added by archaeologs A Semitic-speaking dynasty founded by Sargon the Great (Sharrukin, 2334-2279 BC) c. 2370 BC with Akkad (or Agade), an unidentified site, as his capital. Under Sargon and his grandson, Naram-Sin, the dynasty established an empire that included much of Mesopotamia and neighboring Elam to the east. The dynasty saw three major developments: the beginning of the absorption of the Sumerians by the Semites, a trend from city-state to the larger territorial state, and imperial expansion. It is considered the first empire in history. Akkadian also refers to the Semitic dialects of Old Akkadian (3rd millennium) and Assyrian and Babylonian (2nd and 1st millennia). The Amarna Letters (diplomatic correspondence between Egypt and the Levant in the mid-14th century BC) are written in Babylonian, a late form of Akkadian. Akkadian was written in a cuneiform script borrowed from Sumerian and was the lingua franca of the civilized Near East for much of the 2nd millennium. It replaced Sumerian as the official language (though Sumerian was still used for religious purposes). Akkadian was gradually replaced by Aramaic.