One by one he crushed all his enemies, most of whom were Amorites like himself, until he had set up an empire which embraced all of southern Mesopotamia – north into Assyria, westward towards the Mediterranean and southwards to the Persian Gulf. His genius for unification was reflected in his legal code, a concisely written body of common law. No treasures from Hammurabi’s time remain in Babylon itself, partly because its valuables were scattered during the maelstrom that followed. For 1,000 years after Babylon’s founding, the warring peoples who populate the pages of the Old Testament disputed Mesopotamia. The Kassites – from the Zagros Mountains in western Iran – took and held Babylon for four and a half centuries. After that, invading Elamites carried off many of the city’s riches to their own capital, Susa. These included the stele that shows Hammurabi receiving the contents of his laws from Shamash, god of justice. In the 13th century BC Babylonia fell victim, for the first time, to the Assyrians, and from the 9th century onwards it was a vassal state of Assyria. Babylon found its subjugation intolerable. There were several revolutions, and during the course of the 7th century BC the Assyrians destroyed the city twice.