in the archives at Ebla, bears a copy of a diplomatic message sent from Ebla to king Zizi of Hamazi, along with a large quantity of wood, hailing him as a brother,[18] and requesting him to send mercenaries in exchange.[19] Gifts from Ancient Egypt were discovered in the royal palace, indicating the far reaching relations of Ebla,[20] which is described by Karl Moore as the history first world power.[21]

Succession and family[edit]

Irkab-Damu was the son of Igrish-Halam and his queen Kesdut,[22] and had a sister named Sanib-dulum.[23] He ruled for eleven years,[10] and married his queen Dusigu in his fifth year on the throne.[24] Irkab-Damu last two years saw the rise of vizier Ibrium,[17] who campaigned against Abarsal during Arrukum's term,[5] and became Ebla's strongest official during the reign of Irkab-Damu's son and successor Isar-Damu.[5]

King Irkab-Damu of Ebla
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Ebla
2340 BC
Succeeded by

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b W. de Gruyter (2002). Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie, Volume 92. p. 162. 
  2. ^ William J. Hamblin. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. p. 239. 
  3. ^ a b Amanda H. Podany (2010). Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East. p. 24. 
  4. ^ a b Lisa Cooper (2006). Early Urbanism on the Syrian Euphrates. p. 64. 
  5. ^ a b c Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 207. 
  6. ^ a b c Joan Aruz,Ronald Wallenfels (2003). Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. p. 462. 
  7. ^ Diane Bolger, Louise C. Maguire (2010). The Development of Pre-State Communities in the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of Edgar Peltenburg. p. 132. 
  8. ^ Gregorio del Olmo Lete (2008). Mythologie et religion des sémites occidentaux, Nummer 1 (in French). p. 118. 
  9. ^ Antonio Panaino, Giovanni Pettinato (2002). Ideologies as Intercultural Phenomena: Proceedings of the Third Annual Symposium of the Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project, Held in Chicago, USA, October 27-31, 2000. p. 200. 
  10. ^ a b "Alfonso Archi and Maria Giovanna Biga, In Search of Armi, Journal of Cuneiform Studies Vol. 63, pp. 5-34". The American Schools of Oriental Research. 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Stephen C. Neff (2014). Justice Among Nations. p. 14. 
  12. ^ a b Georges Roux (1992). Ancient Iraq. p. 200. 
  13. ^ Mario Liverani (2013). The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 119. 
  14. ^ a b William J. Hamblin. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. p. 240. 
  15. ^ a b David Oates, Joan Oates, Helen McDonald (2001). Excavations at Tell Brak: vol 2. Nagar in the third millennium BC. p. 100. 
  16. ^ Alfonso Archi (1998). Archiv Für Orientforschung, Volume 44,Deel 1 -Volume 45,Deel 1. p. 108. 
  17. ^ a b Douglas Frayne (2008). Pre-Sargonic Period: Early Periods, Volume 1 (2700-2350 BC). p. 148. 
  18. ^ Jovan Kurbalija,Hannah Slavik (2001). Language and Diplomacy. p. 52. 
  19. ^ Giovanni Pettinato (1981). The archives of Ebla: an empire inscribed in clay. p. 98. 
  20. ^ Amanda H. Podany (2010). Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East. p. 52. 
  21. ^ Karl Moore,David Charles Lewis (2009). The Origins of Globalization. p. 43. 
  22. ^ W. de Gruyter (2002). Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie, Volume 92. p. 174. 
  23. ^ P. Xella (1991). Studi epigrafici e linguistici sul Vicino Oriente antico, Volume 8 (in Italian). p. 66. 
  24. ^ Anne Porter (2012). Mobile Pastoralism and the Formation of Near Eastern Civilizations: Weaving Together Society. p. 230.