Hammurabi

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Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer," from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman," and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c. 1750 BC)) was the sixth king of Babylon from 1792 BC to 1750 BC middle chronology (1728 BC – 1686 BC short chronology)[1] He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms.[2] Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire.

Hammurabi is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's Code, one of the first written codes of law in recorded history. These laws were written on a stone tablet standing over eight feet tall (2.4 meters) that was found in 1901. Owing to his reputation in modern times as an ancient law-giver, Hammurabi's portrait is in many government buildings throughout the world.

Contents

History

Hammurabi was a First Dynasty king of the city-state of Babylon, and inherited the power from his father, Sin-Muballit, in c. 1792 BC.[3] Babylon was one of the many ancient city-states that dotted the Mesopotamian plain and waged war on each other for control of fertile agricultural land.[4] Though many cultures co-existed in Mesopotamia, Babylonian culture gained a degree of prominence among the literate classes throughout the Middle East.[5] The kings who came before Hammurabi had begun to consolidate rule of central Mesopotamia under Babylonian hegemony and, by the time of his reign, had conquered the city-states of Borsippa, Kish, and Sippar.[5] Thus Hammurabi ascended to the throne as the king of a minor kingdom in the midst of a complex geopolitical situation. The powerful kingdom of Eshnunna controlled the upper Tigris River while Larsa controlled the river delta. To the east lay the kingdom of Elam. To the north, Shamshi-Adad I was undertaking expansionistic wars,[6] although his untimely death would fragment his newly conquered Semitic empire.[7]

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