Hammurapi of Babylon

The remainder of the Old Babylonian Period (1763-1595 BC) was characterized by a shift of power in the north with Hammurapi of Babylon (1792-1750 BC) as the main figure. Hammurapi was the sixth king of the first dynasty of Babylon. During his reign he dealt with his enemies through diplomacy or military force. His main rivals consisted of Larsa, Eshunna, Mari and Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria (1813-1781 BC).

Hammurapi was so successful that at his death the first dynasty at Babylon claimed suzerainty over the whole Babylonian plain even to the regions in the north as far as Mari and Ashur.

Recent discoveries at Mari in the 1930s revealed the political intricacies of the Hammurapi age. Archaeologists have discovered a vast archive of cuneiform tablets. Most of these tablets were letters and business documents, revealing interesting details about the maneuvers of Hammurapi and his enemies. Some revealed that, Hammurapi's ambassadors resided in Mari while Mari's ambassadors resided in Hammurapi's court, both spying on activities and bringing back reports to their respective kings.

For the most part Mari and Babylon had a friendly relationship but, when Hammurapi had finally conquered Rim-Sin of Larsa, he turned on his old ally at Mari and conquered the city-state to expand his empire.