Key Points

The password of Hammurabi is among the oldest deciphered works of length in the human being (written c. 1754 BCE), and also features a password of law from old Babylon in Mesopotamia.The Code consisted of 282 laws, v punishments that varied based upon social status (slaves, cost-free men, and also property owners).Some have actually seen the code as an early kind of constitutional government, together an early type of the presumption of innocence, and as the capability to existing evidence in one’s case.Major legislations covered in the Code incorporate slander, trade, slavery, the duties the workers, theft, liability, and divorce. Nearly half of the code focused on contracts, and a 3rd on household relationships.There were three social classes: the amelu (the elite), the mushkenu (free men) and also ardu (slave).Women had minimal rights, and also were greatly based approximately marriage contracts and divorce rights.

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Wedge-shaped characters used in the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia, impression on clay tablets.


In Babylon, a slave.


In Babylon, a free man that was most likely landless.


In Babylon, an elite social class of people.


A rock or wood slab, normally taller 보다 it is wide, set up as a monument.

The code of Hammurabi is among the earliest deciphered works of length in the world, and features a password of law from ancient Babylon in Mesopotamia. Written in about 1754 BCE by the sixth king that Babylon, Hammurabi, the password was created on rock stele and clay tablets. It contained 282 laws, through punishments the varied based on social standing (slaves, cost-free men, and also property owners). That is most renowned for the “an eye because that an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (lex talionis) type of punishment. Other develops of password of legislation had remained in existence in the region around this time, including the code of Ur-Nammu, king that Ur (c. 2050 BCE), the regulations of Eshnunna (c. 1930 BCE) and the codex the Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (c. 1870 BCE).

The laws were i ordered it in groups, so the citizens can easily review what was compelled of them. Some have actually seen the code as one early kind of constitutional government, and also as one early kind of the presumption the innocence, and the ability to current evidence in one’s case. Intent was regularly recognized and impacted punishment, with disregard severely punished. Several of the provisions may have actually been codification that Hammurabi’s decisions, because that the function of self-glorification. Nevertheless, the code was studied, copied, and used as a model for legal reasoning for at the very least 1500 years after.

The prologue of the Code attributes Hammurabi stating the he wants “to do justice clearly shows in the land, to ruin the angry person and the evil-doer, that the solid might no injure the weak.” major laws extended in the Code include slander, trade, slavery, the duties that workers, theft, liability, and divorce. Nearly fifty percent of the code concentrated on contracts, such as wages to be paid, terms of transactions, and also liability in instance of residential property damage. A third of the code concentrated on household and family issues, including inheritance, divorce, paternity and also sexual behavior. One section establishes that a judge who mistakenly decides an problem may be gotten rid of from his position permanently. A couple of sections deal with military service.

One of the most well-known sections the the password was legislation #196: “If a man destroy the eye of one more man, they shall ruin his eye. If one break a man’s bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye the a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall salary one gold mina. If one destroy the eye the a man’s servant or break a bone the a man’s slave he shall salary one-half his price.”

The social Classes

Under Hammurabi’s reign, over there were 3 social classes. The amelu was initially an elite human being with complete civil rights, who birth, marriage and also death were recorded. Although he had certain privileges, he also was liable because that harsher punishment and higher fines. The king and his court, high officials, professionals and craftsmen belonged to this group. The mushkenu to be a free man who may have been landless. He was required to accept financial compensation, paid smaller fines and lived in a separate section of the city. The ardu was a slave whose grasp paid because that his upkeep, but likewise took his compensation. Ardu might own property and also other slaves, and also could purchase his own freedom.

Women’s Rights

Women entered into marital relationship through a contract i ordered it by she family. She came v a dowry, and the presents given by the groom to the bride additionally came with her. Divorce was up to the husband, but after divorce he then had to restore the dowry and administer her with an income, and also any kids came under the woman’s custody. However, if the woman was thought about a “bad wife” she can be sent away, or do a slave in the husband’s house. If a wife brought action against she husband for cruelty and also neglect, she can have a legal separation if the situation was proved. Otherwise, she could be drowned together punishment. Adultery was punished v drowning that both parties, unless a husband was willing to pardon his wife.

Discovery of the Code

Archaeologists, consisting of Egyptologist Gustave Jequier, uncovered the code in 1901 in ~ the old site the Susa in Khuzestan; a translation was published in 1902 through Jean-Vincent Scheil. A basalt stele containing the code in picture writing script enrolled in the Akkadian language is at this time on display screen in the Louvre, in Paris, France. Replicas are located at various other museums transparent the world.

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The code of Hammurabi. This basalt stele has actually the code of Hammurabi inscriptions in picture writing script in the Akkadian language.