World History


Code of Hammurabi


an ancient city (and empire) in Southwest Asia, on the Euphrates River, famed for its magnificence and culture.


a collection of countries controlled by a powerful ruler; a territory larger than a kingdom.

Code of Hammurabi

a collection of laws put together by the Babylonian king Hammurabi; one of the earliest legal codes in the world. The laws applied equally to everyone in the kingdom, and they were placed in public places so everyone would know what they were.


having low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc.

Tower of Babel

an ancient myth found in the book of Genesis (the first book of the Bible). According to the story, the people of the world tried to build a tall tower in an attempt to reach heaven, but God punished them by making them speak different languages so that they could not understand each other.

Because the fertile valley of Mesopotamia had no natural barriers for protection, its wealth attracted many raiders and conquerors over the centuries. Civilizations came and went amid much warfare. One of the most powerful civilizations to arise in Mesopotamia was Babylon (1900 to 500 BC).

Hammurabi was an early king of Babylon who created an empire by bringing much of Mesopotamia under his control. (An empire is a collection of states [countries] controlled by one government.) Hammurabi helped unite the Babylonian empire by publishing a set of laws known as the Code of Hammurabi, history’s first known written laws. He had the 300 laws of the code carved onto stone pillars for all to see, which meant that nobody was above the law; it applied to everyone. The goals of Hammurabi’s Code included, “stable government and good rule . . . that the strong may not oppress the weak.”

Tower of Babel

Babylon later became known for its hanging gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and for the decadent life-style of its people; “a Babylon” now means a place of corruption and sin. The Bible mentions the Tower of Babel, probably a ziggurat, that the builders hoped would reach to heaven. In response to their arrogance, God confused the builders’ language so they could no longer understand one another’s speech. The Bible says this is how the people of the world came to babble in different languages.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.