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-        Located on west bank of Euphrates River in present day eastern Syria, close to the Iraqi border. Modern name: Tell Al-Hariri.

-        An Amorite city state.

-        The strategic location on the river and on trade routes made Mari an important city and so also a rich and powerful kingdom.

-        Re-discovered by accident in the early 1930s by locals digging graves.

-        Excavations began shortly afterwards by a group of archaeologists from France.

-         Many artifacts and structures were uncovered, including temples, a royal palace and about 25.000 cuneiform tablets.

-        Evidence points to a settlement from before 3rd millennium (Sumerian) to circa 1750 BCE > the city was captured and destroyed by Hammurabi when he turned on King Zimri-lim of Mari.

Finds:

-        The Royal Palace with wall paintings showing ideas of kingship. The armed warrior goddess Ishtar (war and sex) handing circle and rod to king. Her accompanying pet lion. People climbing the trees are pollinating the date palms. The investiture of Zimri-Lim, Mari 18th C. King is responsible for social order, fertility of the land. People holding streamer vases, with the 4 streams of the 4 corners of the world

-        The “palace of Zimri-lim” is enormous and has about 300 rooms.

The Mari Archive: some 25.000 cuneiform tablets, mainly diplomatic correspondence. 

Important source on the development and expansion of the “Amorites.”

Of interest are the names like Abi-ram, Laban, and Iahqub-el, which are similar to patriarch names from the Hebrew Bible.



The tablets give us the general picture of the cultural and historical environment throughout the fertile crescent, namely that of a political status quo between the “Amorite” kingdoms of Babylon, Larsa and Eshnunna in southern Mesopotamia, Assyria and Mari in northern Mesopotamia, Yamhad in northern Syria, Qatna in central Syria, and Hazor in upper Galilee.