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Isin (ĭsˈĭn), 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. Many city-states vied with one another, but Isin and Larsa were the most powerful of these. Excavations have brought to light the law code of King Lipit-Ishtar of Isin. This code is one of several codes that predate the stele of Hammurabi.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an ancient city in the southern part of Mesopotamia (the contemporary site Ishaq-bahriyiat in Iraq), located about 20 km south of the ancient city of Nippur (modern Niffer). Isin was the main site of the cult of the goddess Nininsina, revered in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia under the name of Gula, “the great healer.” After the fall of the third dynasty of Ur (end of the 21st century B.C.), Isin became the capital of the kingdom of the same name.

For almost 150 years the dynasty of the kings of Isin, who came from Mari (on the Euphrates), was one of the most powerful in southern Mesopotamia. Under the fifth king of Isin, Lipit-Ishtar (second half of the 20th century B.C.), the laws of Isin were recorded. These, together with the laws of the Sumerian king Ur-Nammu (end of the 21st century B.C.), were precursors of the code of Hammurabi.

At the end of the 19th century B.C., Isin was conquered by the king of Larsa, Rim-Sin, and at the beginning of the 18th century by the Babylonian king Hammurabi. The second rise of Isin occurred at the end of the second millennium B.C. under the rulers of the second dynasty of Isin. The later fate of Isin has not been established, since the city has not yet been excavated.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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