Code Of Hammurabi Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Business - Law Type: Essay Paper: #42045272 Related Topics: Mesopotamia, Jurisprudence, Ancient Civilizations, Authority
Excerpt from Essay :

Hammurabi was both the religious and political authority of his kingdom. When he declared himself representative of Marduk, he gained enough support from the people he governed to begin creation and eventual implementation of set of laws that would govern his kingdom. His first objective in creating the Code of Hammurabi was to bring the merchants in the area under government control so they would not overcharge in interest over loans. Before the code was implemented, there existed law of vengence. After the code was introduced through Hammurabi's scribes collecting laws and then unifying them into the code, the king was able to bring unity and order to the old Babylonian Kingdom.

The Code of Hammurabi is frequently seen as an often cruel, rough and unfair set of laws, especially comparedto modern rules. Some might argue even though these laws appear harsh, it was better than a society with no rules as lawlessness is far worse than strict regulations. For instance, kings had to obey the law and were no different to the common man when it came to expected obedience. However because of the Code of Hammurabi there was no upward mobility. People were frozen in their social standing or social class, unable to uplift themselves from their current status/state. Furthermore the idea of "an eye for an eye" made punishment or retribution harsh. This combined with social standing made punishment, for instance on a person of low class who committed a grievance on a person of a higher class, particularly cruel and grave.

Stanton & Hyma detail in their book the harsh circumstances people, especially those of lower social standing can experience under the Code of Hammurabi. "There were...

...

If someone in the lower classes harmed a person in the upper classes, his punishment would be greater than if he harmed someone in his own class." (Stanton & Hyma 63) People who committed crimes to people of lower class were made to face less harsh punishments, thus proving the unfairness of the Code of Hammurabi. Not only was it more taxing on the lower classes, but it favored the upper classes. This meant the upper classes were able to get away with committing more crime, especially to the lower classes because they did not have to face harsh punishment. The code simply expected the upper classes to do the right thing and act accordingly, without true enforcement.

Although women weRe given rights and sometimes equal pay according to the Code of Hammurabi, a woman was not protected if she did not have a dowry when she got married. "The terms of her contract usually depended on the size of the dowry. If she did not have a dowry, she often was treated as a slave." (Stanton & Hyma 63) Again this sort of regulation favored the upper classes. Since women in upper class families had the means to provide a suitable and sizable dowry, they were essentially protected from potential abuse from the husband. Poorer women that could not offer up dowry were treated harshly and subject to abuse by their husbands according to the Code of Hammurabi. This shows clearly, unfair treatment of women based on money and assets.

Another aspect of the Code of Hammurabi that was unfair were the set prices of services. "It set basic prices for doctors and other specialists so they could not overcharge their customers." (Stanton & Hyma 63) Even though it may seem like a fair thing to create a base price for services, if someone with less means could earned too little, the base price would be too high…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Hyma, Albert. Streams Of Civilization. 1st ed. Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 1976. Print.

Shichor, David. The Meaning And Nature Of Punishment. 1st ed. Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press, 2006. Print.


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