The Babylonians began to dominate southern Mesopotamia under their sixth ruler, Hammurabi (1780–1750 BC). He was a highly efficient ruler, famous for the code of laws that he laid down, and he gave the region stability after turbulent times. It was one of ancient Mesopotamia's major empires.
Babylon became the central power of Mesopotamia. The armies of Babylonia were well-disciplined, and they conquered the city-states of Isin, Elam, and Uruk, and the strong Kingdom of Mari. But Mesopotamia had no clear boundaries, making it vulnerable to attack. Trade and culture thrived for 150 years, but then the Hittites sacked Babylon in 1595 BC. Its cities continued for 100 years under different foreign rulers. Then, for 500 years, Babylon was overshadowed by Assyria before its rise to greatness.
Mathematics and science
The mathematicians of Babylonia devised a system of counting based on the number 60, from which we get the number of seconds in a minute and of minutes in an hour and the number of degrees (60×6) in a circle. Babylonian scholars developed early sciences and astrology from the knowledge they gained from the Sumerians.
The city of Babylon, the main city of Babylonia, was found on the Euphrates River, about 110 kilometres south of modern Baghdad, just north of what is now the Iraqi town of al-Hillah.
Babylonian society consisted of three classes represented by the awilu, a free person of the upper class; the wardu, or slave; and the mushkenu, a free person of low estate, who ranked legally between the awilu and the wardu.
The Babylonians inherited the technical achievements of the Sumerians in irrigation and agriculture.
Babylonian artisans were skilled in metallurgy, in the processes of fulling, bleaching, and dyeing, and in the preparation of paints, pigments, cosmetics, and perfumes.
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