An analysis of the hammurabis code of law from ancient mesopotamia

The code was carved upon a black stone monument, eight feet high, and clearly intended to be reared in public view. This noted stone was found in the yearnot in Babylon, but in a city of the Persian mountains, to which some later conqueror must have carried it in triumph. It begins and ends with addresses to the gods. Even a law code was in those days regarded as a subject for prayer, though the prayers here are chiefly cursings of whoever shall neglect or destroy the law.

An analysis of the hammurabis code of law from ancient mesopotamia

Many relics of Hammurabi's reign [ BC] have been preserved, and today we can study this remarkable King. The code was carved upon a black stone monument, eight feet high, and clearly intended to be reared in public view. This noted stone was found in the yearnot in Babylon, but in a city of the Persian mountains, to which some later conqueror must have carried it in triumph.

It begins and ends with addresses to the gods. Even a law code was in those days regarded as a subject for prayer, though the prayers here are chiefly cursings of whoever shall neglect or destroy the law. The code then regulates in clear and definite strokes the organization of society.

The judge who blunders in a law case is to be expelled from his judgeship forever, and heavily fined. The witness who testifies falsely is to be slain. Indeed, all the heavier crimes are made punishable with death. Even if a man builds a house badly, and it falls and kills the owner, the builder is to be slain.

If the owner's son was killed, then the builder's son is slain. We can see where the Hebrews learned their law of "an eye for an eye.

Law Code of Hammurabi

An accused person was allowed to cast himself into "the river," the Euphrates. Apparently the art of swimming was unknown; for if the current bore him to the shore alive he was declared innocent, if he drowned he was guilty.

So we learn that faith in the justice of the ruling gods was already firmly, though somewhat childishly, established in the minds of men.

Yet even with this earliest set of laws, as with most things Babylonian, we find ourselves dealing with the end of things rather than the beginnings. Hammurabi's code was not really the earliest. The preceding sets of laws have disappeared, but we have found several traces of them, and Hammurabi's own code clearly implies their existence.

He is but reorganizing a legal system long established. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, M. Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, The material for the study of Babylonian law is singularly extensive without being exhaustive.

The so-called "contracts," including a great variety of deeds, conveyances, bonds, receipts, accounts and, most important of all, the actual legal decisions given by the judges in the law courts, exist in thousands.

Historical inscriptions, royal charters and rescripts, despatches, private letters and the general literature afford welcome supplementary information.

An analysis of the hammurabis code of law from ancient mesopotamia

Even grammatical and lexicographical works, intended solely to facilitate the study of ancient literature, contain many extracts or short sentences bearing on law and custom.

The so-called "Sumerian Family Laws" are thus preserved. The discovery of the now celebrated Code of Hammurabi hereinafter simply termed the Code has, however, made a more systematic study possible than could have resulted from the classification and interpretation of the other material.

Law Code of Hammurabi

Some fragments of a later code exist and have been published; but there still remain many points upon which we have no evidence.

This material dates from the earliest times down to the commencement of our era. The evidence upon a particular point may be very full at one period and almost entirely lacking at another.

The Code forms the backbone of the skeleton sketch which is here reconstructed. The fragments of it which have been recovered from Assur-bani-pal's library at Nineveh and later Babylonian copies show that it was studied, divided into chapters entitled Ninu ilu sirum from its opening words, and recopied for fifteen hundred years or more.LAWS of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established.

A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land. Hammurabi, the protecting king am I. LAWS of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established. A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land. Hammurabi, the protecting king am I.