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14.2.3 The Empire of Hammurabi

As the people of the Sumerian Akkadian empire lost their political and military vigour, fresh inundations of a warlike people began from the east, the Elamites,[1] while from the west came the Semitic Amorites, pinching the Sumerian Akkadian empire between them. The Amorites settled in what was at first a small up-river town, named Babylon; and after a hundred years of warfare became masters of all Mesopotamia under a great king, Hammurabi (2,100 B.C. [Ed. Note]), who founded the first Babylonian empire.

Again came peace and security and a decline in aggressive prowess, and in another hundred years fresh nomads from the east were invading Babylonia, bringing with them the horse and the war chariot, and setting up their own king in Babylon.

[1]Of unknown language and race, “neither Sumerian nor Semites,” says Sayce. Their central city was Susa. Their archeology is still largely an unworked mine. They are believed by some, says Sir. H. H. Johnston, to have been negroid in type. There is a strong negroid strain in the modern people of Elam.

Editor’s Note

The exact dates of the Sumerian/Babylonian chronology are still a matter of scientific debate. Current thinking places Hammurabi’s rule at 1,728 BC (timeline). See Chronology of the Ancient Near East for further explanation.

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