published on 28 April 2011
The Amorites were a nomadic people who lived in the region of Mesopotamia that was west of the Euphrates River during the third millennium BCE. Their movement east into the more civilized and culturally established regions brought about great change and influence for the Babylonian Empire. There is speculation that the Amorites traveled all the way from Europe, due to their artistic representation on Egyptian art as being fair skinned and light-eyed.
Large-scale drought is thought to have caused the mass migration of the early Amorites into Mesopotamia during the 21st century BCE. This brought about great changes for Mesopotamian civilization, culturally and politically, including the eventual collapse of the great Sumerian city of Ur. Where the Sumerian city-state was the way of rule, the rise of the Amorite kingdoms became the way of life.
The Amorites brought about changes to the Mesopotamian way of life, both good and bad. They lowered the high taxation and and all but eradicated the forced labor of the past. Land that was previously owned by royalty was split up and divided among citizens capable of farming it. This is not to say that the Amorites were a peaceful people: Though they were experienced herdsman by trade, they were quite adept at warfare as well. They succeeded in invading and conquering the Babylonians on two separate occasions (during the third and first millenia BCE).
Known as the Amorite period of Mesopotamian history, the era from 2000-1600 BCE was a time of change and seeming prosperity of the region. But, like most of Mesopotamian history, things were to change. When the Hittites sacked Babylon in 1595 BCE, introducing new cultural groups to the region, and yet again changing the makeup of Mesopotamia.
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c. 2240 BCE