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Although the first two Ur III kings established their empire through force, they were not as bellicose as many of the Mesopotamian dynasties that preceded and followed them. The Ur III kings relied on their well-oiled bureaucracy along with considerable long-distance trade and an innovative diplomatic policy to hold power. By the late third millennium BC, Ur came to dominate the textiles and metals trade in Mesopotamia, which the Ur III kings took advantage of through centralization. The Ur III kings would direct trade through policies, but trade itself was carried out by independent caravans and contractors who profited nicely. Ur III trade worked so well that some modern scholars believed that a proto-currency was even developed in Ur at the time. Gold, silver, copper, and bronze coils have been discovered in excavations at Ur in a trade context, which has suggested to some archaeologists that the metals were used as a type of early currency. <ref> Kuhrt, p. 61</ref>
Trade may have made the Ur III kings rich, but agriculture was the backbone of the Mesopotamian economy. The Ur III kings helped advance the state of Mesopotamian agriculture by further developing the already extensive irrigation networks and by introducing a three-field crop rotation. <ref> Kuhrt, p. 60<ref> The Ur III Dynasty’s trade and economic policies helped keep the empire strong internally and allowed it the luxury of conducting diplomacy in a way that expanded its interests.
Among the sukkalmah’s many duties, the most important was to act as the Ur III Dynasty’s secretary of state. The sukkalmah would take care of foreign emissaries in Ur and would arrange diplomatic events to coincide with state religious festivals. <ref> Sharlach, Tonia. “Diplomacy and the Rituals of Politics at the Ur III Court.” <i>Journal of Cuneiform Studies.</i> 57 (2005) pgs. 17-22</ref> As with nearly all ancient societies, the Ur III state was a theocracy in many ways and the theological ideas it established would play an important role throughout Mesopotamian history.