Quote Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
That actually kind of puts the collapse of "Neo-Sumer" and the Amorite invasions into context. I wonder if there were broader trends that go back to the collapse of Akkad, or heck even the rise of Akkad in the first place.

Hey while we are at it how was the Akkadian Empire even a thing? I mean literally all of it.
Where were the Akkadians even from?
Where they necessarily distinct from later invaders or were they just a group that branched off and went out on its own?
Was Akkad initially settled by these Semitic barbarians or was the king of Kish of Sumerian or Mesopotamian extraction?
How strong were the Akkadians that they managed to overrun Sumer and all of Mesopotamia within only one or two generations? Did Sharrukinu figure out a way to hack into the meta or was he literally a deity? Maybe stronger donkey vehicles?
Speaking of Mesopotamia, what people lived in Upper Mesopotamia if they were not Sumerian? Doesn't seem that they were Semites yet, with the strange exception being the Akkadians at first.

The Akkadians might be the most frustrating of the Bronze Age. Maybe only second to all of those random tribes emerging from the Zagros Mountains, and the Hurrians. By extension the Mitanni Empire due to a lack of Mitanni source material. I find it hilarious how the Sea People are pretty straight forward yet a lot of scholarship seems completely confused with regards to them.
The Akkadian language has a very obvious Sumerian and/or Sumerian-like substrate. Relative to reconstructed proto-Semitic and all known Semitic languages, its grammar and especially it phonology appears to have been heavily influenced by Sumerian and/or a Sumerian-like language. The latter is a bit more pronounced in the Babylonian dialect compared to the Assyrian dialect. I think it's safe to assume that Akkadian is the result of Semitic people establishing themselves as a ruling class over the local people who gradually adopted the language through elite emulation. This had already started to occur in parts of Mesopotamia before the oldest evidence of Akkadian, but continued into the historical period with their expansion.

It looks like the Akkadian Empire wasn't exactly an empire from the start. It was more like a patronage network. A neighboring city-state would be defeated, and either the local king would remain as a semi-autonomous subordinate who paid tribute, or maybe another relative or member of the local elite would be put in power. Eventually local rulers might be replaced with an Akkadian, but these rulers were still semi-autonomous at first. This idea eventually evolved into the usage of military governors, and then it started to become more like a real empire. One of their more significant innovations was the practice of associating local deities with their own pantheon and then installing a priesthood in the same way they would install local rulers. Probably the two branches of government (to use an anachronistic term) worked as a counterbalance to each other. Each were under the patronage of the central government and potentially rivals to each other. The idea being that if one or the other started becoming too powerful the weaker would call on the patron for help before it got out control.

So I think the Akkadians built on the Sumerian foundation and gradually developed a concept/system of empire that facilitated the replacement of Sumerian identity with Akkadian identity, but it wasn't really the replacement of Sumerians by Akkadians, except maybe at the top of the social strata. Although keep in mind this all fragmentary being on the edge of prehistory, and I don't keep completely up to date on Mesopotamia research to the same degree as I do regarding the Levant (although they are significantly interrelated in later periods).