The Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi was written by King Hammurabi, who began ruling the Babylonian Empire in about 1800 BC. Hammurabi came to power using his strengths as a military leader, conquering many smaller city-states to create his Empire. Hammurabi believed that the gods appointed him to bring justice and order to his people, and he took this duty very seriously. Not long after his rise to power, he created his Code, 282 laws written to define all relationships and aspects of life in the kingdom. The laws were displayed in a public place so that all the people could have the opportunity to study them. The laws applied to everyone, though application of the laws and punishment differed according to social class. The punishments for disobeying the laws were swift and harsh, further encouraging compliance. The Code of Hammurabi reveals much about Mesopotamian culture. The Code of Hammurabi reveals the importance of agriculture and trade in their culture. It also reveals the importance of religion and family.
By reading the Code of Hammurabi you’ll soon realize that most laws are related to land and commerce; this reveals the importance of agriculture and trade in Mesopotamian culture. Many laws dealt with landholding such as the establishment of conditions for renting farmland. Mesopotamian agriculture was based on land owners and tenant farmers. Tenant farmers usually paid their annual rent in crops rather than money.
Mesopotamians were also very religious. They believed everybody was at the mercy of God’s decisions. To counter their insecurity, the Mesopotamians not only developed the arts of divination in order to understand the wishes of their gods, but also relieved some anxiety by establishing codes that regulated their relationships with one another. These law codes became an integral part of Mesopotamian society.
Last but not least, family was an important part in the culture of Babylonian society. Hammurabi’s Code stressed...
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