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The code of Hammurabi was one of the most
important documents in Babylon history. It was adopted from many Sumerian
customs that had been around for a while before the Babylonians. Though
many of the Laws were adopted from Sumeria they were published by Hammurabi
and thus known as the code of Hammurabi. This code had four main parts
to it. They were: Civil Laws, Commercial Laws, Penal Laws, and the Law
The Civil Law was an important one to the
people. It set up a social class system based on a hierarchy based on wealth.
The Babylonians had three classes according to the code. They were the
freeman or wealthy people, the semi- freeman who were able to become slaves
at any time, and the slaves who were of course the lowest class.
The next section in the code was the Commercial
Law. This had to do with business transactions and most things relating
to business. It set up 20% interest rates. There was a political economy
based on economic status. The wealthy classes were the creditors and the
poorer class was the debtors.
After the Commercial Law came the Penal
Law. This had to do with the issue of crime. The laws were unusually harsh
do to their ineducation. Despite this the wealthy class usually enjoyed
more freedom from the law than the lower classes. There was no jury in
the court back in the times of Babylon. The code of Hammurabi was like
an eye for an eye punishment. If you killed someone than you would be killed.
The last law was the Law of Procedures.
This dealt with the way all of the other laws were carried out. It also
had to do with the way ceremonies were carried out. These ceremonies could
include marriage and other religious ceremony.
The first group of people to take over
the Mesopotamia region was the Akkadians. They took over around 200 BC
and they were lead by their leader Sargon the Great. Sargon was not a good
leader and Akkad the empire they built was not organized at all. It had
no society and no civilization.
Soon after the Akkadians came the Amorites.
They were also known as the old Babylonians. They built the city of Babylon
and made it one of the biggest trade centers in the Middle East. Hammurabi
was the King of the Amorites and was famous for the code of Hammurabi.
This brought structure and order to Babylon. This is something the Akkadians
did not have. The Amorites had a society based on hierarchy and were very
diverse. In fact one of the reasons that they were conquered was because
they could not communicate well because there were so many different languages.
The bible says that the Amorites attempted to build a tower so they could
reach heaven so he made them all speak different languages. After King
Hammurabi there was no sufficient leaders and Old Babylon soon fell. This
appears to be a pattern in history because this is very similar what happened
The people who took over the Amorites were
the Hittites. The Hittites were Indo-European people unlike the Semitic
Old Babylonians. They had Iron weapons and armor and had no trouble taking
over Babylon. But after they conquered the Mesopotamia region they left
Babylon alone and did not adopt its ways because they were not Semitic.
The Hittites had found a way to extract iron from iron ore and that is
why they had iron weapons and armor. The Capital of the Hittites was in
Asia-Minor and it was called Hatttusa.
After the Hittites came the Assyrians.
These people even though Semitic ignored Babylon. Instead they built Nineveh,
which was one of the most extravagant cities. The Assyrians were a war
machine and their society reflected it. They built libraries to keep track
of their victories. They also had a society based on military ranking.
The Assyrians Destroyed the kingdom of Israel and the 10 lost tribes.
Following the Assyrians the Chaldeans took
over. Their leader was the cruel Nebuchadnezzar. He built the hanging gardens
to please his wife. The hanging gardens are one of the wonders of the world.
Nebuchadnezzar captured the Jews and put them into slavery. He also put
walls around Babylons and built the gate of Ishtar. The Chaldeans were
known as the New Babylonians. They basically revived Babylon.
The Empire who took over the Chaldeans
was the Persians. Their leader was Cyrus the great and he brought peace
to the Middle East. He freed or "Liberated" the Jews. He also setup Imperial
Government. His government had Satrapys, which were different provinces
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Civilizations, Babylonia, Western Asia, Ancient Near East, Hammurabi, Member states of the United Nations, Babylon, Chaldea, Amorites, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria
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