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Book: First Civilizations

Chapter: 5 Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC: the Babylonians and the Kassites (2000–1600 BC)

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.18658


This chapter covers the period 2000-1600 BC during which time the kingdoms of the Tigris-Euphrates region were overtaken by outsiders, namely, the Amorites. It examines how these groups migrated into the lands of Mesopotamia from the west and how they eventually established themselves after several centuries of warfare, adopting many of the customs and technologies of the peoples they had conquered. Topics discussed:

- Hammurabi and the First Babylonian Dynasty

- Mari - a kingdom on the middle Euphrates

- Shamshi-Adad, king of Mari

- social classes, class distinctions and laws before and after Hammurabi

- the Laws of Hammurabi

- the Stele of Hammurabi

- 'lex talionis'

- accusation of murder and witchcraft

- enforcing the law

- agriculture

- trade and commerce

- taverns and brothels

- family laws

- wages and price controls

- the end of the First Babylonian Dynasty

- the Hittites

- the Hittite Old Kingdom

- the Hittite empire

- the Kassites

Chapter Contributors

  • Robert Chadwick ( - book-auth-70) 'Bishop's University'