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Law Code of Hammurabi Khan Academy

What is interesting about the depiction of Hammurabi on the stele of the legal code is that he receives the laws of the god Shamash who is sitting, with lightning coming from his shoulders. The focus here is on Hammurabi`s role as a pious theocrat, and on the fact that the laws themselves come from God. Hammurabi of the city-state of Babylon conquered much of northern and western Mesopotamia and was the most ambitious ruler in Mesopotamian history in 1776 BCE, describing himself as “the king who made four-quarters of the earth obedient.” The documents show that Hammurabi was a classical micromanager who looked after all aspects of his reign, and this is evident in his famous Code of Law, which is preserved in partial copies on this Louvre stele and on clay tablets. We can also consider this as a monument depicting Hammurabi as an exemplary king of justice. Code of Law Stele of King Hammurabi, basalt, Babylonian, 1792-50 BC (Musée du Louvre, Paris) Read a chapter from our textbook, Reframing Art History, on how we approach ancient Near Eastern art. Law is at the heart of modern civilization and is often based on principles listed here nearly 4,000 years ago. Read an English translation of the Hammurabi Codex in Yale`s “The Avalon Project.” .

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