Hammurabi's Code: How He Justified His Actions
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.
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.
At any rate, the Mosaic Law appears in the Old Testament and it also included severe punitive measures. As regards the capital punishment, the laws say “[T]hou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (as cited in Balmer, 2008, p. 784). Therefore, retributive justice has been the norm for people since ancient times. 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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