The Code of Hammurabi

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Throughout history, many civilizations have endured through a system of social, political, religious, and economic laws and rituals. Most of these laws and rituals were set up as procedures for moral behavior, family life, education, government, and business. These basic values were set forth by an early civilization known as the Babylonians.

There is a lot about Babylonian society that can be learned through reading the Code of Hammurabi. In the very least, the document itself and the materials used to produce it tell a lot about how advanced the empire was. In some cases, punishment was left to the gods to determine. The code is interpreted by beginning and ending addressing the gods . Law codes were regarded as a subject for prayer. However, to truly gain an understanding of Mesopotamia in the 17th Century BC, we should take a closer look at the penalties rather than the laws themselves.

Laws play a major role in the expansion of a nation. Justice is the upholding of those laws from an impartial standpoint. King Hammurabi managed to organize one of the first best preserved set of laws from ancient Babylonian times. The Code of Hammurabi was recorded on clay tablets standing eight feet high. The laws consisted of 282 provisions arranged under a variety of subjects ranging from family and personal property to trade and business. These laws established consequences with the philosophy that the punishment should fit the crime.

In a society that was overwhelmingly illiterate, people would never know their rights if they depended upon a written text. It is apparent that there were several social classes, and that each of those had different consequences and rights. Victims, however, were paid monetarily by the offende...

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...e price for a bride was higher than that paid for a slave. One of the provisions of the code stated that if the father of bride, after receiving the man’s presents, doesn’t give him his daughter, he had to return the amount of the presents doubled. Women were not treated as equally as men were. Women also had to worry about their role in the household. The same applied to children, slaves, commoners and nobles. They were to do as told and were treated as objects. The man, however, did have to support his family.

A father had control over his children until they married. He could hire them out in return for money, pledge them for debt, or sell them. Daughters would be dedicated to the service of a god or be given as a concubine – a woman that cohabits with a man without being legally married to him. This gave the woman few legal rights and low social status.
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