Mesopotamia / Kings /
Babylonia / Kings /
Other spelling: Hammurapi
Estimates on the emergence of the state of Babylonia corresponds with the rise of Hammurabi, even if he was actually the 6th king in his dynasty.
Other time reconstructions make his governance 1728-1686 BCE.
Hammurabi is principally known for his codification of Babylonian laws, which was probably not his own creation, but a continuation of older legal systems.
Although Hammurabi experienced many military victories during the last period of his reign, he was not a great state builder principally due to the existence of relatively few models for states and their structure. He did not develop a functional bureaucracy and chose to follow a totalitarian approach to governance. Hence, Hammurabi was active in building and restoring temples, city walls and public buildings, building canals for irrigation and fighting wars. But at the very same time, he was forced to rely upon the aid of his supporters to survive as ruler.
The strategic concern of Hammurabi throughout his reign was to assure Babylonia's control over the Euphrates the life source of the country.
For the first 25 or so years of his reign, Hammurabi's Babylonia was the victim of much pressure from neighbouring countries and cities. The main contenders were Larsa, Mari, Ashur and Eshnunna, countries that at some periods would also ally with him.
Hammurabi was of the Amoritic people, and is probably the most recognized ruler in the history of early civilizations in Mesopotamia but it would be wrong to call him the most important. The only real importance he had was, during an extended period, to strengthen northern Mesopotamia at the expense of the southern regions an act that would have impact on the region for a period of about 1,000 years.
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