AP®︎/College Art History
- Introduction to the Ancient Near East
- White Temple and ziggurat, Uruk
- Standing Male Worshipper from Tell Asmar
- The Standard of Ur
- Standard of Ur and other objects from the Royal Graves
- The Law Code Stele of King Hammurabi
- Hammurabi: The king who made the four quarters of the earth obedient
- Lamassu from the citadel of Sargon II
- Persian art, an introduction
- Persepolis: The Audience Hall of Darius and Xerxes
- Capital of a column from the audience hall of the palace of Darius I, Susa
By Dr. Senta German
Hammurabi of the city state of Babylon conquered much of northern and western Mesopotamia and by 1776 B.C.E., he is the most far-reaching leader of Mesopotamian history, describing himself as “the king who made the four quarters of the earth obedient.” Documents show Hammurabi was a classic micro-manager, concerned with all aspects of his rule, and this is seen in his famous legal code, which survives in partial copies on this in the Louvre and on clay tablets. We can also view this as a monument presenting Hammurabi as an exemplary king of justice.
What is interesting about the representation of Hammurabi on the legal code stele is that he is seen as receiving the laws from the god , who is seated, complete with thunderbolts coming from his shoulders. The emphasis here is Hammurabi’s role as pious , and that the laws themselves come from the god.
Learn more about record keeping with clay tablets.
Read a chapter in our textbook, Reframing Art History, about rethinking how we approach the art of the Ancient Near East.
Essay by Dr. Senta German
Want to join the conversation?
- Why was he the most-far reaching king? What are his particular achievements?(3 votes)
- The Code of Law as outlined by Hammurabi affect us today having predated the Commandments - therefore being incorporated into our Justice system.
Diana Kayser(7 votes)
- are babylonia and mesopotamia the same in some ways?(2 votes)
- wouldn't have a discretion on the law and as well as the god mentioned in paragraph 2 be more helpful?(2 votes)
- What was Hammurabi artistic achievements(2 votes)
- In a sense he made a new form of art on a stele, with inscriptions in it. He also incorporated the gods in with the artwork, creating religious art. But art depends on the viewers point of view, so the viewer can determine if he made major artistic achievements.(1 vote)
- What other gods are included in the Babylonian pantheon?(1 vote)
- There are quite a few - you have Marduk, the patron god of Babylon; Enlil, god of weather and storms; Enurta, the god of war and Ea, god of wisdom to name a few.
I found this site quite useful:
- How do you pronounce the word Hammurabi's(1 vote)