Around 1700 BC, the Babylonian Empire was born when a new king of the Mesopotamian city of Babylon was successful in pulling together all of the cities that had scattered about various regions. Hammurabi became the strong leader needed to bring the lands together and restore prosperity amongst the people. However, just like many ancient West Asian civilizations, the years brought a weakened system that finally collapses until a handful of independent cities are left. In time, the cycle continues once more.
Hammurabi was the sixth king of Babylon and the first king of the Babylonian empire. His name translates into “the kinsman is a healer.” He would become responsible for allowing Babylon to control Mesopotamia after winning a sequence of wars that broke out against neighboring kingdoms. Despite having control of all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors failed in keeping the empire and its power together.
Hammurabi is best known for the set of laws that he created, which went down in recorded history as one of the first written codes of law. Since Hammurabi was rather concerned with the way he conducted the business of bringing an empire together, he wanted everyone to feel important during the process. He decided to create his codes of law as a way to make all feel equal, as everyone was to abide by the same rules as everyone else in the new Babylonian Empire.
Hammurabi’s Code was written on a stone tablet that stood more that six feet into the air. In 1901, the actual tablet was discovered, allowing historians to fill in the details regarding the secrets of an ancient lawmaker. This is why you will find a portrait of Hammurabi residing in numerous government buildings located throughout the world.
Interesting Facts About Babylon
Babylon means “babilu” (which translates into gate of god).
The founding of Babylon is attributed to Nimrod of Gen. 10, who is known for developing the first organized system of idolatry in the world. This system was used to condemn God. Later, Babylon became the capital of Babylonia and later on , of the Babylonian Empire. Over the years, the size and structure of the civilization grew immensely.
The only remains of the city of Babylon that exists is a series of mounds that are scattered about the land.
Nebuchadnezzar II (also known as Nabu-kudurri-usur II) was associated with being the mind and constructor behind the building of Babylon. The 70 years that Babylon was in power, he ruled for 45 years. Because he was in control of the armies of Nabopalassar, he was virtually relentless. Without him, Babylon would not have been able to interrupt the power of Egypt, which took place after the battle of Carchemish. This would solidify the man as one of the most powerful monarchs in history. During his reign, a handful of inscriptions, documents and letters were created that allowed historians a chance to measure some of the power and wealth that Babylon once possessed.
Nebuchadnezzar’s palace is considered one of the grandest buildings ever built in the world.