The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code of ancient Mesopotamia, dating back to about 1754 BC (Middle Chronology). It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world.
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In art, lamassu were depicted as hybrids, either winged bulls or lions with the head of a human male. The motif of a winged animal with a human head is common to the Near East, first recorded in Ebla around 3000 BCE. The first distinct lamassu motif appeared in Assyria during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser II as a symbol of power.
Assyrian sculpture typically placed prominent pairs of lamassu at entrances in palaces, facing the street and also internal courtyards. They were "double-aspect" figures on corners, in high relief. From the front they appear to stand, and from the side, walk, and in earlier versions have five legs, as is apparent when viewed obliquely. Lamassu do not generally appear as large figures in the low-relief schemes running round palace rooms, where winged genie figures are common, but they sometimes appear within narrative reliefs, apparently protecting the Assyrians.
The colossal entrance way figures were often followed by a hero grasping a wriggling lion, also colossal and in high relief. In the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad, a group of at least seven lamassu and two such heros with lions surrounded the entrance to the "throne room", "a concentration of figures which produced an overwhelming impression of power." They also appear on cylinder seals. Notable examples include those at the Gate of All Nations at Persepolis in Iran, the British Museum in London, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Oriental Institute, Chicago. Several examples left in situ in northern Iraq have been destroyed in the 2010's by ISIS when they occupied the area.
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