Hammurabi's Code

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Danielle Raskin December 20, 2012

“If a man strikes the slave girl of a free man and causes her to lose the fruit of her womb, he shall pay two shekels of silver.” A non slave would be paid ten shekels of silver. Isn’t that unfair? Hammurabi was the king of Babylonia in the 18th century B.C.E. He is very important. He wrote one of the world’s oldest sets of laws, which now is studied by many people. I feel Hammurabi’s code is unjust because of its Property laws, Family laws, and Personal-Injury laws. I think the family laws in Hammurabi’s code are unjust. Law 148 states that, “If a man has married a wife and a disease has seized her, if he is determined to marry a second wife, he shall marry her. He shall not divorce the wife whom the disease has seized. She shall dwell in the house they have built together, and he shall maintain her as long as she lives.” I think this law is unfair because a man shouldn’t leave his wife to die and also marry another woman while the other is dying. I think the property laws in Hammurabi’s Code are unjust. I find law 21 striking and unfair. “If a man has broken through the wall (to rob) a house, they shall put him to death and pierce him, or hang him in the hole in the wall which he has made.” I don’t agree with this law for two reasons. First, this punishment is way too harsh. If someone robs a house now, they wouldn’t be put to death; they would just be put in jail. My final reason is that I don’t think that the robber should be killed in the house that he robbed. I wouldn’t want anyone being hung or pierced in my house. I think the personal-injury laws in Hammurabi’s Code are unjust. Law 218 states, “If a surgeon has operated with a bronze lancet on a free man for a serious injury, and has caused his death,… his hands shall be cut off.” This law doesn’t seem right. If...
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