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The Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi

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The Code of Hammurabi is one of the earliest known written legal codes, was composed about 1750 B.C.E. by Hammurabi, the ruler of Bablyon. The text was excavated in 1901; it was carved on an eight foot high stone monolith. The Code lays out the basis of both criminal and civil law, and defines procedures for commerce and trade. This text is considered the predecessor of Jewish and Islamic legal systems alike.

Perhaps the single most striking feature of Hammurabi’s Code is its commitment to protection of the weak from being brutalized by the strong. He believed that he had been ordained by his gods Anu (God of the Sky) and Bel (The Lord of Heaven and Earth, the God of Destiny) to establish the rule of law and justice over his people.


He referred to himself as the “shepherd of the oppressed and of the slaves,” and ordered that “these my precious words” be written upon his memorial stone, before his image “That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans … in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries …”

Hammurabi’s Code addressed the right of the poor to seek redress from wrongs committed by the wealthy or by the nobility. It also addressed the rights of women, including the rights of women to own property in their own names, and even the right to divorce a husband for grounds which would be recognized even today.
The Code of Hammurabi is one of the earliest known written legal codes, was composed about 1750 B.C.E. by Hammurabi, the ruler of Bablyon. The text was excavated in 1901; it was carved on an eight foot high stone monolith. The Code lays out the basis of both criminal and civil law, and defines procedures for commerce and trade. This text is considered the predecessor of Jewish and Islamic legal systems alike.

Perhaps the single most striking feature of Hammurabi’s Code is its commitment to protection of the weak from being brutalized by the strong. He believed that he had been ordained by his gods Anu (God of the Sky) and Bel (The Lord of Heaven and Earth, the God of Destiny) to establish the rule of law and justice over his people.


He referred to himself as the “shepherd of the oppressed and of the slaves,” and ordered that “these my precious words” be written upon his memorial stone, before his image “That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans … in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries …”

Hammurabi’s Code addressed the right of the poor to seek redress from wrongs committed by the wealthy or by the nobility. It also addressed the rights of women, including the rights of women to own property in their own names, and even the right to divorce a husband for grounds which would be recognized even today.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Tracy James Justice Jr on May 01, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/01/2013

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The Code of Hammurabi
www.thefederalistpapers.org Page 1
 THE CODE OF HAMMURABI
Edited by Steve Straub The Federalist Papers Projectwww.thefederalistpapers.org 

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/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->