The Babylonians took over Mesopotamia following a slew of failed dynasties; the Elamites and the Neo-Sumerians who followed after the fall of the Akkadians. Made from Basalt, the relief sits above a long pillar inscribed with the Code of Hammurabi, a set of laws meant to regulate the government and social order of the Babylonian Empire. It depicts Hammurabi being given gifts by the Babylonian sun god Shamash (evident by the run says emanating from him). The image is meant to suggest that the gods have trusted Hammurabi divine authority to govern. The pillar would be placed in the center of a town, serving as a constant reminder that Hammmurabi is above the people and that his laws must be followed.