Hammurabi, the greatest ruler of ancient Babylonia, known especially for his code of laws. He probably ruled about 1792–1750 B.C., and was the sixth king in a dynasty founded by the Amorites, a Semitic people. He was long identified with the Amraphel of Genesis 14:1, but this view is now questioned. Hammurabi conquered the whole region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and made his power felt as far as the Mediterranean. He built Babylon into a magnificent capital, constructed canals, and improved river navigation. He encouraged the study of astronomy, mathematics, and literature.
A fairly complete copy of the Code of Hammurabi, carved on a black stone, was found in 1901 at Susa, in what is now Iran. There are many similarities between this code and the later Mosaic Law. The 285 laws of Hammurabi were arranged under the headings of personal property, real estate, trade and business, family, injuries, and labor. The code protected the weak and had many enlightened laws, but it also provided for retaliation and for barbarous punishments. The following is probably the best-known law:
If a freeman destroys the eye of another freeman, his eye shall be destroyed. If anyone breaks a freeman's bone his bone shall be broken. If a freeman knocks out the tooth of a freeman of his own rank, his own tooth shall be knocked out.