Promulgation of Hammurabi’s Code (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The Babylonian king Hammurabi promoted public order by amending and codifying existing laws and carving them on stone pillars in public places so that they were accessible to the entire populace.
Summary of Event
Hammurabi’s laws are neither the oldest extant laws nor even a law code as the term is popularly understood, but this does not alter the fact that their promulgation and preservation constitute a landmark in history. Early Sumerian political and religious thought, which became normative for subsequent peoples who invaded or conquered the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, did not make a clear distinction between divine and human societies. Among the gods, as among their human counterparts, the Sumerians pictured a divine assembly as the ultimate source of authority. This notion of a divine assembly added to the significance of the assembly on Earth. In Sumerian mythology, the cosmic body alone was competent to name the head of the pantheon, regulate the lengths of reigns, and to grant immortality to humans.
Hammurabi was the sixth Amorite king of a Semitic dynasty that had, some two hundred years earlier, imposed its rule on the native Sumerian population of the territory within about a 50-mile (80-kilometer) radius of Babylon. Late in the course of his forty-three-year reign, Hammurabi extended his rule in the direction of Assyria and northern Syria. He published what...
(The entire section is 1977 words.)
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