The Code of Hammurabi is a set of laws given by the Babylon King Hammurabi, who reigned from 1795-1750 BC. This set of 282 laws consisted of restrictions of which were punishable subject to social status. These laws outline in term: wages to pay someone for work, punishment for the detriment of one’s property, the consequences of sexual impurity (inside as well as outside marriage) and issues regarding family household matters. His laws were respectable and placed in the public eye where all could follow them. This shows that his code was not just for one person, but for all of Babylon to abide by. Hammurabi implemented the justice ‘an eye for an eye’, which became evident in his code. Through Hammurabi’s code of law, the city of Babylon as well as many societies after flourished with wise governing.
Hammurabi was not the first to create a system of law/government to hold society accountable. His code in itself implies the existence of earlier documentation of law for which he based his governing off of. Prior to Hammurabi’s ruling, it might be questioned, what was the previous law of the people? Was there a law even in place? The Semitic tribes settled into Babylonia which attracted many customs, beliefs and faces. There was no one “set” law. Hammurabi’s Code gave protection to the weak (the civilians without power) to create a fair governing society to not just the power holders but to all. Law 5 states that if a Judge reaches a ruling and later the ruling is reviewed as faulty, the judge will then be removed from the bench and never be allowed to judge again. Hammurabi’s code was a fair governing system to all and did not single out only the poor, nor only the women but held every status in Babylon responsible for their actions.
During Hammurabi’s ruling, women were given some advancement, considering the time period. Whether their position was as free and dignified as John states, they were certainly allowed the choice of free will. Several of his Laws were pertaining to women and their role to men. Considering there were many sexual encounters during this time, it is only natural for Hammurabi’s Code to consist of how to obtain sexual purity. Law 130 in particular really protects women against men acting out in an inappropriate sexual manner. This law states that if a man violates (rapes or has inappropriate encounters) with another man’s wife, soon to be wife or child, he is subject to death. Although Hammurabi’s Code can seem harsh at times, it was laws such as this that kept order in Babylon. His Code also held women accountable just as much as it did men. Law 129 states that if a man catches his wife cheating (having intercourse) with another man, he has the option to turn them both in to the courts in which they both will be thrown into the water to their death. His laws were not subject to prejudice but held every person equally accountable.
Though Hammurabi’s Law was fair, people were classified under separate social statuses in which they’d experience punishments differently. His code consisted of the amelu, the muskinu and the ardu in which people would be classified in. The amelu would be known today as upper-class or the blue-collared society. The amelu’s had registered birth/death, civil rights, and had liability to heavier punishments for crime. To this class belonged the king and court, the higher officials, the professions and craftsmen. Then were the muskinu’s; the muskinu’s evolved to the understanding of beggar. Being a muskinu could mean that you had a little money but weren’t well off. They had the opportunity to land, but generally didn’t own any.…