Yarim-Lim I

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Yarim-Lim I
Great King of Yamhad
Tenurec. 1780 BC – c. 1764 BC. Middle chronology
SuccessorHammurabi I
Great King of Yamhad
IssueHammurabi I

Yarim-Lim I, also given as Yarimlim, (reigned c. 1780 BC – c. 1764 BC) was the second king of the ancient Amorite kingdom of Yamhad in modern-day Aleppo, Syria.


Early Reign and Conflicts[edit]

Yarim-Lim was the son and successor of the first king Sumu-Epuh and his queen Sumunna-Abi. The kingdom of Yamhad was being threatened by the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I who had surrounded Yamhad through his alliance with Charchemish and Urshu to the north, Qatna to the south, and conquering Mari to the east, appointing his son Yasmah-Adad on its throne.[1] Yarim-Lim ascended the throne after his father was killed in 1780 BC during his campaigns against Shamshi-Adad.[2] He was able to stand up to Shamshi-Adad by surrounding him with deft alliances with Hammurabi of Babylon and Ibal-pi-el II of Eshnunna. His alliance with Hammurabi was credited with saving Babylon from an Assyrian attack by attacking their rear.[3]

In 1777 BC, Yarim-Lim conquered the city of Tuttul, on the confluence of the rivers Balikh and Euphrates. He appointed his ally, Zimri-Lim, the heir to the throne of Mari who was living in exile at his court, as king. When Shamshi-Adad died in 1776 BC, he helped Zimrilim regain his throne in Mari and oust Yasmah-Adad. The alliance between Mari and Yamhad was cemented with the royal marriage between Zimrilim and Yarim-Lim's daughter Shibtu. Two days after the marriage ceremony queen Sumunna-Abi died.[4]

Ibal-pi-el II of Eshnuna exploited the death of Shamshi-Adad to pursuit an expansionist policy, advancing on the account of Assyria and causing stress to the alliance.[5] He later allied himself with Elam, the enemy of Hammurabi who was Yarim-Lim's ally.[6]

Relations with Mari[edit]

Zimri-Lim's ascension to the throne with the help of Yarim-Lim I affected the status of Mari, Zimri-Lim referred to Yarim-Lim as his father and acted under the guidance of the Yamhadite main deity Hadad, of which Yarim-Lim was the mediator.[7]

The tablets of Mari recorded many events that revealed Zimri-Lim's subordination. On two occasions Zimri-Lim demanded the extradition of his subordinates from Yarim-Lim I. The first case was related to a vassal king of Zimri-Lim who addressed him as a brother instead of a father and the demand was refused,[8] while the second was through the Mariote ambassador in Aleppo Daris-Libur in which Zimri-Lim asked for some fugitives to which Yarim-Lim answered with decline twice before agreeing on the Mariote ambassador's third attempt.[9]

At one instance Nur-Sin the Mariote ambassador in Aleppo wrote to his master for the handing of an estate called Alahtum to Hadad (meaning Aleppo),[10] and in another instance, Ibal-pi-el offered peace and fixing the borders to Zimri-Lim who sent envoys to Yarim-Lim asking for authorization which was not given, leading Zimri-Lim to refuse the treaty on three different occasions.[11]

Later Reign and Succession[edit]

There is no king who is mighty by himself. Ten or fifteen kings follow Hammurabi the ruler of Babylon, a like number of Rim-Sin of Larsa, a like number of Ibal-pi-el of Eshnunna, a like number of Amud-pi-el of Qatanum, but twenty follow Yarim-Lim of Yamhad.

—An excerpt from a tablet from the archives at Mari[12]

Yarim-Lim extended his influence to several other important city-states in Syria through alliance and vassalage, including Urshu and the rich kingdom of Ugarit.[3] The relationship between Qatna and Yamhad seems to have improved during Yarim-Lim's reign as well.[2] The armies of Aleppo campaigned as far as Elam near the modern southern Iraqi-Iranian borders: a tablet discovered at Mari revealed the extent of those military interventions in Mesopotamia; the tablet includes a declaration of war against Dēr and Diniktum in retaliation for their evil deeds, a reminder to the king of Dēr about the military help given to him for fifteen years by Yarim-Lim and the stationing of 500 Aleppan warships for twelve years in Diniktum.[13] By the time of his death, Yarim-Lim, had more than twenty kings as vassals and allies. According to Historian William J. Hamblin he was at the time the "mightiest ruler in the Near East outside of Egypt,"[3] He died c. 1764 BC and was succeeded by his son Hammurabi I.

Yarim-Lim I
 Died: 1764 BC
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Great King of Yamhad
1780 – 1764 BC
Succeeded by
Hammurabi I



  1. ^ Hamblin, 2002, p. 258.
  2. ^ a b Bryce, 2009, p. 773.
  3. ^ a b c Hamblin, 2002, p. 259.
  4. ^ Karen Radner; Eleanor Robson. The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture. p. 258.
  5. ^ Trevor Bryce. The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia. p. 237.
  6. ^ I. E. S. Edwards; C. J. Gadd; N. G. L. Hammond; E. Sollberger. The Cambridge Ancient History. p. 264.
  7. ^ J. A. Emerton. Prophecy: Essays presented to Georg Fohrer on his sixty-fifth birthday. p. 75.
  8. ^ C.L. Crouch; Jonathan Stökl; Anna Elise Zernecke. Mediating Between Heaven and Earth. p. 86.
  9. ^ C.L. Crouch; Jonathan Stökl; Anna Elise Zernecke. Mediating Between Heaven and Earth. p. 88.
  10. ^ C.L. Crouch; Jonathan Stökl; Anna Elise Zernecke. Mediating Between Heaven and Earth. p. 85.
  11. ^ Wolfgang Heimpel. Letters to the King of Mari. p. 44.
  12. ^ Dalley, 2002, p. 44.
  13. ^ Jack M. Sasson. The Military Establishments at Mari. p. 2+3.