The Amorites, a group of Semites who are also called Old Babylonians, were an important tribe of the ancient world. Their major inputs include centralization, an important legal document, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the introduction of another god.
This tribe was in control of most of Mesopotamia after the century of conflict that followed the last Sumerian dynasty. Although they were the conquerors of the Sumerians, they used many of the Sumerians' ideas. For example, the Amorites wrote in cuneiform on clay tablet; the Sumerians had done a similar thing.
When the Amorites conquered the Sumerians, they reorganized the government. Instead of having many city-states, the kingdom of the Amorites consisted of many cities. Power was given to the monarch and not to individual cities. As a result of this, the monarch became even more powerful and used his power to collect taxes and organize a strong army. This strong central government soon made it apparent that a new set of laws was needed.
Around 1792 BC to 1750 BC, a king named Hammurabi wrote a set of laws called the Code of Hammurabi. This code governed almost every aspect of daily life, such as divorce and marraige, inheritance, and interest rates on loans. Since this was one of the first attempts at a written legal system, it is considered by some to be the most important legal text in history.
The Code of Hammurabi was not the only important literary achievement of the Old Babylonians. They also compiled an epic about a legedary king of Uruk, Gilgamesh. Various shorter stories concerning the hero's defeat fo a few monsters and his quest for immortality are compiled in a book called The Epic of Gilgamesh. This story may be one of the world's oldest books.
Very little is known about the Old Babylonian religion. However, it is known that it was almost the same as the SUmerian religion. Like the Sumerians, the Amorites did not see life after death as something to be feared or looked forward to. The Amorites did introduce a new god into their religion, however. This god, Marduk, eventually became the most importnant god.
The Amorites, or Old Babylonians, had a deep impact on history. When they centralized the government, more was able to be done. Also, this led to what could be the most important legal document of all time: the Code of Hammurabi. The Amorites also played an important part in anceient literatur by putting together one of the world's first stories, The Epic of Gilgamesh. In addition, they added on to an already existing religion, creating their own. All of their accomplishments point to the greatness of the Amorites.
Amorites. 26 Oct. 2000 http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/MESO/AMORITES.HTM.
Amorites. 1995. 26 Oct. 2000 http://www.crystalinks.com/amorites.html.
Farah, Mounir A. and Karls, Andrea Berens. World History: the Human Experience. New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1999.
Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Brolier Electric Publishing, Incorporated, 1996.
By: Rachelle, Oct. 31, 2000