Last Updated 13 Jan 2021

Code of Hammurabi

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The Code of Hammurabi “To make justice visible in the land to destroy the wicked person and the evil-doer, that the strong might not injure the weak. ” The Code of Hammurabi was a law code written by King Hammurabi. The code was carved in a black pillar and was placed in a temple. This was so the entire village had knowledge of it. It was written sometime between 1792 to 1750 B. C. E. and was partly based off of the Code of Lipit-Ishtar.

People in the 1700’s were punished, although punishments weren’t meant to exceed the crime, women had less rights and lower social standing then men, and they highly valued family. “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” represents a harsh sense of justice based on revenge. King Hammurabi made his laws this way to prevent crimes from happening. Once a person knew penalty of a crime the likelihood of the person committing a crime greatly decreased. Also, he wanted this all people were not viewed as equals.

The punishments for the same crime committed by a free man versus a slave were incredibly harsher towards the slave. “If a man knocked out the tooth of a man that is equal his tooth shall be knocked out,” whereas if a slave had knocked out the tooth of a free man he would have to pay one third of mina of silver. King Hammurabi may have wanted quality but he did not achieve it through his laws. Woman may have played important roles in the Babylonian society, but they certainty were not treated this way.

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The Hammurabi Code is extremely gender bias towards women, the laws were meant to control the woman in the society. Women were viewed more as an arranged contract between the woman’s father and her suitor. “If a man has taken a wife and has not executed a marriage contract, that woman is not his wife. ” If a wife is caught cheating in the act she can be strangled or become her husbands’ slave, whereas if a husband is caught cheating he has to pay said wife. Clearly, women were treated unfairly compared to men in this society.

These laws were considered family laws. Family was the basic unit of daily life. Laws required deep respect towards parents. “If a son struck his father, his hands shall be cut off. ” Hammurabi Code forbids incest. It states “if a man has committed incest with his daughter, that men shall be banished from the city. ” Babylonian Society was very concerned about gender, class, and family. Women were viewed more as possessions then people. Women didn’t get to pick their husband; their father chose and made the arrangements with their future husband.

A white male had a higher standing in society than a black man. If a white man and a black man committed the same crime, the black man would face worse consequences. You cannot disown your children legally, unless the said child committed a grave misdemeanor. The most concerned problem for Babylonian society was people lying in trial to a Judge. In most cases punishment for this was death, a serious problem that results in a serious punishment. The Code of Hammurabi showed the types of crimes they had thousands of years ago.

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