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The top portion, shown here, depicts Hammurabi with Shamash, the sun god. Shamash is presenting to Hammurabi a staff and ring, which symbolize the power to administer the law. Hammurabi, with the help of his impressive Babylonian army, conquered his rivals and established a unified Mesopotamia. He proved to be as great an administrator as he was a general.

The code of Hammurabi contained 282 laws, written by scribes on 12 tablets. Unlike earlier laws, it was written in Akkadian, the daily language of Babylon, and could therefore be read by any literate person in the city.

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