The Babylonian king Hammurabi, as shown standing next to Mesopotamian deity Shamash on the Law Code of Hammurabi. This scene portrays the king receiving his investiture.
Following the collapse of the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2000 BC, Mesopotamia was split into a number of small city states. Of these was Babylon, which rose to importance for the first time under Amorite ruler Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC).
For the first twenty-eight years of his reign, Hammurabi governed his small kingdom and built up alliances. From 1764 he defeated the king of Elam in south-western Iran, and during the next two years conquered the most powerful states to the south and west. Finally, in 1761, he turned his attention to Upper Mesopotamia and his former ally Mari.
During the last ten years of his reign Hammurabi concentrated on the administration of his huge empire. After his death in 1750 BC his empire fragmented, and in 1595 BC Babylon was captured by the Hittites from central Turkey.
One particularly notable archaeological find dating from his reign is the Law Code of Hammurabi (see the full artifact here). This stele was erected by Hammurabi during the 18th century BC, dates back earlier than even the Biblical laws, and is the most complete legal compendium of Antiquity. This remarkable artifact is significant not just for its legal content, but also for what light it sheds on the economy, religion, society, and history of this period.
Here are some examples of the laws (Harper translation):
- 14. If a man steal a man’s son, who is a minor, he shall be put to death.
- 127. If a man point the finger at a priestess or the wife of another and cannot justify it, they shall drag that man before the judges and they shall brand his forehead.
- 173. If that woman bear children to her later husband into whose house she has entered and later on that woman die, the former and the later children shall divide her dowry.
- 240. If a boat under way strike a ferryboat (or, boat at anchor), and sink it, the owner of the boat whose boat was sunk shall make declaration in the presence of god of everything that was lost in his boat and (the owner) of (the vessel) under way which sank the ferryboat shall replace his boat and whatever was lost.
- 282. If a male slave say to his master: “Thou art not my master,” his master shall prove him to be his slave and shall cut off his ear.
I think at its deepest level, homophobia exists in some men because they are afraid another man will treat them in the way that they themselves treat women