Code of Hammurabi (Long Version)

(1752 BCE)


The primary audience for the Code of Hammurabi would have been the gods and the local elite people of the city in which the stela bearing the code was erected. Although historians do not know for certain the original location of the law code stela, it was intended for display and would have been erected in a prominent place; the most likely such place was in front of the Ebabbar Temple of Shamash in Sippar. Thus, the primary audience would have been the priests and elites of the city of Sippar (all of whom had full access to the temple and could read the text written on the stela) as well as the Babylonian gods (who were thought of as omnipresent in their temples). For this audience, the stela would have functioned to display Hammurabi's judicial wisdom, confirm his close personal relationship with the local patron god, and demonstrate that he was a pious and faithful king.

Nonelite people would have also been a major audience for the Code of Hammurabi. The text...

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Hammurabi (Library of Congress)

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