|Author||Charles River Editors|
|Publication Date||September 24, 2012|
*Includes pictures of the stele on which the Code of Hammurabi is inscribed.
*Includes the Code of Hammurabi.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ Legends of the Ancient World series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of antiquity’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
The Babylonians were one of the earliest of history’s great ancient civilizations, and the most famous Babylonian of them all was Hammurabi, who came to the throne as the first king of the Babylonian empire around the beginning of the 18th century B.C. Hammurabi had a long and fruitful reign that saw him consolidate most of Mesopotamia under his control, but he’s best known today for Hammurabi’s Code, one of the earliest known code of laws in human history. Inscribed on stone tablets, Hammurabi’s Code was found over 3,500 years later in the early 20th century, making him one of antiquity’s most famous men.
Babylonian culture, including art, architecture and literature, flourished during his reign, and Hammurabi (or the scribes in his employ) wrote enough public royal inscriptions and personal official letters to store in museums across the world. There are also many letters from other contemporary rulers that make reference to him or to significant events during his reign. The large amount of documentation available, both from and about him, has allowed modern scholars to paint a colorful picture of the famous king and the various facets of his life.
Although there is no information on the age of Hammurabi when he took the throne, he ruled Babylon for 43 years from 1792-1750 B.C., when he became gravely ill and handed the throne to one of his sons, Samsu-iluna. Hammurabi spent the first 28 years of his career strengthening the kingdom he inherited and managing construction projects ranging from temples to irrigation canals. He also focused himself on winning the hearts of his people by making a reliable, transparent judicial system. He fought a few local skirmishes on the outskirts of his kingdom that seemed to involve securing his own borders from outside threats more than increasing the size of his own kingdom. During most of that time he ruled in the shadow of his neighbor to the north, Šamši-Adad, the king of Ekallatum (and later Assyria).
The last decade or so of his reign was spent empire building. Hammurabi established powerful alliances and conquered enemies on all sides expanding his kingdom to a monumental empire. He stopped the Elamite incursion from the east, driving them from regions they had taken adjacent to Babylon, and he finally routed Rim-Sîn, his long-time enemy to the south in Larsa. Hammurabi subsequently brought the kingdom of Assyria under his control, and after several years being allied with the powerful northwestern kingdom of Mari, he defeated their army as well and brought Mari under the ultimate control of Babylon. When all was said and done, Hammurabi handed over to his son a vast empire eight times the size of the kingdom left to him by his own father. It is no wonder that later generations of Babylonians considered the reign of Hammurabi to be the golden age of Babylon, a sentiment shared by many today.
Legends of the Ancient World: The Life and Legacy of Hammurabi looks at the known and unknown about the Ancient Babylonian king and attempts to separate fact from fiction to analyze his life and reign. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about Hammurabi like you never have before, in no time at all.