The Code of Hammurabi Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:26:25
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Category: Mesopotamia

Type of paper: Essay

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The document I chose is The Code of Hammurabi, which is a code of laws for the Ancient Mesopotamia civilization. It was not the first Mesopotamian law, but it is the most famous and most complete. The Code of Hammurabi was written in cuneiform has been translated and authenticated by experts; therefore it is reliable. The complete Code of Hammurabi contains 282 laws and is written on the Stele of Hammurabi, a huge, phallic shaped piece of diorite. Hammurabi, the ruler of the first metropolis in Babylon, wrote the Code of Hammurabi.

As all societies need laws, Hammurabi wrote the code of laws to establish order and to dictate punishment for crimes in Mesopotamian society. Hammurabi was an intelligent man that saw the need to have written laws to maintain peace, and he was a man of justice. The text tells us that Hammurabi saw himself as a shepherd to his people: I am indeed the shepherd who brings peace, whose scepter is just. We learn a considerable amount of information about the Mesopotamian society from the Code of Hammurabi. The Mesopotamian society was based on the principle of an eye for an eye system of justice.

We also learn that the penalties for criminal offenses were severe for the lower/commoner class and lenient for the upper/noble class: If a free man has destroyed the eye of a member of the aristocracy, they shall destroy his eye. 1 If 1Code of Hammurabi, No. 196 he has destroyed the eye of a commoner or broken the bone of a commoner, he shall pay one mina of silver. 2 If he has destroyed the eye of a free mans slave or broken the bone of a free mans slave, he shall pay one-half his value. 3 The largest category focused on marriage and the family, which indicates the importance of family in their culture.

The Code of Hammurabi infers that women had less rights than men in their society. However, women did have some rights, for example, if a woman was divorced without cause, she could get her dowry back. Also, a mother could decide which one of her sons would receive an inheritance. Men ruled the children and their wives. Shockingly, it seems that it was not uncommon for men to hit/injure a woman, even in pregnancy: If a free man struck another free mans daughter and has caused her to have a miscarriage, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for the etus. 4 The Code of Hammurabi shows that their religion/god is important, because some penance includes making affirmation by their god: If a free mans wife was accused by her husband, but she was not caught while lying with another man, she shall make affirmation by god and return to her house. 5 The text tells us that Mesopotamians were polytheistic and their gods were living realities that affected every aspect of their lives. Everything depended on favorable relationships with the gods.

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