The Babylonians lived in the area where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers emptied into the Persian gulf. Before the rise of this civilization, this area was dominated by two groups, the Sumerians and Akkadians. Because of this, the pre-babylonian area was normally referred to as Summer-Akkad. Thanks to the area's rich Mineral resources, predominately salt, and many trade routes, this area suffered almost constant attack from outside forces.
Eventually the outsiders succeeded. Semitic Amorites from the Arabian peninsula gained control over most of the region by 1900 B.C. They organized a central monarchical government in what was now called Babylon, formally known as Akkad (the capitol of Sumer-Akkad. This event began three centuries of Amoritic rule, known as the Old Babylonian period.
The central power of Babylon was a monarch who had complete control over the land. Like many civilizations over the age, the subjects of Babylon believed that the king ruled by divine right, Furthermore, they believed that the king was one of their many gods.
To magnify his control and power, a bureaucracy and centralized government were established. Together, the king and his officials exerted total control over the large land mass that they controlled.
The Sumerians already had laws, but they were executed by both the state and individuals. The monarchs began to rule and set their own laws, which were now not only an offense to the state, but also an offense to the gods. Finally, one of the monarchs, Hammurabi, wrote a new set of laws which the state could perform themselves. The new "Code of Hammurabi" became famous for being one of the first written collections of law and for it's fair treatment with its famous clause "lex talionis" (Babylonia and, 94), or an eye for an eye.
Through his written code of...