Hammurabi

Hammurabi

by Evelyn B. Kelly
     
 
Almost 4,000 years ago, a young king named Hammurabi inherited the small and relatively unimportant city of Babylon in that region of Mesopotamia that is today Iraq. Hammurabi expanded Babylon in size and influence, making the city the most important in the region by the time of his death. It would remain important for more than 1,000 years. Although Hammurabi was a

Overview

Almost 4,000 years ago, a young king named Hammurabi inherited the small and relatively unimportant city of Babylon in that region of Mesopotamia that is today Iraq. Hammurabi expanded Babylon in size and influence, making the city the most important in the region by the time of his death. It would remain important for more than 1,000 years. Although Hammurabi was a politician, a diplomat, and a warrior, he is remembered mostly for his code of law, inscribed on a tall monument of stone. These hundreds of legal rulings influenced the future laws of the region and also those of the Western world. Hammurabi explores the life and times of a ruler known as "The King of Justice" through the king's own words and through the words of legal and historical documents and literature of his time.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sylvia Whitman
Part of the "Ancient World Leaders" series, this excellent biography of Hammurabi explores what is known and what can be surmised about the Babylonian king as well as the limits of our knowledge. The first chapter, "Hammurabi, King of Justice?," begins with the excavation of the black stelae carved with his famous code of law, but as the question mark in the title suggests, Levin debunks some of the Hammurabi hype, pointing out that he belonged to a tradition of Mesopotamian monarchs concerned with justice and their responsibilities as "shepherd kings." About a third of the book is back-story, chapters about "Mesopotamia: �The Cradle of Civilization'" and "The Land of Sumer and Akad." Drawing heavily on Marc Van De Mieroop's 2005 and 2007 scholarly works about Hammurabi and the ancient Near East, Levin then shows Hammurabi taking advantage of shifts in the regional balance of power to expand the small kingdom he inherited. A full chapter discusses "The Laws of Hammurabi," noting that the stelae record a list of decisions rather than an abstract code. Marketed for grades 6 to 12, Hammurabi presents sophisticated ideas in a conversational tone. Through a backward timeline and telling facts ("the chair had been invented � but not pants"), Levin takes pains to contextualize the ancient world. Although advanced high school students may find the language "beneath" them, the nuanced discussion will serve ancient history classes at all levels. (Schlesinger's series foreword about what makes a great leader, on the other hand, seems aimed at adult history buffs.) Color photographs with thorough captions enhance this accessible text, which concludes with a chronology, short bibliography,minimal list of further reading, and index. Reviewer: Sylvia Whitman

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791096031
Publisher:
Chelsea House Publishers
Publication date:
11/01/2008
Series:
Ancient World Leaders Series
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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