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Code of Hammurabi
Terms in this set (11)
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
This phrase, along with the idea of written laws, goes back to ancient Mesopotamian culture that prospered long before the Bible was written or the civilizations of the Greeks or Romans flowered.
The code of the Hammurabi
is a collection of 282 laws inscribed on an upright stone pillar. The code was found by French archaeologists in 1901 while excavating the ancient city of Susa, which is in modern-day Iran.
Hammurabi the king
Hammurabi is the best known and most celebrated of all Mesopotamian kings. He ruled the Babylonian Empire from 1792-50 B.C.E.
As he conquered other city-states and his empire grew, he saw the need to unify the various groups he controlled.
A Need for Justice
He sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws. These laws were reviewed and some were changed or eliminated before compiling his final list of 282 laws. Despite what many people believe, this code of laws was not the first.
Here, Hammurabi states that he wants "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 laws themselves support this compassionate claim, and protect widows, orphans and others from being harmed or exploited.
Some laws were quite brutal, others rather progressive
Members of the upper-class often received harsher punishments than commoners, and women had quite a few important rights
Most of the nearly 300 laws written on the pillar pertain to property rights of landowners, slavemasters, merchants, and builders.
It outlines rules for witnesses and those making accusations of crimes.
For example, "If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death." It details how theft or destruction of property should be handled and gives guidelines for dealing with trade and business problems.
The code also gives rules for family matters, such as marriage, divorce, incest, and adoption. Payment amounts for the work of doctors and other professionals are outlined. Although the pay for doctors was good, they suffered severe punishments for fatal errors. The code states that "if a physician make a large incision with the operating knife, and kill him, ... his hands shall be cut off." (Talk about a need for malpractice insurance!)
The Code covers all types of issues related to farming and herding animals, and it also lays out rules on the ownership and sale of slaves.
Hammurabi's Code required accusers
to bring the accused into court by themselves.
A number of the laws refer to jumping in the Euphrates River as a method of demonstrating one's guilt or innocence
If the accused returned to shore safely, they were deemed innocent; if they drowned, they were guilty. This practice follows the Babylonians's belief that their fates were controlled by their gods.
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
Law and Society 3
Law and Society 4
Law and Justice 1
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