Hammurabi’s Code of Law

21 Nov
Photo Credit: cvalette via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cvalette via Compfight cc

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…)

Mr. Martin’s new Code of Law (created by the Shooting Stars and Ancient Geeks)

25 Responses to “Hammurabi’s Code of Law”

  1. Mara November 21, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Hamurabi made a code of law to bring justice and fairness to the empires. He made the laws so strict so people will obey and respect them and won’t be tempted to break the law.

  2. Enzo November 21, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    I think Hamurabi made the consequences so severe because he wanted to keep his city in order and if they did not obey the would kill them because he did not want this to spread, that’s what I think.

  3. Advika November 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    If people still followed Hammurabi’s Code, the world would be a much safer place, although the punishments were unfair because they were different for each social class. The Code gave everybody rights, even women and children. Hammurabi made the Code for justice and unity. He let people to have the right to know what the rules were, and he suggested the idea of the government protecting the people. He collected all the original rules in his empire, and combined them to make a code of laws that everyone could follow.

  4. Alessio November 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I think they should put more specific laws about crossing the road in India. One time I saw a car not stopping while a man was crossing and then the man stopped when a cow was walking.

  5. Emilie November 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    I think Hummurabi’s laws are really strict and I think he did tham like These because he don’t want that the People dosen’t feel save in his land and Want to teach them that a eye for a eye is!!!!

  6. Ayumu November 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    For me, I think Hammurabi wants to say that don’t do the something bad that makes my land to bad way. So he is trying to save the himself’s land from bad event.

  7. Min Jeong November 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    In Korea, if somebody kills someone and if the murderer has mental problems, he/she won’t go to jail and they just go to hospital for few years. And I think that’s more dangerous than normal people, so I think we have to change this rule.

    • Mara November 22, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Min Jeong, Do you mean mental hospital? :D

  8. Gyeong Deok November 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I think the last one is fair andnot deadly because untill today, if someone destroys other people properties, he has to pay for them.

  9. CheeseIsAwesome(Prahalad) November 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Mr.Martin,
    I think that Singapore is one of the safest places in the world, but I don’t think that the consequences should be that cruel. I think the worser the crime, the worser the punishment. That seems fair to me. One law I would like to change is that if anyone is caught with more than 16 ounces of drugs shall be punished. I think that any amount of drugs found with that person shall be considered as a punishment.

  10. Natsumi November 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    I think Hammurabi made the code of law strict, to make people obey it.
    If the laws were not strict, people can still break them and just get a light punishment.
    But, I am really surprised about how the laws are strict!!
    If those laws were used today, many people are put to death…
    Because we really might have gotten something that the person who gave us stole.
    Some people might have struck his father before!

    “If any one steals the property of a temple or of a court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.”

    “If a son has struck his father, they shall put to death….”

    I can’t believe it…

    • KBhargav November 22, 2013 at 4:42 am #

      I think Mesopotamia was the safest place because of Hammurabi’s laws before so because of Hammurabi’s Laws many people did not steal and were very careful so they don’t by mistake go against the laws of Hammurabi

  11. SeoYoung November 22, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    I wish some of the laws that has to be change about the animals. Some people torture the animals and if they get caught, they only pay little amount of money. So I wish that rule should be more strict, because animals are also a part of an environment and also has life and feelings. We should care more about them and don’t try to be so mean to them because they are not like us and they don’t talk like humans.

  12. Nao November 22, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    Hammurabi made code of laws because he want to make his city-state good

  13. Abhi November 22, 2013 at 4:44 am #

    Wow! Humurabi’s Laws are REALLY strict. One of the laws once you click on the link were

    5. If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge’s bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.

    THAT is strict! What is the Judges fault if he makes a mistake!?! Hamurabi’s laws are strict, but I think ones like that are too strict and not fair. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes!

  14. Bak Ha November 22, 2013 at 4:44 am #

    The reason of making the code of law was to bring justice to all of the people in the empire. But it wasn’t just fair because depend on different social classes, the law became more loose or more harsh.

  15. Bhavni November 22, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    I think that Hammurabi created a code of law so people would obey them and he thought it would bring justice to the people. Also, it was so that people couldn’t get away with everything. It was a good idea but it also was’t too fair because there would be different laws for the people in different social classes.

  16. Jina November 22, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Hammurabi made the code of law to bring justice to all of people in the empire. We don’t think that it is fair. But back ago, people thought it was fair for all the people in different social classes.
    I think code of law makes people live together because if we do not have laws, we would not be able to trust anyone which makes hard to help each other when they need help like building a house or new technology/inventions. Also, it would be hard to trade because people will become over greedy and thinks that there is no problem of stealing supplies and do not pay back. Therefore, I think Hammurabi made the code of law to bring justice to all of people and to make people live together well.

  17. Pranav November 22, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    I think Hammurabi made the Code of Laws so that there would be peace in the city-state and the people wouldn’t fight with each other . The safest place would be , I think Singapore and then Malaysia .
    This is the link to the website http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/location/10-countries-with-the-toughest-laws-in-the-world/ .

  18. Tarun November 22, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    I learned a lot in this lesson the the only thing that is stuck in my head is that Hammurabi was a very gory king. There are also good that he created the code of law. Before I did not even know about anything called the code of law

  19. Jeonghee November 22, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Hammurabi’s code of law was really STRICT!! If that law was used in now…. many people would be dead. Hammurabi believed that the code of law would help him to bring justice and empires. It wasn’t fair because for example: When a man wanted to kill me and I went to the police and tell them but when don’t have proof I will die, so I think it wasn’t fair for all the people.

  20. Domenic November 22, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    The Code of Law Hammurabi made was very violent and always involved blood and putting people to death. Hammurabi’s code of law was so strict.

  21. Sooji November 22, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Hammurabi made a code of law because he believed that the code of law would help him bring the empire and justice.

  22. Arunveer November 22, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    I think that the law today, should be stricter. Asia isn’t a fairly clean continent, except for South-East Asia. This is because they are more aware and more stricter. Especially Singapore. In fact, they are one of the cleanest countries in the world.

  23. Changhyeon November 22, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    Wow, it seems that code of laws looks organized well.

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