Code of Hammurabi is a set of laws proclaimed by Babylon King Hammurabi during
his ruling from 1792 BC to 1750 BC. Hammurabi’s Code was a set revision of the
earlier codes such as the Akkadian and Sumerian codes.
“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for
a tooth.” This is a paraphrase from the Hammurabi’s Code, a set of codes that
consist of 282 different laws inscribed on a stone pillar. When King Hammurabi
began to cease more city-states and his empire started to expand, he realized
that he needed a set of universal laws to control the various groups of people.
He set forth a mission for his legal experts to gather up all the existing laws
so that they can review and modify, as well as eliminate laws.
The Hammurabi’s Code consist of many
severe, gruesome punishments. Many of the crimes lead to different death
penalties. For instant, if a son and his mother were caught committing incest,
then they shall be burned to death. Even if you were a minor, you will face the
same death penalty as someone older. An example of that would be if a son
abused his father, he shall have his hands cut off.
Even though many people view
Hammurabi’s Code as harsh, it kept his empire in line even after his reign. The
code deals with assaults within people different social status. For instant, if
a man broke a nobleman’s bones, the culprit’s bones would be broken. If the man
broke a commoner’s bones, he must pay one mina of silver. If the man broke a
slave’s bones, he must pay half the value of the slave. Another instance is
when a doctor performed a surgical operation and the patient is killed. The common
punishment for such accident is getting his hands cut off.
During King Hammurabi’s ruling, a man
had greater power over woman, and the women needed protection from the men. Within
the Hammurabi’s Code, it gave women justice and rights. For instant, a man cannot
divorce his wife is she had children with him. Even if the spouse wanted to
leave his wife when she is sick with a disease and remarry, the laws protect
her from those injustices. The spouse can have multiple wives, but he cannot leave
any. Even though it appears women were completely protected from men, that’s
not completely true. For instant, if a woman was accused of cheating but there’s
no evident, then she still must leap into the river in place of her husband.
There is a phrase, “go jump in a
river,” referring to jumping into the Euphrates River, where the accused must
jump into the river to prove whether they are guilty or innocent. If the accused
return after jumping, he or she is innocent; however, if the accused do not
return, he or she is deemed guilty of that accusation. The Babylonians believed
that their fates were in the hands of their gods.