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Hammurabi's Code

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Hammurabi's Code

Hammurabi was a trailblazer for the structure and construction of understandable and all encompassing laws. He established a form of rules and guidelines by which his kingdom of Babylonia followed and abided by. These rules and the way they were recorded and structured provided a standard that many societies have used and still use today. Throughout this paper I will point out all of the creations and ideologies Hammurabi invented. I will also show how these laws and codes affected the Babylonian people. Along with how the kingdom of Babylon was affected, I will incorporate the changes that his code has made for different societies and their people.

Ruler the Babylonian kingdom from 1792 B.C. to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi became the father of law structure as we know it. He was an absolute ruler who was very well known for his kindness and believe in justice. These beliefs he incorporated into the content of his laws. Yet, prior to his rule there was not much emphasis placed on the just treatment of those from lower classes. This importance on justice is apparently derived from the delivering of the code to Hammurabi from the sun god, who is related with justice. Along with the lack of fairness in laws, there had been no attempt to really organize the way laws were structured, which lead to confusion and constant oppression of people with little power. He put laws into categories and sections, these groups consisted of business, trade, family, labor, real estate, personal property, and business among others. Another thing that had not been done before was the recording of laws. Hammurabi took his code and had approximately 282 laws engraved on an eight foot high stone column which made them permanent and only subject to change through amendment.

The way Hammurabi's code affected the people of Babylon was positive in many lights. Before the establishment of Babylon as the first metropolis, there was no organized body of citizens to be governed. Hammurabi, being the reasonable leader that he was enforced laws that prohibited acts that used to be carried out with little ramifications. Such laws included prohibition against, kidnapping, theft, adultery, incest, bigamy, etc. His laws protected economic domination of lower classes by the financially powerful upper class. It also included protections of women and slaves that previously did not exist. Along with providing a large amount of laws that were available to the public to understand and absorb he also formed punishments to crimes. More often than not the punishments were made to fit the crime, this is where we obtain the famous phrase, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". However, many of the punishments laid in place would be extreme and unfitting by today's standards. All together the laws of Hammurabi's code were meant to promote morality and to set a standard for a way of living for the city of Babylon.




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