The Babylonians took over next.  They came into power around the year 2000 BC.  They built their capital, Babylon, on the banks of the Euphrates River.  King Hammurabi was one of their very famous leaders.  King Hammurabi is known for being the first to write down a set of laws for all people to see.  The 282 laws of Hammurabi's Code were etched into stone and placed all over the empire.  Why did Hammurabi think it was important to put his laws where they were visible to everyone?

Hammurabi's Code concerned all aspects of life:  marriage, death, buying property, taxes, etc.  Some of the more famous ones are:  "If a man puts out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be put out" and "If anyone commits a robbery and is caught, he shall be put to death."  Some of Hammurabi's laws were equal across status lines (meaning the rich had to follow the same rules as the poor), but many were not.  Here is one example:  "If anyone strikes the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox whip in public."  The rich people rarely had the same punishments as the poor people and slaves.  

Here is a short video about Hammurabi's Code and why it is one of the most important developments in history.  Please be kind to your neighbors while watching this video.  Listen at an appropriate level.  If your neighbors are watching the video, please wait until they are done to start your video.

Click here to find out about civilizations that came after Babylon.