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Mesopotamia And Hammurabi Analysis

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The development of morality and justice in Mesopotamia and India were brought about by two very different factors. While Mesopotamia’s Code of Hammurabi is a collection of rulings made by the king (The Judgments of Hammurabi, 13), India’s Laws of Manu was anonymously put together and claimed to be the work of Manu (The Laws of Manu, 139). Hammurabi’s laws seem to be in the interest of the general population, because they are relatively fair to both genders and weighted only slightly towards free and upper class people. While no one is sure of the exact reason for India’s caste system, a popular theory is that the Aryans’ wish to distance themselves from the darker skinned people led to the uncompromising division between the castes (The Laws…show more content…
Mesopotamia had numerous city-states, and each had different sets of laws. However, they all shared the common theme of advancing the common welfare, as well as to prevent tyrannical treatment of the weak (The Judgments of Hammurabi, 13). Although this was explicitly stated in the prologue to Hammurabi’s collection, it is upheld by the laws themselves. Laws 3 and 5 provide for fair judgment, regardless of class (The Judgments of Hammurabi, 14). The importance of these two laws is that they not only provide protection to all, they punish corrupt judges who would aid in despotism. Mesopotamia generally believed that their gods were violent and sent natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes to punish them. Thus, they took religion very seriously; priests had to be clean and smell nice (Griffin, Presentation Day 2). This however, leads to law 110 in the Code of Hammurabi: priestesses are not to work at taverns or enter one to drink (Judgments of Hammurabi, 14). This law only applies to women, and states nothing about male priests working at taverns or going for a drink. Although the laws generally provided women with protection in…show more content…
India’s laws on the other hand were decided by the upper ruling class, but most were decided based on their religion. However, the religion was skewed towards those of the upper and ruling class. While each caste had its own dharma, some could move down to lower classes if they could not make a living in their own caste, though they should move back as soon as possible. According to their religion, if they followed their dharma well, they could go to heaven and be reincarnated into a higher caste in the next life. If they did not though, they would go to hell and be moved to a lower caste or even life form in their next life (Law of Manu, 143). In both societies though, women held almost no power. While they were treated relatively well in Mesopotamia when it came to laws, India’s laws were not as lenient. Mesopotamia’s comparably just and fair laws may have sprung from one of their legends, The Epic of Gilgamesh. In the story, Gilgamesh is an abusive king, but after going through some hard times and a life changing journey, he was advised to become a just ruler, and not abuse his power (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 13). Hammurabi’s code follows in that as king, he is “the king of justice, and [leads] his people with
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