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(lär`sə), ancient city of S Babylonia, in modern Iraq, 30 mi (48 km) NW of An Nasiriyah. It was the biblical Ellasar (Gen. 14.1). When the last king of the third dynasty of Ur was overthrown (c.1950 B.C.) by the Elamites and Amorites, the cities of IsinIsin
, capital of an ancient Semitic kingdom of N Babylonia. The city became important after the third dynasty of Ur fell to the Elamites and the Amorites (c.2025 B.C.). The phase from c.2025–c.1763 B.C. is sometimes called the Isin-Larsa period.
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 and Larsa were rivals for hegemony in MesopotamiaMesopotamia
[Gr.,=between rivers], ancient region of Asia, the territory about the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, included in modern Iraq. The region extends from the Persian Gulf north to the mountains of Armenia and from the Zagros and Kurdish mountains on the east to the Syrian
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. In 1763 B.C., Hammurabi defeated Larsa and succeeded in uniting Babylonia under his power. The city was dedicated to the sun god, Shamash. Temple libraries and important documents have been found in the ruins.



(modern site, Senkereh, Iraq), an ancient city in southern Mesopotamia.

Archaeological research was begun at Larsa in 1854 by the British diplomat A. W. Loftus. More recently, excavations wereconducted there by the French expedition of A. Parrot. Judging by the excavated materials, Larsa existed for more than 2,000 years, from the Early Dynastic period (2700–2325 B.C.) to the Neo-Babylonian period (626–538B.C.). The most recent known written reference to Larsa pertains to the latter period.

In 1932 B.C., during the reign of King Gungunum, Larsa became the capital of a kingdom founded by an Amorite dynasty. It reached its zenith in the 19th and 18th centuries B.C., when the throne was seized by another Amorite dynasty, which made Larsa the capital of the the extensive state it created. The last ruler of this dynasty, Rim-Sin I, was defeated by the Babylonian king Hammurabi in 1762, and Larsa became part of Babylonia. During the reign of Hammurabi’s son, a rebellion was raised in Larsa by Rim-Sin II. In suppressing the rebellion (c. 1739 B.C.), the Babylonians destroyed the city. Although Larsa was later restored, it lost its former importance. Monuments of material culture and considerable documentary material from Larsa’s prosperous period have been found. Administrative documents, business contracts, and private correspondence are among the sources extant.


Jean, C. F. Larsa, d’après les textes cunéiformes 2187 à 1901. Paris, 1931.
Leemans, W. F. Legal and Economic Records From the Kingdom of Larsa. Leiden, 1954.
Walters, S. D. “Waters From Larsa.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1970, vol. 4.