The Hammurabi Code : Women 's Rights Essay

The Hammurabi Code : Women 's Rights Essay

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The Hammurabi Code: Women’s Rights is a paper I wrote for my Foundations of Western Civilization class taught by Dr. Munson. His goal was for all of his students to write a paper about a topic that interests us during a certain time era.

The Code of Hammurabi played a significant role in how women were treated, as well as their rights during Old Babylonian civilization. The Code of Hammurabi was created in 1780 B.C.E. and represents as the oldest written document in the development of human legislation. The “eye for an eye” principle comes from this code and states that if someone injures another person, then the person penalized to the same degree with the same action. Hammurabi’s code reflected three different classes which were; the commoners, the free people, and the slaves. This document provided laws and punishments that were applied to citizens depending on their social status and gender. According to the Code of Hammurabi women had three major rules to follow, the first rule being, focused on women’s family wealth and how it had to be administered by her husband or her father. The second rule was focused on women’s sexuality being sacrificed to ensure legitimacy. Lastly, the final, third rule was focused on the women whom were divorced and that needed society’s help.

A woman’s family wealth was very important during the Babylonian civilization. Women did not control her own wealth, so therefore, a woman’s family wealth, was controlled by her father or her husband. Law 128 in the Code of Hammurabi states, “If a man take a wife and do not arrange with her the (proper) contracts, that woman is not a (legal) wife.”1 (Hammurabi 45). A woman would receive a dowry once she was married and left her family. A dowry is a financ...

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...iece of property just as slaves were treated. Hammurabi’s Code demonstrated how the rights of women individually were not acknowledged as men’s rights were taken. King Hammurabi was the sixth Babylonian king and he gave all of the power to the men in the civilization. It can be proven that a woman, in Hammurabi time didn’t have as many rights, even right to defend herself. There are three major issues that were taken place during the Babylonian civilization. The first issue, was about a woman’s family wealth being controlled by her husband or her father. The second issue was about women’s sexuality being sacrificed to ensure legitimacy. The last issue talked about a woman needing society’s help if she was divorced. The Hammurabi Code describes all of women’s rights and clearly shows that women did not have many rights during this time in the Babylonian civilization.

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