When it comes to setting down the ancient law, Hammurabi has certainly played an important role, as he is responsible for a set of laws known as ‘Hammurabi’s Code.’ Not only was he the sixth king of Babylon, he also became known as the first king to rule over the Babylonian Empire. At this time, he furthered the control that Babylon had over Mesopotamia , all due to winning a series of wars against nearby kingdoms. In this article, you will learn more about the man behind an important set of historic laws.
Hammurabi’s Place in History
One of the first recorded written codes of law in history is Hammurabi’s Code, which was placed on a stone tablet that reached more than six feet into the air. In 1901, this great piece of history was uncovered. Hammurabi served as the First Dynasty king of the city-state of Babylon, a position on the throne passed down from this father (Sin-muballit) around 1792 BC.
At the time, Babylon was known as one of the numerous ancient city-states that existed about the Mesopotamian region. The land was fertile and available for many different agricultural pursuits, which made it an attractive possession to fight over. War broke out between Mesopotamia and Babylon over who would gain control. Despite a variety of cultures swelling in the same region in Mesopotamia, Babylon had managed to create a higher level amongst the literate classes that lived throughout the Middle East. Kings that rules before Hammurabi had already put into place rule of central Mesopotamia. By the time he took control, Borsippa, Sippar, and Kish had already been conquered by Babylon.
The political situation that bubbled at the time of his acceptance of the throne saw him the king of a minor kingdom. He would later face decisions that involved the powerful kingdom of Eshnunnna, which controlled the upper part of the Tigris River, as well as Larsa , in control of the river delta. In the east, the kingdom of Elam stood. The north was home to the empire of Shamshi-Adad I.
During the first couple of decades that Hammurabi ruled, everything went relatively smoothly. Under his rule, he used his power to advance public interests, such as increasing the height of the city walls for defensive purposes, as well as expanding the temples of his kingdom. In 1766 BC, the Mesopotamian plain underwent an intrusion of the kingdom of Elam. They had also had a part in the significant trade routes that crossed the Zagros Mountains and now they were making a move. As Elam attacked, they had the help of allies residing in the plain states. They were successful in destroying the empire of Eshnunna, taking with them a handful of cities and imposing their own set of rules.
Continued in Part II, you will encounter information regarding the “The Rise and Fall of Babylonian Power.”