Ancient History

Hammurabi, King of Babylon (from "Have To" History)

Three Big Things:

1. Responsible for the best-known and arguably most influential set of legal codes in the ancient world. Key issue: they were written down and publicly posted.

2. Brought Mesopotamia together as a more-or-less united empire (this time with Babylon as the seat of central authority) for the first time since Sargon six centuries prior.

3. Seriously, the written law thing. It’s just huge. “An eye for an eye”? That was his. Innocent until proven guilty? Also his, although not phrased quite so smoothly. A chance for the accused to defend themselves? Punishment fitting the crime? Throwing people in rivers to see if they float? That’s Hammurabi, baby.

"Have To" History - The Olmecs

Three Big Things:

Olmec Head1.The Olmec are generally considered the foundational civilization of Mesoamerica – the region now hosting southern Mexico and Central America. They were the cultural forefathers of later, more familiar peoples like the Mayans and Aztecs.

2. The Olmec seem to have built the first pyramids in the Americas, played the first organized ballgames, and been the first to process and enjoy… chocolate. 

3. The Olmec left behind some heads. Big stone heads. Really, really big stone heads.