Code of Hammurabi Essay

367 WordsAug 8, 20122 Pages
Code of Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi tells us that the ancient Mesopotamian culture institutionalized slavery, encoding it into Babylonian law as far back as 3,780 years ago by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. He wrote it "to bring about the rule in the land" and so arranged the Code in orderly groups so everyone who read them would know their responsibilities. The laws scaled punishments depending on the offender's social status, such as slave or free man. The equality for all that we live today did not exist then. The Code is an early law regulating a government, a primitive constitution. It embodies the idea of the presumption of innocence, and gives both the accused and accuser the opportunity to provide evidence. It may have then been just a codification of the King's judicial decisions for Hammurabi's glorification, but copying in subsequent generations indicates that others used it as a model of legal and judicial reasoning. It laid the foundation for social and legal interaction at least up to the 1964 Civil Rights Movement. The laws stay with us through current events when a neighborhood watch captain murdered an unarmed black Florida teenager. The neighborhood watch captain was a community official, and the teenager would not have been shot had he been white. This means that scaled punishments and the social distinction between slave and free man persist. Interestingly, while many people believe the expression "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" came from the Bible that written about 1100 BC, the Code of Hammurabi predated it by perhaps 700 years. Half the Code deals with contract issues, such as wages for an ox driver or surgeon. Other provisions set transaction terms, established liability for accidents and loss of property. A third of the code addresses household and family relationships like divorce, paternity, sexual behavior, and

More about Code of Hammurabi Essay

Open Document