Hammurabi’s Codes were a comprehensive set of 282 legal codes introduced by an 18th century BCE Babylonian king Hammurabi (reign – 1792 to 1750 BCE) in order to regulate trade,...
Tagged: Hammurabi Laws
Hammurabi’s Laws, often called the Code of Hammurabi, is a collection of 282 laws and standards that governed ancient Babylon, engraved on a large stone stele.
Why did Hammurabi create these laws?
Hammurabi established these laws to create order, ensure justice, and unify the various peoples of his empire under a single legal standard.
How are the laws structured in the Code?
The laws are set in a “if… then…” format, specifying a situation and its corresponding consequence or penalty.
Are Hammurabi’s Laws the oldest laws known to humanity?
While among the oldest, they are not the absolute first. Other codes, like the Code of Ur-Nammu, predate Hammurabi’s, but his is more comprehensive and better preserved.
Which is the most famous principle from Hammurabi’s Laws?
The principle of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is notably recognized from the Code, embodying the concept of retributive justice.
How did the laws differentiate among social classes?
The laws were not uniformly applied. The penalties and reparations often differed based on social status, with distinctions between free men, nobles, and slaves.
Were all of Hammurabi’s Laws punitive?
No. While many laws outline punishments, others are prescriptive, outlining how to perform specific activities or duties, especially in trade or commerce.
How were these laws made known to the people?
The laws were inscribed on a large basalt stele, which was publicly displayed for all to see. This was to ensure transparency and awareness.
Did Hammurabi claim divine authority for his laws?
Yes. The prologue of the Code asserts that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods, particularly Marduk, the patron deity of Babylon, to bring justice and order to the land.
Are Hammurabi’s Laws still in use today?
While not directly used, the Code has influenced many subsequent legal codes throughout history. Its principles can be seen echoed in various legal systems, highlighting the lasting legacy of Hammurabi’s attempt at codifying justice.