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HAMMURABI

Minggu, 18 Mei 2014 | 0 komentar

One of the earliest and most complete ancient legal codes was proclaimed by the Babylonian king Hammurabi, who reigned from 1792 to 1750 B.C. Hammurabi expanded the city-state of Babylon along the Euphrates River to unite all of southern Mesopotamia. His code, a collection of 282 laws and standards, stipulated rules for commercial interactions and set fines and punishments to meet the requirements of justice. Hammurabi’s Code was proclaimed at the end of his reign and carved onto a massive, finger-shaped black stone stela (pillar) that was looted by later invaders and rediscovered in 1901 by a French archaeological team in present-day Iran.
HAMMURABI’S KINGDOM
Hammurabi was the sixth king in the Babylonian dynasty, which ruled in central Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) from c.1894 to 1595 B.C. His family was descended from the Amorites, a semi-nomadic tribe in western Syria, and his name reflects a mix of cultures: Hammu, which means “family” in Amorite, combined with rapi, meaning “great” in Akkadian, the everyday language of Babylon. In the 30th year of his reign Hammurabi began to expand his kingdom up and down the Euphrates, overthrowing Larsa, Eshunna, Assyria and Mari until all of Mesopotamia under his sway.Did You Know?
Hammurabi’s Code includes many harsh punishments, sometimes demanding the removal of the guilty party’s tongue, hands, breasts, eye or ear. But the code is also one of the earliest examples of the idea of the accused being considered innocent until proven guilty.
Hammurabi combined his military and political advances with irrigation projects and the construction of fortifications and temples celebrating Babylon’s patron deity Marduk. The Babylon of Hammurabi’s era is now below the water table, and whatever archives he kept are long dissolved, but clay tablets discovered at other ancient sites reveal glimpses of the king’s personality and statecraft. One letter records his complaint of being forced to provide dinner attire for ambassadors from Mari just because he’d done the same for some other delegates: “Do you imagine you can control my palace in the matter of formal wear?”
HAMMURABI’S CODE
The black stone stela containing Hammurabi’s Code was carved from a single, four-ton slab of diorite, a durable but incredibly difficult stone for carving. At its top is a two-and-a-half-foot relief carving of a standing Hammurabi receiving the law—symbolized by a measuring rod and tape—from the seated Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. The rest of the seven-foot-five-inch monument is covered with columns of chiseled cuneiform script. The text, compiled at the end of Hammurabi’s reign, is less a proclamation of legal principles than a collection of precedents set between prose celebrations of Hammurabi’s just and pious rule. The 282 edicts are all written in if-then form. For example, if a man steals an ox, he must pay back 30 times its value. The edicts range from family law to professional contracts and administrative law, often outlining different standards of justice for the three classes of Babylonian society—the propertied class, freedmen, and slaves. A doctor’s fee for curing a severe wound would be 10 silver shekels for a gentleman, 5 shekels for a freedman and two shekels for a slave. Penalties for malpractice followed the same scheme: a doctor who killed a rich patient would have his hands cut off, while only financial restitution was required if the victim was a slave. Hammurabi’s Code provides some of the earliest examples of the doctrine of “An eye for an eye.”
REDISCOVERY OF HAMMURABI’S CODE
In 1901 Jacques de Morgan, a French mining engineer, led an archaeological expedition to Persia to excavate the Elamite capital of Susa, more than 250 miles from the center of Hammurabi’s kingdom. There they uncovered the stela—broken into three pieces—that had been brought to Susa as spoils of war, likely by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte in the mid-12th century B.C. The stela was packed up and shipped to the Louvre in Paris, and within a year it had been translated and widely publicized as the earliest example of a written legal code—one that predated but bore striking parallels to the laws outlined in the Hebrew Old Testament. The 1935 U.S. Supreme Court building features Hammurabi on the marble bas relief of historic lawgivers that lines the south wall of the courtroom.
Although other subsequently-discovered Mesopotamian laws, including the Sumerian “Lipit-Ishtar” and “Ur-Nammu,” predate Hammurabi’s by hundreds of years, Hammurabi’s reputation remains as a pioneering lawgiver who worked—in the words of his monument—”to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak and to see that justice is done to widows and orphans.”
Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; died c. 1750 BCE middle chronology) was the sixth king of Babylon of the First Babylonian Dynasty from 1792 BCE to 1750 BCE middle chronology (1728 BCE – 1686 BCE short chronology). He became the first king of the Babylonian Empirefollowing the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire.
He is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's Code, one of the first written codes of law in recorded history. These laws were inscribed on stone tablets (stelae) standing over eight feet tall (2.4 meters), of unknown provenance, found in Persia in 1901 CE. Owing to his reputation in modern times as an ancient law-giver, Hammurabi's portrait is in many government buildings throughout the world.
History
Hammurabi was a First Dynasty king of the city-state of Babylon, and inherited the power from his father, Sin-Muballit, in c. 1792 BCE. Babylon was one of the many ancient city-states that dotted the Mesopotamian plain and waged war on each other for control of fertile agricultural land. Though many cultures co-existed in Mesopotamia, Babylonian culture gained a degree of prominence among the literate classes throughout the Middle East. The kings who came before Hammurabi had begun to consolidate rule of central Mesopotamia under Babylonian hegemony and, by the time of his reign, had conquered the city-states of Borsippa, Kish, and Sippar. Thus Hammurabi ascended to the throne as the king of a minor kingdom in the midst of a complex geopolitical situation. The powerful kingdom of Eshnunna controlled the upper Tigris River while Larsa controlled the river delta. To the east lay the kingdom of Elam. To the north, Shamshi-Adad I was undertaking expansionistic wars, although his untimely death would fragment his newly conquered Semitic empire.
The first few decades of Hammurabi's reign were quite peaceful. Hammurabi used his power to undertake a series of public works, including heightening the city walls for defensive purposes, and expanding thetemples. In c. 1701 BCE, the powerful kingdom of Elam, which straddled important trade routes across the Zagros Mountains, invaded the Mesopotamian plain. With allies among the plain states, Elam attacked and destroyed the empire of Eshnunna, destroying a number of cities and imposing its rule on portions of the plain for the first time. In order to consolidate its position, Elam tried to start a war between Hammurabi's Babylonian kingdom and the kingdom of Larsa.  Hammurabi and the king of Larsa made an alliance when they discovered this duplicity and were able to crush the Elamites, although Larsa did not contribute greatly to the military effort. Angered by Larsa's failure to come to his aid, Hammurabi turned on that southern power, thus gaining control of the entirety of the lower Mesopotamian plain by c. 1763 BCE.
As Hammurabi was assisted during the war in the south by his allies from the north, the absence of soldiers in the north led to unrest. Continuing his expansion, Hammurabi turned his attention northward, quelling the unrest and soon after crushing Eshnunna. Next the Babylonian armies conquered the remaining northern states, including Babylon's former ally Mari, although it is possible that the 'conquest' of Mari was a surrender without any actual conflict. In just a few years, Hammurabi had succeeded in uniting all of Mesopotamia under his rule. Of the major city-states in the region, only Aleppo and Qatna to the west inSyria maintained their independence. However, one stele of Hammurabi has been found as far north as Diyarbekir, where he claims the title "King of the Amorites". Vast numbers of contract tablets, dated to the reigns of Hammurabi and his successors, have been discovered, as well as 55 of his own letters. These letters give a glimpse into the daily trials of ruling an empire, from dealing with floods and mandating changes to a flawed calendar, to taking care of Babylon's massive herds of livestock. Hammurabi died and passed the reins of the empire on to his son Samsu-iluna in c. 1750 BCE.


http://www.ancient.eu.com/hammurabi/
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