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Profile of Hammurabi
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Hi I’m Jade with About.com.  Today we are going to profile the Babylonian King Hammurabi.Rising to power after his father, Hammurabi was not only known as ‘the strong warrior, the destroyer of his foes, the hurricane of battle’, but also as a wise man whose actions promoted the betterment of society.  It was the latter of these that give his most lasting impression, with the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi inherited the throne as the sixth king of the first Babylonian Dynasty in 1792 BC, when Babylon was under vassalage to Elam.  At first his reign was peaceful with his most significant changes being construction within his kingdom.  However, when Elam tried to attack Babylon and impose rule, Hammurabi began a military campaign that created the Babylonian Empire and unified the entirety of Mesopotamia.  Within his new empire, each year of his rule saw the rise of a notable piece of construction; from cities to churches to canals.Hammurabi’s most lasting creation is the Code of Hammurabi, one of the first written codes of law.  Discovered between December 1901 and January 1902, this code was chiseled on five stele obelisks, each standing nearly seven and a half feet tall.  At the time of his rule, these pillars were written in the common language of the people and placed for all to see.The code set forth roughly 285 judgments and laws, covering civil issues (such as theft, kidnapping, and the banning of witchcraft) business contracts (laws regarding the policing of wine shops, renting property, and feudal relationships) and even civil rights for women, children, and slaves.  While punishments were severe, many following the idea of an eye for an eye, this was also one of the first appearances of the presumption of innocence in law.Following Hammurabi’s death, his empire was eventually conquered, with the invaders adopting portions of the Code of Hammurabi into their own culture.  Today the uncovered stone pillars are located at the Louvre.Thanks for watching.  For more information, please see About.com
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