Since the moment he ascended to the throne, the Hammurabi shows that he had both the political and the military capabilities to cope with the needs of the political age. He was an extremely important personality and during the years of his Kingdom, he created a huge Empire model. Although he has been known in history for the famous Hammurabis code, this was only one of the points of the multi-faceted personality of the Hammurabi.
The famous historian Will Durant writes
“Babylonian history dominates the strong personality of Hammurabi, conqueror and legislator during his 43-year reign. Primed stamps and inscriptions portray him as impetuous and genius, stormy in the battle, who suppressed all the revolutions, crushed his opponents, marched on rough mountains and never lost battle. During his reign, the unsuspecting Lower Valley cities were forced into surrender, disciplining a historical code of laws. “
The first years of his Kingdom
In his initial steps, in the rule of his country, the Hammurabi did not show expansionary tendencies. He placed great emphasis on the modernization of public administration in the creation of major construction works, and in 1772 BC, he established the famous code of laws that characterized his kingdom. At the same time, he was particularly concerned with raising the living standard, by upgrading the city’s infrastructure, while creating a multi-purpose and luxurious temple. At the same time, he did not neglect to deal with the army, which he modernized. He prepared it to be ready for the campaign he had in mind, in the southern region of Mesopotamia
The conquest of Mesopotamia
Historian Bertman presented Hammurabi as follows:
“Hammurabi was a competent manager, skillful diplomat and clever imperialist, committed to achieving his goals. By taking up the throne, he issued a declaration granting debts, and in the first five years of his reig,n he further strengthened his popularity by refurbishing the temples, especially that of Marduk, the patron saint of Babylon. Then, with the power assured and his military forces ready for the war, he launched a five-year campaign against the rival states in the south and east, expanding his territories. “
The first opponent faced by the Hammurabi was the Elamites, an ancient people who sought to conquer Mesopotamia. The Hammurabi allied with Larsa to prevail, and after that he broke up the alliance and captured cities and areas that were formerly Larsa’s sovereignty.
After that, the king of Babylon has virtually no adversary. He captured Mesopotamia and all the areas around it, using an extremely efficient method. In every city that wants to conquer, he stopped the water supply and besieged it until the inhabitants and the army that defended it were forced to be given. With this method, he managed to conquer many cities and at the same time to have minimal losses at the military level. With this tactic, he managed in a few years to create a vast empire.
The Hammurabis Code and the concern for the People
Hammurabi was a special personality. As in every new region, in every new city that conquered, he had a basic aim to create new Infrastructures as well as the social and economic care of the peoples. Moreover, in historical sources, it is clearly recorded that Hammurabi did what was possible to improve the daily lives of people. At the same time, he gave great importance to the issue of Justice, while he wanted his name to be linked to important works and achievements.
Indicative is the preface to the famous code of his law
“When the ruler of Anu, King Annunaki and Bel, Lord Uranus and Earth, who determines the fate of the earth, who delivered the rules of all mankind to Marduk, when they pronounce the noble name of Babylon, when they made it famous in over the earth and established an eternal kingdom, whose foundations were firmly like the earth and the sky – at that time Anu and Bel called Hammurabi, the Royal Prince, the lover of the gods, to bring the righteousness to the earth, to destroy the evil, to enlighten the land and to promote the welfare of the people. “I am Hammurabi, the ruler appointed by Bel and who brought wealth and abundance. “(Will Durant).
It should be noted that the Hammurabi code had significant variations from previous laws known to mankind. Historian Kriwaczek explains:
“The Hammurabi Laws reflect the peculiarities of an unprecedented social environment – multinational – multiracial in the Babylonian world. In the old Sumerian-Akkadian states, all communities felt as members of the same family, equal in the eyes of the gods. Any disputes were resolved by resorting to the collectively accepted system of values, where the administration of justice prevailed against revenge. Now, though, the townspeople were co-locating with nomads, who were governed by a completely different way of life, where several Semitic languages of Amurru were spoken, along with others, the confrontation easily turned into conflict. The feuds and the auto-judgments threatened the cohesion of the empire. “
The Hammurabi, with its presence, but especially with the code of justice, it has implemented, he created a model, on which future legislative initiatives were based. Within the Code, there was a prediction, the so-called trial, according to which the accused was forced to undergo a test and if he survived, then he was considered innocent. Indicative is the example of adultery: “If a man’s wife is accused of adultery, even without being arrested on the ground, then for the sake of her husband, she must be cast into the divine river. If he succeeds in surviving the trial, he is considered innocent, but this ones, who denounced it is guilty of a false denunciation and is punished by death. “
The death and heritage of Hammurabi
The demise had created a vast empire, at the same time, it was the absolute Sovereign of Mesopotamia and the undisputed political and military leader of the period. However, around 1750 BC the Hammurabi was already quite old and his mother-in-law ill. Gradually, he had transferred power to his son, Samsu-Iluna, who had assumed royal responsibilities since 1749. However, he did not have the skills of his father. The rumors of a serious illness of Hammurabi and his imminent death have opened Aeolus’ pouches. The tribes that he had conquered in his many years of reign, revolted and regained their lost lands. His son was unable to reverse the decline of his father’s empire, which had already died in 1750.
Within a few years, the empire of Hammurabi, did not exist anymore. However, his reforms, his political and social vision, especially in the Field of Justice, remained of the passage from the story of a Great Reformer.