History Of The Code Of Hammurabi

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The beginnings of Western Civilization can be traced back to the city-states and kingdoms of Mesopotamia that were established more than five thousand years ago. The Sumerians established first known urban settlements in this area. They developed intricate irrigation systems, bronze tools, and separated themselves into social classes, each with different legal rights and penalties. The Egyptians to the west were exceptionally good at applying arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy to real world situations. In this region the first set of laws was also laid down by the Babylonian King, Hammurabi. This code of conduct and the Ten Commandments of the Hebrews provided the framework of how to maintain a stable society. The Hebrews especially influenced…show more content…
The Code of Hammurabi is based on the principle “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” For example, falsely accusing a man and attempting to ruin his name resulted in death, and if a farmer neglected the maintenance of his dikes and flooded another man’s field, he was required to repay and grain lost. It’s clear that breaking the law could guarantee a severe penalty, but not everyone in Babylon had to suffer the same consequences. The bias of Hammurabi’s Code clearly shows that a social hierarchy existed among the Babylonian people. A persons place in the hierarchy was based upon how important society viewed their role. The most fundamental discrimination was between men and women. As is the case with almost all ancient societies, men were deemed the more valuable of the two genders. Due to this fact, females did not enjoy many personal rights. Out of all the laws Hammurabi created, only one gives a woman the power to divorce her husband if it is proven he has mistreated her. Even though men were more prominent than women, not all men were seen as equals. Apart from the king, the top of the social hierarchy belonged to the group of affluent freemen. These men held positions like physician, tax collector, and highly esteemed merchants. In most cases, breaking the law would only result in them paying a fine. The middle class was primarily made of farmers and shepherds who worked alongside the lowest class, the slaves. If either of these two classes broke the law, they would be subject to a hefty fine or physical punishment. The Code of Hammurabi may have divided the people of Babylon, but it established a difference between right and wrong, which is one of the most fundamental aspects of a successful
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