Atop the famous stele containing Hammurabi’s Code is a depiction of Hammurabi and Shamash, the Sun god, who was also the Babylonian god of justice. The swirling headdress of Shamash in this image might seem merely decorative, but in fact it possesses a dynamic meaning.
At the back of Shamash’s head is an oval object that has no obvious purpose. It appears to be attached to the coiled shape of the headdress, as if it were the head of a serpent. But why would Shamash be wearing a serpent on his head?