Laws of Hammerabi

The Laws of Hammurabi

The best method of finding out about a certain culture is to look at their
laws and

other court records. The Laws of Hammurabi are the best preserved legal
document

reflecting the social structure of Babylon during Hammurabi’s rule. They
address the

rights of the poor to seek compensation from wrongs committed by the wealthy
or by the

nobility. The laws also discussed the rights of women, such as the right to
own property in

their own names and to divorce their husband.

Through these laws, the Mesopotamian people, or their rulers at least, seem
to

have been a very strict civilization. This is apparent in laws 22 and 23,
concerning theft

and robbery. Any man caught committing robbery will be put to death. Based on
today’s

society and laws, that seems very harsh, but it shows that the Mesopotamian
people were

very stern with the criminals. The next law says that if a robbery has been
committed but

the robber has not be caught, “the city and the governor...shall make good
to him his lost

property.” This fair and just law would never happen in today’s society.
The government

does not reimburse people for stolen items, with the exception of insurance
money.

The Laws of Hammurabi also show that the Mesopotamian people were very

family oriented. Law 195 states that any son who strikes his father will lose
his hand.

Although this is a very harsh law, it shows that the society had respect for
their elders. If

that respect was not there, they were severely punished. Laws 209-212 also
discuss family

issues, especially daughters and their fetuses. Anyone who killed a fetus was
required to

pay a certain amount, and, if the pregnant woman dies, his daughter would be
killed also.

The punishment was lessened for a commoner’s daughter and child, but it was
still strict.

These laws show that the people were very concerned with their children and
family.

Category: Law