Hammurabi was the first king of the Babylonian Empire, but is best remembered for his 1760BC creation of the first known written set of laws in history. This codex was written on a basalt stele standing nearly 2 meters tall, top by a relief depicting Hammurabi raising his hand to his mouth in respect to the Babylonian God, who is likely to have been Marduk.
The stele is originally thought to have been prominently displayed for all to see and remember the laws of the land. Whether many people could actually read the cuneiform inscriptions is doubtful, but the laws are very clear, and offer no room for explanation or justification.
The Hammurabi stele was unearthed in 1901, not in Babylon, but in Susa, thus the Elamites took the stone as part of the spoils of war from Babylon to their own capital around 1250BC.
While the Iran National Museum proudly states that each object has been unearthed in Iran and directly taken to the museum, this is a copy of the original in the Louvre. A copy of a similar fundamental document to human society, Cyrus' Charter of Freedom is also on display here a few passes away.
* 8 Jan '08 - 200 views, 17 Aug - 500