What Is Hammurabi Famous For?

Hammurabi, who reigned as king of Babylon from 1792 to 1750 B.C., is famous for having created one of the first written legal codes. After greatly expanding his native kingdom's territory, he produced a systematic series of laws for his new territory.

The Code of Hammurabi consists of 282 specific laws detailing offenses against the law and the punishments appropriate to each offense. Hammurabi had these laws inscribed on a stone stele and placed them in a public area that was visible to all of his subjects. The laws also specified the type of justice appropriate to the different classes of people in ancient Babylon. For example, the punishment for harming a member of the propertied class was much harsher than the punishment for hurting a slave.