The Code of Hammurabi

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During the early civilization of Babylonia arose King Hammurabi, which whom set fourth a moral code of written laws. These laws were strictly enforced by harsh punishments in which the people of Babylonia abided by. The moral codes were created by King Hammurabi to maintain order and stability in Babylonia. The basis for these laws were enforced by the saying "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This meant that if harm was done to you by someone of the same social status, the equivalent harm would be done to them. This was only one of the codes Hammurabi strictly abided by. These codes are extremely far different from present day laws in our societies today. The code of Hammurabi was the first set of written laws to have been created. There were a collection of 282 laws which were recorded. Hammurabi states in his codes the reason for his laws. As stated in The Making of the West by Hunt, "to show Shamash that he had fulfilled the social responsibility imposed on him as a divinely installed monarch" (p.16). This meant that Hammurabi clearly felt that he was accountable for the justice and morals of his people, and that they should abide by them. One of the major points of the moral code included equal punishment under the same class. Code 196 states "If a noble man puts out the eye of another noble man, his eyes shall be put out." This clearly implies that the equal punishment law was severely followed by the Babylonians. Another important point was how woman were of lesser importance compared to men. Code 132 states how if a woman is not caught sleeping with another man she should jump in the water for the sake of her husband. This shows how woman were expected to be faithful and follow by their husbands side. While, if a man was to create adultery with his daughter he would only be exiled. The making of the West by Hunt states "A wife could divorce her husband for cruelty; a husband could divorce his wife for any reason" (p.16). This evidently shows how indisputably biased Hammurabi was towards woman in that society. Slaves' conducts and rules were also listed in the codes. They had absolutely no rights at all, even if they were to be killed by another being.

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