Babylonian Class Hierarchy & It’s Presence in Hammurabi’s Code of Law

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Babylonian Class Hierarchy & It’s Presence in Hammurabi’s Code of Law Upon reading articles and texts concerning Hammurabi’s Code of law, I made a connection between its context and the class hierarchy of early Babylonian civilizations. The structure of the code of law parallels the expectation or rights of those in the different class levels. There are standards that each may be held to, and deviations of those standards have differing penalties for the different classes of peoples. What I found to be interesting, was that slaves (the ardu class) were not specifically born of a certain people or race, but could become a slave as a result of being a prisoner of war, through their crimes, their debts or as a means of self chosen servitude to pay a debt. Slaves were much different than that of our countries later slaves, in that they could own property and have slaves of their own, marry a free woman and own land. Their children would be free if their marriage was to a free woman, however, if they were to marry to a slave woman their children would also be slaves. The muskinu class was made up of the common people. They were not necessarily wealthy and were often landless. They paid a lesser burden of taxes, fees & fines, as well as less homage to the God’s. They were not of any certain profession or vocation, but were a free class of people. The amlue (man of the family) had great privilege and full civil rights. However, with those rights were bestowed higher monetary burdens and harsher punishments should laws be broken. This class belonged to the King and officials to the court. In the document titled, The Law Code of Hammurabi (Strayer, p. 120), under the heading On Class and Slavery, the differences of consequences among the classes were notable. An example being, how the punishment for “putting the eye out of another man” would be subject to whom committed the crime and to whom the crime was committed. The penalty for putting out the eye of or breaking the...
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