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Hammurabi Code of Laws

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Autor:   •  September 12, 2017  •  Essay  •  895 Words (4 Pages)  •  305 Views

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The Hammurabi Code of Law

Katreena Pendergrass 5A

Hammurabi  was  one  of  the  first  to  attempt  bringing  together  legal  expectations. Some of the codes are the base of the laws established in few countries still today. In the century of B.C., the Babylonian King Hammurabi  came up with 282 laws that set standards of conduct and justice for his empire in ancient Mesopotamia. The laws were written on a seven-and-a-half-foot  pillar, or stele, the commands covered everything from property rights and criminal behavior to slavery and divorce, and promised brutal punishments for all who disobeyed. The earliest code of laws were created by the Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu of the city of Ur they go all the way back to the 21st century B.C. and based on my research it says that the Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin was written up nearly two centuries before Hammurabi came to power. The other codes were kind of like Hammurabi’s.

The Code included many crazy and uncalled for forms of punishment. Like the death sentence is so unnecessary but who am I to tell great kings or rulers how to discipline. Hammurabi’s Code took a brutal approach to justice, but the depending on how bad the crime was and what social class the people are in will determine the punishment.  Several commands in the Code provided specific jobs and determined how much the workers would get paid. People who worked in the field were guaranteed a wage of eight “gur” of corn per year. Doctors, free slaves, and slaves do not get as much even though they deserve it. The Code includes a modern take on judicial procedures. Like when two parties have an argument legal protocol allows them to bring their case before a judge and provide evidence and witnesses to back up their claims. Historians are still aren’t sure of the role the Code played in Babylonian culture. Some historians have argued that the Code was not a legal document at all, but rather a piece of royal information created to include Hammurabi as a great and just ruler. The Code lasted even after Babylon was defeated. Pieces of the laws have been found on clay tablets going as late as the 5th century B.C. more than 1,000 years after Hammurabi’s ruling.

        The crazy thing about this whole thing is the laws were not rediscovered until the 20th century. Hammurabi’s codes were a fixture of the ancient world, but the laws were lost in history and weren’t rediscovered until 1901 because a team of french archeologists dug up the famous diorite stele in the ancient city of Susa, Iran when the seat of the Elamite Empire. Historians say the Elamite King Shutruk-Nahhunte stole the four-ton slab during a 12th century B.C. raid on the Babylonian city of Sippar and then took it back to Susa as a trophy. Shutruk-Nahhunte is thought to have erased lots of columns from the monument to make space for his own inscription but nothing was ever added. Today, the pillar is kept on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Hammurabi understood that there was a need for justice. The   law  that   makes   most   sense  to  still  be used  was   law  number  5. The  law  states  that  “If  a  judge  tries  a  case,  reach a   decision,  and  present  his  judgment  in  writing;  if  later  error  shall   appear   in  his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgment.” So technically, what this law is saying is if a judge messes up a case he/she should be removed and can’t come back because you never know if the same mistake will happen again.


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