Excerpt from The Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, About B. C. 2200, Vol. 1: To Which Are Added a Series of Letters of Other Kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon; Introduction and the Babylonian Texts
Oidbaby official personages serve to supplement and ... explain and the bald facts concerning this early period of Baby despat°hes' lonian history that can be gathered from formal records and monumental inscriptions. In them we see the facts of history in the making. These letters of Hammurabi, addressed by a king to his vassal or subordinate officer, were composed with no intention of instructing posterity, but were despatched to carry commands or supply information at the moment; and they thus, to a greater or less extent, served in themselves to mould the course of history. It is frequently difficult to realize the circumstances under which such letters and despatches were written, but where the circumstances can be explained their value as evidence is both unimpeachable and unique. The letters of private persons, written at the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon, are often hard to under stand, but, in so far as they are capable of explanation.
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