Old Babylonian Period

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by Trustees of the British Museum
published on 03 August 2011

The Old Babylonian Period describes south Mesopotamia in the period about 2000-1600 BC. The early years saw a number of important states dominating the region: Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna and, from 1894 BC, Babylon. Babylon was ruled by a dynasty of Amorite kings. The sixth ruler was Hammurapi. who defeated the other southern states and expanded his control into north Mesopotamia. On the death of Hammurapi the empire gradually shrank over about 150 years. Nonetheless, Babylon remained an important power until it was sacked by the Hittite king, Mursili I, in about 1595 BC.

During the Old Babylonian period literary activity flourished with scribes composing and recording religious, poetic and 'scientific' works in Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform. Perhaps the most famous monument is the stele of Hammurapi, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

© Trustees of the British Museum. Republished under the British Museum Standard Terms of Use for non-profit educational purposes. Original article by Trustees of the British Museum. Written by , published on under the following license: Copyright. You cannot use, copy, distribute, or modify this item without explicit permission from the author.

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