Perhaps the clearest example of women's rights being sacrificed was that a wife was considered property in the same way as a son or a daughter. Her sexual relations belonged exclusively to her husband and if any other man interfered with this, he was to be punished with theft. At marriage a woman's sexuality became the property of her husband. Even the possibility of adultery was taken very seriously. A wife caught in the act of adultery was to be tied to the other lover and drowned. A husband could save his wife but then he had to save her lover as well (Pritchard 152). Another issue dealing with women's sexuality in relation to her social status was how to handle unwanted babies. Fathers had to decide whether to claim any newborn as his child especially if it was conceived as the result of a wife's affair. In the ancient Near Eastern society, motherhood was understood, but fatherhood was not. It seems as though the only solution to this was to place harsh restrictions on female sexuality.
While Hammurabi's Code doesn't... [continues]
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