King Hammurabi of Babylon


Jan van der Crabben
by Jack M. Sasson
published on 23 April 2012

According to his own testimony, Hammurabi (Hammurapi) was destined for kingship since time immemorial, when two powerful gods, Anu and Enlil, entrusted to a third god, Marduk, control over destiny, on Earth as in heaven. At that time, too, the gods set Babylon above all other lands, and its rule was made everlasting. Here is how Hammurabi describes himself on an inscribed black basalt stele we have come to call the Code of Hammurabi:

At that time, to give happiness to the people, Anum and Enlil pronounced my name “Hammurabi,” me, the pious and god- fearing ruler, to decree equity in the land, to eradicate the wicked and the evil so that the powerful might not oppress the powerless, to rise like Shamash and illumine the land for the black-headed (people).

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Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, edited by J.M. Sasson (New York, 1995)

Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Written by Jack M. Sasson, linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 23 April 2012. Source URL:

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APA Style

Sasson, J. M. (2012, April 23). King Hammurabi of Babylon. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Sasson, Jack M. "King Hammurabi of Babylon." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified April 23, 2012.

MLA Style

Sasson, Jack M. "King Hammurabi of Babylon." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 23 Apr 2012. Web. 17 Feb 2020.

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