c. 1800 BC | Mari

Why Can’t You Be More Like Your Brother?

An Assyrian favorite son.

To Yasmah-Addu, from Shamshi-Adad, your father,

When the army gathered in Qabra, I sent your brother Ishme-Dagan with the army to the land of Ahazum and I myself returned to the city of Assur. But while the army was gathering in Qabra, the land of Ahazum heard about the gathering of forces in Qabra and took a decision. All the troops of that land and the Turukkeans who are with them gathered together and took position against Ishme-Dagan in the town of Ikkallum in the land of Ahazum. Ishme-Dagan set out for that town, and approaching it at a distance of less than three hundred cubits, all the troops of that land and the Turukkeans who have gathered with them came out in front of Ishme-Dagan to give battle. They did battle, and he defeated them. He rounded up the people of that land and the Turukkeans who had gathered with them. Not a single man escaped. And that very day he seized the whole land of Ahazum. This victory is great for the land! Be happy! Here your brother has achieved victory while you are lying there among women. Now then, be a man when you will go with the army to Qatna! Just like your brother has set a great name, you as well must set yourself a great name during the campaign of Qatna!


Shamshi-Adad I

From a letter. Shamshi-Adad presided over his kingdom in Mesopotamia  for thirty-three years, splitting the empire into three parts, operating one area himself and having his two sons administer the others. The elder son, Ishme-Dagan, was a diligent co-regent; the younger, Yasmah-Addu, was inept and fond of drink. Shamshi-Adad counsels his younger son in another letter to avoid rash actions: “Take heed of the old proverb: ‘The bitch is in such a hurry that she bears blind puppies,’ and don’t you act in the same way!”