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Essay Hammurabi

Hammurabi’s Code


Hammurabi’s Code was a set of laws that ruled the people of Mesopotamia in 1750 B.C. Although that was a long time ago, this code is famous and often applicable even today. The Code’s basic principle was “an eye for an eye”. This ensured that a person caught committing a crime will never want to repeat it again. Some people may argue the effectiveness of this approach and some of the punishments allowed by the Code, but the Babylonian society of that time saw it as the most efficient way to deal with the problem of crime without being overtly cruel.

The Code is indeed harsh when one looks at it from the point of view of a person raised in contemporary society. If an accident were to happen today, there is so much blame to pass around that it is almost impossible to have just a single person punished for it. Ancient Babylon was a much simpler place. If a carpenter did a poor job of constructing a roof in Babylon and this resulted in it falling down and killing the owners of the house, he would be charged with murder. With the “eye for an eye” policy, the carpenter in question will be put to death. This will ensure that his colleagues heard and even witnessed the sorry fate of what happens to a poorly skilled man. They will see what exactly they will face, should their work standards fall. As a result, the society gains some very motivated carpenters who are willing to go over their work numerous times to make sure it is perfect.

Crimes against children were also punishable by death. The ancient Babylonians did this so that youngsters can play outside without a care in the world. Their streets were safe for children, and this is exactly how it should be like. The number of kidnappings that occur today would not have reached their extent in Ancient Babylon.

Some people say this code is too cruel, but hardly anyone can argue its efficiency. With the human rights movement on the rise today, it will definitely be impossible to introduce some chapters of Hammurabi’s Code into contemporary law. Therefore, one can only wonder what kind of changes this could have brought.

The Code of Hammurabi is too harsh for many people today to even contemplate using it on a nationwide scale. Some of its points are clearly inapplicable, as one cannot simply subject a team of builders, engineers, and material manufacturers who may be indirectly responsible for an accident occurring in a newly built house to death. However, some of the Code’s charters should definitely be revisited and considered for future use.

Essay on The Code of Hammurabi

951 Words4 Pages

The “Code of Hammurabi” is considered to be one of the most valuable finds of human existence. In fact its very existence created the basis for the justice system we have come to rely on today. The creation of “the Code” was a tremendous achievement for not only Babylonian society but for the entire Mesopotamian region as King Hammurabi was ruler over all of that area. Its conception can be considered to be the first culmination of the laws of different regions into a single, logical text. Hammurabi wanted to be an efficient ruler and realized that this could be achieved through the use of a common set of laws which applied to all territories and all citizens who fell under his rule. This paper will discuss the Hammurabi Code and the…show more content…

Hammurabi improved on the measures implemented by Sargon through his idea of “centralization”. Instead of controlling trade routes and resources like Sargon, Hammurabi institutionalized regular taxation for all the territories. Hammurabi also ruled from within Babylon while extending his authority to other territories through the use of deputies placed in each territory. (Bentley and Zeigler, p. 29)
In regards to the Hammurabi Code of Law, Hammurabi claimed that the gods had picked him to “promote the welfare of the people …to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and evil, so that the strong might not oppress the weak…” His intention was to hold those under his rule accountable for their actions and inspire “appropriate behaviors”. In fact, according to literature, the code functioned on the principle of “lex talionis” which basically translates as the “law of retaliation”. The idea was that the punishment would fit the crime, at least in theory. Similar to today’s laws, individual judges were allowed discretion and did not always follow the code specifically. Never the less, the code was always utilized as a reference for solution. (Bentley and Zeigler, p. 30)
The code prescribed punishment for various crimes to include lying, stealing, kidnapping, murder, fraud and bribery with the highest punishment of death being recommended for many actions considered to be criminal. Such crimes included

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