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 of procedures.
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 to Egypt.
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 throughout the empire. He also had road systems to make traveling easier. Under Cyrus the Great Persia became the richest empire. It was the greatest empire in ancient times. Zoroastrianism played a big role in the success of the Persian Empire. It taught them how to lead other people and how to have patience.
The prophet Zoroaster introduced Zoroastrianism to Persia. Zoroaster lived in about 600 BC and rejected the Old Persian Gods. He though there was only one wise god named Ahura Mazda and that Ahura Mazda ruled the world. He also believed that Ahura Mazda was in a constant fight with Ahriman who was the prince of evil and lies. He preached that each individual had to choose which side to support and that on a final judgment day Ahura Mazda would come down and judge everybody s actions. Those who had done well would go to paradise and those that hadn t would be doomed to eternal suffering. Zoroaster s teachings were very peaceful and were collected in a book called the Zend-Avesta. There were 3 golden rules in this book. The first was turning an enemy into a friend. This involved piety, which stands for honesty. The second was turning a wicked person into a righteous person. The last was turning an ignorant person into a learned person. Abiding by these rules helped the Persians peacefully rule over other people.
All the time that different empires and civilizations were taking over the Mesopotamia region they were spreading their ideas, customs, and religion. Though there were many cases of this there are just two I would like to mention. The first one is how the Hittites spread the art of extracting iron from iron ore. After the Hittites had been taken over their people started to go to different locations in the Middle East and opened up shops. This way the idea of mining iron spread to all over the Middle East. The other instance is the Code of Hammurabi. This code taught discipline and gave laws instead of just allowing chaos. This idea spread to all of the other civilizations after Hammurabi and therefore they had a basis on which to base their own laws and rules.
In my opinion studying Babylon is very good for us today. I mean studying history is always good because you learn from your past so you don t make the same mistakes. The US is very divers as was the Amorites. But we do not want to end up like the Amorites and get taken over by another civilization. Instead we learn to cope with our diversities by seeing what the Amorites did wrong. Also the Code of Hammurabi is good to study. It can give us an idea of how important rules and regulations are and we can see why we need them. Some person with no knowledge could walk up and say rules are stupid but an intelligent person would sit down think about history and realize how chaotic things can get without rules. History is very important for us today.