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King Hammurabi’s Efforts to Unify Mesopotamia

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During this era, ancient Mesopotamia was under the rule of theocratic monarchies. It was believed that the sole ruler was governing specifically for the gods and catering to their wishes. Mesopotamians were polytheistic, or worshippers of multiple gods, and extremely devout in their faith. They believed that the gods determined all situations and occurrences. As a ruler, King Hammurabi found Mesopotamia to be tremendously divided. At the time of his rule, Mesopotamia was dissected into separate city-states that were often feuding. The creation of King Hammurabi’s code of laws was a means to provide unification for all of the people of Mesopotamia. It was King Hammurabi’s hope that a central system of laws would bind the separate city-states into a single, peaceful entity.
King Hammurabi’s code of laws consisted of 282 distinctly organized scriptures written and published in roughly 1780 BCE. The scriptures were chiseled on a large stone sculpture and placed in public so that the laws could be visible and understood by all. The scriptures concentrate on the general topics of family matters, land and ownership, politics, and physical assaults. Unlike current judicial systems, Hammurabi’s code of laws required the victim to bring his offender to court by himself in order to submit him to legal punishment. In addition, the laws of the Mesopotamians were deeply intertwined with the church. This differs greatly with the separation of church and state that many current governments, such as the United States government, uphold. The code of laws demonstrated the strong faith of the Mesopotamians and their belief in the supreme power of their gods. Many of the crimes were punishable by being thrown into water. The Mesopotam...

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Although King Hammurabi’s laws were written and enacted thousands of years ago, their themes and messages can most definitely resonate with today’s society due to excellence in the simplicity of their codes and overall strong adherence to morality. King Hammurabi helped to set a judicial precedence in governance through his rules and allocated consequences. A similarity that the government and corresponding code of laws that the United States and ancient Mesopotamia share is their ability to unify a mass group of people through legislation. Like Hammurabi’s code, the federal government of the United States links all fifty states together through its consistent and uniform legislation that is applied equally to each citizen. Such similarities with modern government highlight the lasting effects that Hammurabi’s code of laws have upheld throughout history.
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