Settlements > Harran

Harran

Background

The settlement that would become Harran began as a typical Halaf culture village established circa 6200 BCE as part of the spread of agricultural villages across Western Asia. From its location at the confluence of the Jullab and Balikh rivers it gradually grew in size until a period of rapid urbanization in the following Uruk period. During the Early Bronze Age (3000-2500 BCE) Harran grew into a walled city. The city-state of Harran was part of a network of city-states, called the Kish civilization, centered in the Syrian Levant and upper Mesopotamia.

The rise of Harran closely mirrored the similar rise of its trade partners, Ebla, Ugarit, and Alalakh, in a process called secondary urbanization. Its life as a sovereign city-state came to an end when it was annexed into the Akkadian Empire and its successors, the Neo-Sumerian Empire and Old Assyrian Empire. After this it was again independent for a time, until it was abandoned in the Amorite expansion in 1800 BC. It was later rebuilt as the Assyrian city of Harrānu, meaning 'cross-roads' in the Akkadian language.

The earliest records of Harran come from Ebla tablets (late 3rd millennium BCE).[13] From these, it is known that an early king or mayor of Harran had married an Eblaite princess, Zugalum, who then became "queen of Harran", and whose name appears in a number of documents.[citation needed] It appears that Harran remained a part of the regional Eblaite kingdom for some time thereafter. Royal letters from the city of Mari on the middle of the Euphrates, have confirmed that the area around the Balikh river remained occupied in c. the 19th century BCE. A confederation of semi-nomadic Semitic tribes was especially active around the region near Harran at that time.

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