History: Hammurabi's Code

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Melina Merritt
History 1311.02
Professor John Carranza
September 4th, 2014

Hammurabi’s Code
The Code of Hammurabi was written by King Hammurabi, who in the 18th century began ruling the Babylon Empire. King Hammurabi came to power by using his strengths, conquering a lot of smaller cities to add to his Empire. He was a wise king that took his role very seriously. Early in his reign Hammurabi used his power to create his Code. This code was 282 written laws that defined different relationships and aspects in the kingdom. They were put out in public so that everyone was able to have the opportunity to read and study them. The laws applied to all of the people even though the application of the laws and punishments would differ depending on the person’s social class. These punishments were sometimes very harsh and or cruel and reason being was to encourage more compliance from the people throughout the Empire. The Code of Hammurabi illustrates the class structure that the Babylonians had, and was strategically created with this in mind. The Amelu, or what we today would call the upper-class, had the power to demand more severe punishments but they also received harsher punishments if they were to break the law. The middle class, or the Mushkinu did not receive as harsh punishments or steep fines. However, they were limited in religious aspects and required to give money to people they harmed. The slaves were treated as little more than property. They were able to do business, own their own property, and purchase their freedom. They had to endure the harshest, most severe punishments.

Hammurabi’s Code is significant in the way that it is written. It is written in simple language, allowing the average member of Babylonian society to understand and comprehend the rules and expectations they have. All 282 laws were written in its own with specific examples of indiscretion that were illegal, and the punishment that would be implemented had that illegal act...
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