THE OLD BABYLONIAN SUPREMACY 3200-2500 B.C.
THE oldest extant cuneiform records show that as early as the fourth millennium B.C. the controlling influence in the civilization and in the politics of Syria and Palestine was exercised by Babylonia. Ur-Nina, the founder of the dynasty of Lagash (c. 3200),1 relates that he brought cedar wood for his temples from Ma'al. The nature of the importation and the analogy of later kings lead us to conjecture that Ma'al was situated in Mount Lebanon or Mount Amanus. If so, Babylonian commerce with Syria was older than has commonly been supposed. The location of this region, however, is still uncertain.
The first king who is known positively to have maintained relations with the West is Lugalzaggisi (c. 2920). He has left the longest and, from our point of view, the most interesting inscription of the early Babylonian monarchs. It was engraved on one hundred vases, which he dedicated to the temple of Enlil at Nippur, and which were found by the American expedition broken into small pieces and cast out as rubbish. Hilprecht has succeeded in dis-____________________