Erich Lessing

This 7-foot-high stela from Susa, now in the Louvre, depicts the Babylonian king Hammurabi (1792–1750 B.C.) appealing to enthroned god Shamash. Its base is inscribed with Hammurabi’s law code, which standardized interest rates. Hammurabi also sought to control the mounting burden of interest payments by issuing four “clean slate” proclamations that cancelled debts.