Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE EPILOGUE - Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters
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THE EPILOGUE - Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters 
Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904).
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The judgments of righteousness which ammurabi, the powerful king, settled, and caused the land to receive a sure polity and a gracious rule.
I am ammurabi, the superb king. Marduk gave me to shepherd the black-headed race, whom Bêl had assigned me. I did not forget, I did not neglect, I found for them safe pastures, I opened the way through sharp rocks, and gave them guidance. With the powerful weapon that Zamama and Ishtar granted me, by the foresight with which Ea endowed me, with the power that Marduk gave me, I cut off the enemy above and below, I lorded it over the conquered. The flesh of the land I made to rejoice. I extended the dwellings of the people in security. I left them no cause to fear. The great gods chose me and I am the shepherd that gives peace, whose club is straight; of evil and good in my city I was the director. I carried all the people of Sumer and Akkad in my bosom. By my protection, I guided in peace its brothers. By my wisdom, I provided for them. That the great should not oppress the weak, to counsel the widow and orphan, in Babylon, the city of Anu and Bêl, I raised up its head (the stele’s) in ê-sag-gil (temple of Marduk there), the temple whose foundation is firm as the heaven and earth. To judge the judgment of the land, to decide the decisions of the land, to succor the injured, I wrote on my stele the precious words and placed them before my likeness, that of a righteous king. The king that is gentle, king of the city, exalted am I. My words are precious, my power has no rival. By the order of Shamash, the judge supreme, of heaven and earth, that judgment may shine in the land; by the permission of Marduk, my lord, I set up a bas-relief, to preserve my likeness in ê-sag-gil that I love, to commemorate my name forever in gratitude. The oppressed who has a suit to prosecute may come before my image, that of a righteous king, and read my inscription and understand my precious words and may my stele elucidate his case. Let him see the law he seeks and may he draw in his breath and say: “This ammurabi was a ruler who was to his people like the father that begot them. He obeyed the order of Marduk his lord, he followed the commands of Marduk above and below. He delighted the heart of Marduk his lord, and granted happy life to his people forever. He guided the land.” Let him recite the document. Before Marduk, my lord, and Ṣarpanitum, my lady, with full heart let him draw near. The colossus and the gods that live in ê-sag-gil, or the courts of ê-sag-gil, let him bless every day before Marduk, my lord, and Ṣarpanitum, my lady.
In the future, in days to come, at any time, let the king who is in the land, guard the words of righteousness which I have written on my stele. Let him not alter the judgment of the land which I judged nor the decisions I decided. Let him not destroy my basrelief. If that man has wisdom and is capable of directing his land, let him attend to the words which I have written upon my stele, let him apprehend the path, the rule, the law of the land which I judged, and the decision I decided for the land, and so let him guide forward the black-headed race; let him judge their judgment and decide their decision, let him cut off from his land the proud and violent, let him rejoice the flesh of his people. ammurabi, the king of righteousness, to whom Shamash has granted rights, am I. My words are precious, my deeds have no rival. Above and below I am the whirlwind that scours the deep and the height. If that man has hearkened to my words which I have written on my stele and has not frustrated justice, has not altered my words, has not injured my bas-reliefs, may Shamash make lasting his sceptre; like me, as a king of righteousness, let him guide his people in justice.
But if that man does not hearken to my words which I wrote on my stele, forgets my curses, fears not the malediction of God, sets aside the judgment which I judged, alters my words and destroys my bas-reliefs, effaces my inscribed name and writes in his own name; or, for fear of these curses has charged another to do so; that man, be he king, lord, patêsi, or noble, whose name is ever so renowned, may the great god (Anu), the father of gods, who named my reign, turn him back, shatter his sceptre in pieces, curse his fortunes; may Bêl the lord who fixes the fates, whose command is not set aside, who extended my sovereignty, cause for him an endless revolt, an impulse to fly from his home, and set for his fortune a reign of sighs, short days, years of want, darkness that has no ray of light and a death in the sight of all men. May he decree with his heavy curse the ruin of his city, the scattering of his people, the removal of his sovereignty, the disappearance of his name and his race from the land. May Beltu, the great mother, whose command is weighty in ê-kur, the lady who made my plans prosperous, make his words in the matter of justice and law to be hateful before Bêl. May she bring about the downfall of his country, the loss of his people, the efflux of his life like water, by the order of the Bêl, the king. May Ea, the grand prince, whose destiny takes premier rank, the messenger of the gods, who knows all, who has prolonged my life, distort his understanding and intellect, curse him with forgetfulness, dam up his rivers at their source. In his land may Ashnan (the deity of wheat), the life of the people, not grow. May Shamash, great judge of heaven and earth, who governs the creatures of life, the lord of help, cut off his sovereignty; judge not his judgment; carry away his path; annihilate the march of his armies; cast an evil look upon him to uproot his rule, and fix for him the loss of his land. May the evil sentence of Shamash quickly overwhelm him; deprive him of life among the living above; and below in the earth, deprive his ghost of water. May Sin, the lord of the sky, the god who creates, whose ray is splendid among the gods, deprive him of crown and throne of kinship; surround him with a great shirt of pain, a heavy penalty, that will not leave his body, and make him finish his days, month by month, through the years of his reign, in tears and sighs. May he multiply for him the burden of royalty. May he grant him as his lot a life that can only be likened to death. May Adad, lord of abundance, great bull of the sky, and the earth, my helper, withdraw the rain from the heavens, the floods from the springs; destroy his land with hunger and want; thunder in wrath over his city, and turn his land to deluge mounds. May Zamama, great warrior, first born of ê-kur, who goes at my right hand on the battlefield, shatter his weapon and turn for him day into night. May he place his enemy over him. May Ishtar, the lady of conflict and battle, who prospered my arms, my gracious protector, who loved my reign, in her heart of rage, her boundless fury, curse his sovereignty; turn all his mercies to curses, shatter his weapon in conflict and battle, appoint him trouble and sedition, strike down his heroes, and make the earth drink of their blood, scatter the plain with heaps of the carcasses of his troops, grant them no burial; deliver himself into the hands of his enemy, cause him to be carried in chains to the enemy’s land. May Nêrgal, the powerful one of the gods, who meets with no rival, who caused me to obtain my triumphs, burn up his people with a fever like a great fire among the reeds. With his powerful weapon may he drink him up, with his fevers crush him like a statue of clay. May Erishtu, the exalted lady of all lands, the creator-mother, carry off his son and leave him no name. May he not beget a seed of posterity among his people. May Nin-karrak, the daughter of Anu, the completer of my mercies in ê-kur, award him a severe malady, a grievous illness, a painful wound, which cannot be healed, of which the physician knows not the origin, which cannot be soothed by the bandage; and rack him with palsy, until she has mastered his life; may she weaken his strength. May the great gods of heaven and earth, the Anunnaki, in their assembly, who look after the halls and the courts of this Ê-bar-ra (temple of Shamash at Sippara, where the stele was clearly set up), curse with a bitter curse his dynasty, his land, his soldiers, his people, and his subjects. May the judgments of Bêl, which in his mouth are irrevocable, curse him and quickly overcome him.
The following tables make no pretence to finality. In Babylonian history no date before bc 747 can be considered absolutely fixed. In Assyrian history the Eponym Canon certainly goes back to about bc 893. Then scattered notices in later writers enable us to approximate to earlier dates and the varied synchronisms between Assyrian and Babylonian kings render the dates probable, as far back as the First Dynasty of Babylon. There is only one fixed date before that, the period of Sargon I., which depends on a statement of Nabonidus.
The sequence of monarchs is, however, very probably correct. As knowledge increases, more names will be added to fill up the gaps, and dated documents will give the lengths of the reigns. A discussion of the grounds for the dates cannot be given here. The reader may refer to Dr. P. Rost, in the Mittheilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft, 1897, No. 2, and Orientalistische Litteratur-Zeitung, 1900, pp. 143, 175, 212. Radau’s Early Babylonian History may be consulted for the earliest dates.
In the early periods, a vertical line between two names denotes that the second was son of the former. This is often all we know, but it is useful to mark the fact, as we cannot then insert other rulers between them. Names printed in capitals are either Sumerian or their true pronunciation is unknown. When these capitals are in Roman type, we know that they were kings or Patesis; when they are printed in italic, we only know that they were the parents of those whose names follow. We do not then know whether they reigned or not.
For Assyrian chronology, see Annals of the Kings of Assyria, by Budge and King, 1902.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES