Hammurabi was a king of the First Babylonian Dynasty, the sixth king, in fact. He ruled from
1792 B.C.E to 1750 B.C.E. Aside from being well known for conquering the various peoples of
the Mesopotamian region and essentially uniting almost all of Mesopotamia under his rule,
Hammurabi is best known for his series of laws known as the "Code of Hammurabi". These
laws, inscribed on a stone stele, reflected a collection of 282 laws which developed from a series
of similar laws from other Mesopotamian civilizations within that geographic area.
The Code of Hammurabi is unique for a number of reasons. For one, it was only discovered and
translated rather recently (1901 and 1902 respectively). During the late 19th and early 20th
centuries archaeologists were first finding evidence of civilizations that existed before the
classical civilizations of Greece. It provides a window into not only Babylonian, but also
Mesopotamian civilization and its influence stretched well beyond the boundaries of Babylon.
Within the Code of Hammurabi are a number of concepts which carried over to other ancient
civilizations and many of which even reflect law in our time. For example, the concept of "an
eye for an eye", which has found its way into many modern legal and religious laws, is reflected
in Law #196: "If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break
a man's bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of
a freeman he shall pay one gold mina. If one destroy the eye of a man's slave or break a bone of
a man's slave he shall pay one-half his price" In fact, the code deals with everything from wages
to be paid to liability for faulty structures to family law and to laws governing social mores.
Your task is to review the Code of Hammurabi and write a brief essay which addresses the
Where did Hammurabi derive the authority to codify these laws?
What did the Code of Hammurabi say about the structure of society in ancient Babylon?
Pick one of the laws enumerated in the code and explain how it has come down to modern times.
What do you think is the overall historical and/or legal significance of the Code of Hammurabi?
This assignment has parameters that need to be followed, so please note the following:
This is to be an essay. Do not use numbers or bullet points to address the topics. Write in essay
Your initial post must be at least 250 words. You cannot read other posts until you have posted
to the Discussion Board.
If you use outside sources, you must cite them properly in Chicago Style.