The first great King of Babylon was King Hammurabi. Hammurabi was born around 1810 BC, and was a native to the city of Babylon. Hammurabi was renowned as a great ruler. He united all of Mesopotamia under his rule by conquering each territory.
Under his rule, the first Babylonian Empire was established. The Babylonian Empire had a very long lifespan and was ruled over by many kings over the years.
Hammurabi is particularly famous for the establishment of the world’s first written code of law, the Code of Hammurabi. Currently, the Code of Hammurabi is on display in the Louvre museum, in Paris.
The Code of Hammurabi was the world’s first written code of law. It was believed to have been passed down to Hammurabi by the gods. One of the best surviving copies of the code is carved on an object called a diorite stele.
(Diorite is a kind of stone, while a stele is a kind of tablet. The diorite stele is, essentially, just a stele made of diorite!) The Code’s diorite stele is a large stone, at about seven feet tall and two feet wide. It contains 282 different laws. A picture of Hammurabi is carved above the laws.
The Code of Hammurabi is important to historians because it gives us a great deal of insight into how the people of Mesopotamia and Babylon lived their lives. It tells us about their morality, what they viewed as right/wrong, and clarifies details about their religious worship.
As the world’s oldest code of law, it shows us what basis the laws of future civilizations in Asia were based on. The Code of Hammurabi also shows how differently the social classes of Mesopotamia were treated to one another.
The punishment for assaulting somebody of a higher class than you was much harsher than that for assaulting somebody in the same/a lower class than you, which shows a clear bias in favor of the higher classes.
A high-class citizen assaulting a slave would only need to pay a few pieces of silver; a slave who attacked a high-class citizen would be whipped or killed. This inequality provides proof for the theory of social hierarchy in Hammurabi’s Babylon.
As previously stated, the Code of Hammurabi had 282 laws. These laws covered every area of the law, from murder to theft to false accusations, and were oftentimes very specific. Every law came with a hypothetical example listed, but these examples did not cover every detail of a possible case.
One of the most famous laws of the Code of Hammurabi reads as: “If a man destroys the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man’s bone, they shall break his bone.” As can be seen from this law, the Code of Hammurabi was harsh. In the 282 laws, a punishment of execution is cited 30 times, and many more physical punishments are listed, such as whippings/beatings.
– The world’s first written code of law.
– The Babylonian Empire.
– Gives an insight into the Babylonian justice system and way of life.
– The Louvre in Paris.