Ancient Kingship and Rulers

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Kings and rulers started to emerge as soon as people moved away from living in tribes. This was the case with the Jews when they have decided to unite under one ruler. However, long before them the first empire was established in Mesopotamia by Sargon of Akkad in 2334 BCE (Kelly, 2011). The essay will compare kingship in three geographically and chronologically different societies. They are the following: Babylonians during Hammurabi’s reign (1792-1750 BCE), Neo-Assyrians (934-610 BCE), and the Jews (1000 BCE). In order to avoid historical distortions, primary sources from those time periods will be used. These three communities have influenced each other in different fields. Therefore, we can see similarities in their ruling systems. Nevertheless, there are also major differences which probably emerged as the result of circumstances. Due to these similarities and differences we can presume how people lived at that time, and how their society was shaped by the authority. Additionally, we can draw lessons from their kingship system to avoid mistakes in the future. Most rulers across the regions of ancient world were somehow related to divine power. If we consider Babylonians, Neo-Assyrians and the Jews, all of them believed in active involvement of God(s) (Sanders, p.61-81). Firstly, according to the Code of Hammurabi, Hammurabi was sent by gods in order to establish law and justice in Babylon (Sanders, p.65-66). He was granted different features, such as wisdom, by gods; and he was the only who could rule. Hardly anyone opposed him, as gods would “break his (rival’s) scepter and curse his fate” (Sanders, p.69). Thus we can see that no other person could compete with him in power. Next, Neo-Assyrians have adopted some elements of ... ... middle of paper ... ...nt state rulers. This shaped people’s attitude, they felt fear and respect towards their rulers. However, not only obedience but internal tensions could be the results of such system. The latter often lead to the collapse of empires, as it was with Assyrians (ibid). Therefore, looking back on our history, states should avoid authoritarian regimes for the sake of both state and citizens. Reference list Kelly, M., 2011. Foundation of complex societies, HYCU-2035 Introduction to World History. Nazarbayev University, unpublished. Sanders, T., et al., 2006. Encounters in World History: Sources and Themes from the Global Past, Volume One: to 1500. New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages. Snyder, M. A., n.d. Ancient Mesopotamia. Available at: [Accessed 2 October 2011 ].

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