An Introduction to the Ancient Middle East

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Part 2: Hammurabi and the Hittites

Sargon kept control of Sumeria and much of the rest of Mesopotamia for several years, then was overthrown. The whole area for hundreds of years saw fighting back and forth between many different peoples.

About 2000 B.C., the city of Babylon was founded, on the Euphrates River. Many conquerors had Babylon as their capital. Among these was Hammurabi, the Amorite leader who is best known for his famous laws, the Code of Hammurabi.

These laws made it so that everyone knew the laws and the punishments for breaking those laws. The Code also allowed women to own property and set tax rates and price levels. Hammurabi ruled for 42 years, from 1792 to 1750 B.C.

Far to the north lived the Hittites, powerful warriors whose capital city was Hattusa. This large city was 3,000 feet above sea level and was protected by a ring of mountains and a stone wall thought to have been 26 feet thick.

The Hittites were the first people to use a treaty to settle a dispute. Hittite King Hattusili III signed a treaty with Egyptian King Ramses II in 1284 B.C. In this historic treaty, both civilizations agreed not to attack each other and to protect each other if attacked by another civilization.

Next page > Phoenicians and Hebrews > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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