The Hammurabis Code of Law
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Code of Hammurabi is a unique and well-preserved law code of Babylonian society and is regarded as one of the oldest and unique writings in the world. This law code was written at around ca.1700 BC by Hammurabi who was the sixth king of Babylonian society (Dennis & Salisbury 2007). The intended audiences of Hammurabi code were all the members of this society. This code was produced by the Babylonian culture and it was a major shaper and reflector in this society. The evidence of this code exists on a large stone referred to as “stele” and on few clay tablets. This code consists of 283 unique laws comprising of scaled punishments for various crimes.
The source was significant for this culture at that time because it defined the moral standards in this society. Majority of the leaders believed that, without the code, this society would be inhuman and uncivilized. If society members wanted to do something, they had to be completely sure that it was not against this code. This was because if one did something that was against the code, serious consequences followed and could mean his or her life. The code regulated everything in this society from family affairs to salaries and wages to requirements when building houses.
Hammurabi’s code reveals a strict and well-organized social structure of the Babylonian society. Strict social hierarchy was observed in this society. This is evidence by the existence of different penalties in the code for three social classes namely freemen, elites, and slaves (Dennis & Salisbury 2007). The code defined different rights to different social orders. For instance, although slaves were the bottom class of this society, they were given some rights such as right to own land and intermarry with free persons. Many laws were also established in this code to protect the weak members from exploitation by strong members. In addition, there were laws to protect children and women from harassments.