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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hammurabi's Code

As you probably know from my other essay on Mesopotamia, Mesopotamia was not a peaceful place to live. Leaders fought other city-states to try to gain power. Sometimes one leader did not hold power for very long, before another leader took over. Other times leader held power for longer like the one I'm going to talk about today. About 500 years after Sargon, another leader took control of Southern Mesopotamia. His name was Hammurabi. Hammurabi was a very important leader, just like Sargon. In time, he started to conquer other cities around Southern Mesopotamia.

Hammurabi was a very religious man, and he didn't want people to listen to his laws just because they were forced to. He wanted them to follow his laws, because they were fair. He didn't want just some people to follow his rules, he wanted the whole empire to follow them. So Hammurabi wrote down the laws he thought were fair on a piece of stone [called a stela] showing the god Shamash handing him the laws. Hammurbi was very important, because he came up with the first written laws.

He encouraged his followers to leave offerings for the gods and to learn about them. They believed that they could find out what the gods were doing by watching the planets and stars, so they spent lots of time studying the sky. They knew all of the constellations and even knew the difference between stars and planets. They knew that the Earth moved around the sun. When it went around the sun once, they knew it had been a year. They also were the first people to divide the year into 12 months and to divide the day into 24 hours.

If you haven't read my essay on Sargon and want to know more about him, scroll down.

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