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Transcript of Hammurabi's Code
The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man.
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By: Natalie Lavina
The Rediscovery of Hammurabi's
In 1901 Jacques de Morgan, a French mining engineer, led an archaeological expedition to Persia to excavate the Elamite capital of Susa, more than 250 miles from the center of Hammurabi’s kingdom. There they uncovered the stela—broken into three pieces—that had been brought to Susa as spoils of war, likely by King Shutruk-Nahhunte in the mid-12th century B.C. The stela was packed up and shipped to the Louvre in Paris, and within a year it had been translated and widely publicized as the earliest example of a written legal code—one that predated but bore striking parallels to the laws outlined in the Hebrew Old Testament.
Around 1792 b.c., the sixth Amorite king of Babylon, Hammurabi, began conquering cities controlled by the Amorites to the north and south. By adding these lands he created the Babylonian Empire. This new empire stretched north from the Persian Gulf through the Tigris-Euphrates valley and west to the Mediterranean Sea. . He ruled Babylon from 1792 BC to 1750 BC after his father, King Sin-Muballit. He is the known inventor of the Ancient Mesopotamian set of laws called Hammurabi's code.
In the 30th year of his reign Hammurabi began to expand his kingdom up and down the Euphrates, overthrowing Larsa, Eshunna, Assyria and Mari until all of Mesopotamia under his command. Hammurabi joined his military and political advances with irrigation projects and the construction of fortifications and temples. They celebrated the defeat of Marduk.
The black stone stela containing Hammurabi’s Code was carved from a single, four-ton slab of diorite, a durable but incredibly difficult stone for carving. At its top is a two-and-a-half-foot relief carving of a standing Hammurabi receiving the law—symbolized by a measuring rod and tape—from the seated Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. The rest of the monument is covered with columns of chiseled cuneiform script.
The black stone stela containing Hammurabi’s Code was carved from a four-ton slab of diorite, a long lasting but incredibly difficult stone for carving. At its top is a relief carving of a standing Hammurabi receiving the law from the seated Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. The rest of the seven-foot-five-inch monument is covered with columns of chiseled cuneiform script.
The Legacy of King Hammurabi
After 42 years as king, Hammurabi ended his reign. It is believed that Hammurabi died around 1750 B.C. But even after his death his famous code was still obeyed and respected. Hammurabi and his kingdom had earned the tittle of being one of the first empires to create laws. Hammurabi's Code influenced later law codes, such as those of Greece and Rome many, many years later.