The first human civilizations sprang up in Mesopotamia, the "Land Between the Rivers" in the ancient Near East. Those who built cities between the Tigris and the Euphrates gave humanity its first written records, as well as the oldest known epic and code of laws.
Unit Guide and Primary Sources
Mesopotamia: The Land Between the Rivers
Hammurabi's Code, published around 1750 B.C., is the earliest written law code known to historians. While the punishments in Hammurabi's Code may seem harsh to modern readers, they were largely consistent with those found in other law codes at the time (in some cases, the Mosaic Law had harsher penalties).
Lecture on Hammurabi's Code by HipHughes:
Header Map Image by Goran tek-en