Hammurabi's Code: How He Justified His Actions
As he conquered other cities and his empire grew he saw the need to unify groups he controlled, he was concerned about keeping order in his kingdom. In order to achieve this goal, he needed one universal set of laws for all the people he conquered thus he created the Hammurabi code. The code of Hammurabi is the most remarkable and complete code of ancient law that we have. The code can be found on a stele, a stone slab usually to commemorate military victories in the ancient world. His code, a collection of 282 laws and standards, stipulated rules for commercial interactions and set fines and punishments to meet the requirements of justice.
Most of his subjects were farmers. The people lived in citystates surrounded by fields and watered by irrigation canals that were fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. After his victories at Larsa and Mari, Hammurabi's thoughts of war gave way to thoughts of peace. These, in turn, gave way to thoughts of justice. In the 38th year of his rule, Hammurabi had 282 laws carved on a large, pillarlike stone called a stele. Together, these laws have been called Hammurabi's Code. Historians believe that several of these inscribed steles were placed around the kingdom, though only one has been found intact.
Hebrew civilization followed these norms and never questioned their morality. These principles reigned in the western society in the Middle Ages up to the twentieth century. Greek and Roman legal systems were based on the two codes and, in their turn, influenced development of legal system of all European countries as the Roman Empire had a huge territory and imposed their laws in its numerous colonies. It is necessary to add that Christianity is closely connected with Judaism as the two religions refer to the Old Testament as one of major sources of knowledge (Copan, 2008).
Therefore, he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws. These laws were reviewed and some were changed or eliminated before compiling his final list of 282 laws. Despite what many people believe, this code of laws was not the first.
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