Hammurabi (also transliterated Hammu-rapi or Khammurabi) was the sixth king of Babylon. Achieving the conquest of Sumer and Akkad, ending the last Sumerian dynasty of Isin, he was the first king of the Babylonian Empire.
Hammurabi reigned over Babylon and the Babylonian Empire from 1728 BC until his death in 1686 BC (short chronology). Hammurabi expanded the rule of Babylon by first conquering cities towards the south before his conquest expanded to cover most parts of Mesopotamia.
He is perhaps best known for promulgating his code of laws, known as the Code of Hammurabi. While the penalties of his laws may seem cruel to modern readers, the fact that he not only put into writing the laws of his kingdoms, but attempted to make them a systematic whole, is considered an important step forward in the evolution of civilization. The "innocent until proven guilty" idea was his.
Hammurabi did other things in order to make Babylon a better place, such as helping to improve the irrigation process.
Following Hammurabi's death, the Babylonian Empire collapsed due to military pressure from the Hittites, led by their king Mursilis I. However it was the Kassites, led by their king Agumkakrine , who eventually ruled Babylon. Although there were many rebellious cities, the Kassites ruled for 400 years, and respected the Code of Hammurabi.
Some religious scholars relate Hammurabi to Nimrod, who had similar military exploits. In addition, the name Hammurabi or Khammurabi could be interpreted as 'Ham the great'. According to biblical legend, Nimrod was the grandson of Ham son of Noah.
Last updated: 09-02-2005 16:52:30