RECORDS of the PAST
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THE LAWS OF HAMMURABI, KING OF BABYLONIA
THE ruins of Susa now being excavated by the distinguished explorer M. de Morgan have already yielded important results. He was led to undertake the excavation of ancient Susa from inscriptions found in the ruins of Babylon, from which he learned that many of the most important monuments of the Babylonian kings had been carried, as trophies of war by the Elamite kings, to their capital, Susa. When he left Egypt in 1888 it was for the purpose of recovering from the ruins of Susa these monuments. He had not been long at work in Susa before he found the stele of Narâm-Sin c. 3,800 B.C., which showed a high state of art in the Tigro-Euphrates valley nearly 6,000 years ago. This discovery was rapidly followed by others. The most important of which is the stele of Hammurabi, upon which was engraved his code of laws, c. 2,250 B.C.
Two translations of this code have been made, one into French by Scheil, the assyriologist of the French Expedition to Persia, of which M. de Morgan is the director, and the other into German by Dr. Hugo Winckler. The following translation is from the latter by Dr. H. Otto Sommer and construed into legal phraseology by William Earl Ambrose, Esq.
This code is the oldest collection of public laws that has yet been discovered. It is a reflection of the social conditions existing in Babylonia 4,000 years ago. The jurist of to-day will recognize in it most of the fundamental principles on which our social legislation is based.