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p. 162. Babylonian society through the perspective of Hammurabi’s Lawslocked

  • Trevor Bryce


An imposing stone stele (pillar) discovered during excavations of the ancient city of Susa in ad 1901–2 depicts Shamash, god of justice, and the Babylonian king, Hammurabi. It is also inscribed with a series of laws that largely define Hammurabi’s role as the shepherd of his people, and the protector of the weak and vulnerable among his subjects. ‘Babylonian society through the perspective of Hammurabi’s Laws’ outlines the nature and content of these laws and describes the information they provide about social hierarchy in Babylonia. In practice, Hammurabi’s Laws were not prescriptive rulings, but a set of guidelines—embodying important principles of justice—for the good governance of society.

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