Before Mesopotamian civilization, the world was without laws. Hammurabi, a Mesopotamian King, came along and wrote down a set of laws. It was this set of the laws that began to introduce some order and justice in the world. A group of people without a written set of laws is no civilization at all, therefore, Hammurabi’s Code was a major step towards establishing Mesopotamia as a real civilization. We have been discussing some of the laws in class. We have discussed the basic principle: “an eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth.” We have also seen the level of harshness some of these laws carry for being broken. Some would say the consequences are very cruel. Here are a few of the 282 laws:
If a builder has built a house for a man, with the result that the house falls down and kills the owner, the builder shall be put to death.
If a son has struck his father, they shall cut off his hand.
If a man has accused another man and has brought a charge of murder against him but has not proved it, the accuser shall be put to death.
If any one steals the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.
If any one opens his ditches to water his crop, but is careless, and the water floods the field of his neighbor, then he shall pay his neighbors corn for his loss.
Answer and share your opinion on one or more of these questions:
Why did Hammurabi make a set of laws?
Why did Hammurabi make the consequences so severe?
What would the world be like today if everybody still followed Hammurabi’s Code? What countries today have the strictest laws (find the answer and a link).
What laws affect you the most in your life? What would you change about today’s laws and rules? (This could be not necessarily laws, but school rules, rules your parents have for you, etc…)