Hammurabi and Law Codes

Topics: Sociology, Edicts of Ashoka, India Pages: 3 (895 words) Published: October 18, 2008
Law codes serve two major functions, to promote order and enforce stability. Not all law codes are the same. They differ depending on the influences acting upon the ruler, and the region the laws are created to work for. Even so, the laws all serve the same purpose. Like Ashoka’s Pillars and Hammurabi’s code. Asoka’s laws and Hammurabi’s laws differ on the grounds of social systems, yet relate on the idea of technology. The social aspects of the law codes of Hammurabi and Ashoka differ greatly. Ashoka’s laws reflected a strong belief in ethics and dharma resulting in a dynasty that lacked a caste system. Hammurabi’s laws on the other hand, focused more on punishment and social status. Mortality took a strong hold in Ashoka’s laws mainly because Buddhism and Jainism influenced his views. These two religions rejected the Hindu belief of the caste system and also influenced Ashokas definition of Dharma. One law plainly stated, “Dharma is good, but what does Dharma consist of? It consists of a few sins and many good deeds, of kindness, liberty, truthfulness, and purity.” This law clearly satisfied the views of all the religions making sure mortality and all followed dharma. Ashokas laws being based off religious ideas also encouraged ethical social behavior. Ashoka let his people define their own views on mortality as long as they were moral in daily life giving them more flexibility. Ashoka’s law code had also set into place Mortality Ministers who were used to promote consciousness social behavior throughout his empire. This was because mortality and “self” were two highly promoted ideas and kept crime rates low. Asoka ‘s laws on punishment were influenced by the Buddhist and Jain religion’s dislike of violence. His laws lacked severe punishment because of these views, but Ashoka made it clear that he had the right to punish despite his beliefs in order to lower the crime rate. In contrast, Hammurabi’s laws were solely based on the enforcement of the social...
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