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Hammurabi's Laws

Introduction: Detectives Exploring The Ancient World

Roland Dodds

on 20 June 2013

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Transcript of Hammurabi's Laws

Introduction: Detectives Exploring The Ancient World
Hammurabi was the sixth king of Babylon, ruling from 1792 BC to 1750 BC
Code of Hammurabi: When and Where
The Code of Hammurabi
What type of document is this?
Was the sixth king of Babylon, ruling from 1792 BCE to 1750 BCE
Was the first king of the Babylonian Empire after reuniting the scattered kingdoms
Was a fair and just ruler
Wrote the Code of Hammurabi, one of the first set of written law codes in history in 1755 BCE
If the prisoner die in prison from blows or maltreatment, the master of the prisoner shall convict the merchant before the judge. If he was a free-born man, the son of the merchant shall be put to death; if it was a slave, he shall pay one-third of a mina of gold, and all that the master of the prisoner gave he shall forfeit.
When was the Code of Hammurabi created?

Before the code of Hammurabi was in place, the Babylonian empire was barbaric and people killed each other relentlessly. King Hammurabi saw this and decided to create the law to prevent people from killing each other. He was the only one that could enforce the law because everyone believed that the law was passed to him from the gods. The code of Hammurabi created and enacted in around 1772 BCE. King Hammurabi was later praised greatly for his invention of the code and many future civilizations followed him with the idea of law.

Where was the code of Hammurabi created?

Kingdom of Babylon

Ancient Mesopotamia

Written as a form of Stone carving, Clay, papyrus, silk, or even on walls and animal bones

Eric and Ahmad
The 5 W's: Who Wrote the Code of Hammurabi?
This is one of the laws in the code of Hammurabi I found this law interesting because back in these times this was considered a perfectly just law. Now it is considered a violation of human rights because A you are mistreating humans and B you are putting a price on a human life. What I also found interesting was that if the man was of a higher social standing then the punishment for his death would also be death and it would not be the death of the merchant but that of the son who probably had no hand in the mistreatment so he is being made a scapegoat for his father's crime and you take away another innocent human life.
Hammurabi wrote in the last section of the laws, the epilogue, “I have inscribed my precious pronouncements upon my stela [monument] and set it up before the statue of me, the king of justice, in the city of Babylon.”
Around 1755 BCE, King Hammurabi of Babylon had written a set of codified laws in the Akkadian language during his reign. He had these laws inscribed on to a stone pillar to be displayed for all of Babylon to see. There are various reasons as to why he had done so. The reason provided on the handout was for him to express the fairness people will experience under his rule- even those that were poor or weak. In addition, Hammurabi had created this system with intention to gain praise and approval. Another reason could be, to provide a physical entity to enforce his laws. The stele acts a sanction to the Babylonians' that will bring some control and order among them. It is a constant reminder that their actions will be morally justified and could be subjected to capital punishment. With the threat of death, people will be dejected from committing crimes and, perhaps, this had made Babylon a bit more safer. Furthermore, it also helps convey the divinity of his laws and rule; as most things of importance were engraved on to stone structures. To expand, Babylonians were highly religious and revered at anything that had a link to the gods (e.g. statues). Consequently, they would be obliged to honor these laws because their fear of upsetting the gods dominated any other impulse. Overall, due to the discovery Hammurabi's stele much of Mesopotamia during his rule has been revealed.
Was he an able King
Hammurabi was considered to be fair and able king
transformed a small city-state to a large empire, uniting most of Mesopotamia
waged several military campaigns where he gained control of the Tigris and Euphrates waters and trade routes
protected his people by building walls and watch towers
established law and order (Code of Hammurabi), which organized the people of the empire
even after he died in 1750 BC, his code of law was still respected (king of justice)
Translation of Ancient words
All ancient words have been translated into English so that people can understand them, without knowing how to read cuneiform or hieroglyphs or ancient Chinese character.
Ancient Chinese
The ancient chinese characters in this image is written using the oracle bone script, a script used from 1200 - 1050BC. The
characters in the image corresponds to the twelve
animals of the chinese zodiac.
They are the rat, ox, tiger,
rabbit, dragon, snake, horse,
ram, monkey, chicken, dog
and pig.
David, Taresh, Theeran
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserve Babylonian law code. It was first codified in 1772 BC. It was one of the serval sets of laws in the ancient Near East.
The Discovery of Hammurabi's Law
Since the discovery of the seven foot high monument of Hammurabi's code by Jacques DeMorgan in 1902, historians have been able to discover and infer a ton of information about anicent Mesopotamia, specifically, the significance of Hammurabi's Code. At the top of the seven foot high stele (monument) of Hammurabi's code, was a carved relief of King Hammurabi of Babylon, standing with his hand raised in prayer, in front of him, a seated god, who historians have discovered to be the God Shamash. This sculpture allowed historians to deduce the significance and level of class where the King of the civilization and God were concerned. The king rested at the at the top of the social class, and exercised divine right. The only person higher than him was God himself, and the King was accountable only to God.
Through the depiction of the king raising one hand to the God, this relief indicated to historians that although the king respected and worshiped the Gods, raising his hand in prayer revealed his personal connection with the Gods, something which that the daily citizens of Babylon did not have.
In addition, the relief also portrayed a portrait of God handing the great King Hammurabi a ring and a rod, which historians have discovered to symbolize leadership, and Hammurabi's right to rule. This indicated to historians and ancient Babylonians that Hammurabi was given the right to rule from God himself; divine right. What we can further gather from this was that the ancient Babylonians placed great value on their Gods and creators. This sculpture captured the importance of religion within this ancient civilization and how religion influenced and moulded their daily lives. For example, the Gods supposedly gave these laws to Hammurabi, indicating Hammurabi to be a mouthpiece for the Gods. They believed God's word to be law, and that the King was used merely as a mouthpiece to do God's bidding.
Below the carved relief located the laws, carved in cuneiform, which revealed to historians a great deal about the daily lives (morals and values), beliefs, and ideas of Babylonians, such as equality, and justice (an "eye for an eye" type of retribution). In addition, it revealed the language and method of communication between citizens of ancient Mesopotamia, which was the wedge shaped script called cuneiform, one of the earliest forms of writing.
The size of this massive monument suggested that the people of ancient Mesopotamia believed it to be of high importance, as what comes in great size, comes great value. In addition, this large size indicates that these laws were meant for public display, and not private use. Furthermore, gathered from how well this monument was preserved, the materials used by the ancient Mesopotamians (such as the polished black stone used to make this stele), were long lasting, and easily preserved.
Overall, this seven foot high stele of Hammurabi's code was significant because it allowed historians to deduce the values of the ancient Mesopotamians, their place on the values of religion, the hierarchy where the King was concerned, their method of communication, their materials used when building monuments, their placed value on law and justice, and the timeline in which the first codified laws appeared.
Cuneiform was a form of writing that was used by the people of Mesopotamia. This wedge-shaped script was also used to portray the Code of Hammurabi.
Maps of Mesopotamia
Jacques de Morgan was a French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist. He was the director of Antiquities in Egypt during the 19th century.
In 1901, Egyptologist Gustave Jequier, a member of an expedition headed by Jacques de Morgan, found the stele containing the Code of Hammurabi in what is now Khuzestan, Iran (ancient Susa).
In addition of this, they also found hundreds of ancient objects during the excavations.
Due to people at that time lack of professional knowledge about excavation, they dig enormous trenches through the site, damaged the excavated places and didn't record the exact place where the objects found.
The excavations at Susa were headed by Jacques de Morgan in 1897 and carried on by others until the outbreak of World War I.
What is archeology?
The study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind.
The discipline involves surveyance, excavation and eventually analysis of data collected to learn more about the past.
Liying H, Jiawei L
These pictures basically show where Mesopotamia, in addition to Babylonia was located in ancient times, compared to where it and what would be located there today.
The Extremely Long and Amazing Explanation In Considerably Small Print About Why the Seven Foot High Monument of Hammurabi's Code Was So Important
Keshini & Joy
Keshini & Joy
Keshini & Joy
In the year 22, of the third month of winter, sixth hour of the day [...] among the scribes of the House of Life it was found that a strange Fiery Disk was coming in the sky. It had no head. The breath of its mouth emitted a foul odor. Its body was one rod in length and one rod in width. It had no voice. It came toward His Majesty's house. Their heart became confused through it, and they fell upon their bellies. They [went] to the king, to report it. His Majesty [ordered that] the scrolls [located] in the House of Life be consulted. His Majesty meditated on all these events which were now going on.

After several days had passed, they became more numerous in the sky than ever. They shined in the sky more than the brightness of the sun, and extended to the limits of the four supports of heaven [...] Powerful was the position of the Fiery Disks.

The army of the King looked on, with His Majesty in their midst. It was after the evening meal when the Disks ascended even higher in the sky to the south. Fish and a variety of birds rained down from the sky: a marvel never before known since the foundation of the country. And His Majesty caused incense to be brought to appease the heart of Amun-Re, the god of the Two Lands. And it was [ordered] that the event [be recorded for] His Majesty in the annals of the House of Life [to be remembered] for ever."
1. I am Asshurbanipal, descendant of Asshur and Beltis.
2. son of the great king of Bitriduti (or Eriduti),*
3. whom Asshur and Sin, the lord of crowns, from distant days,
4. the account of his name prophesied to the kingdom
5. and in the body (of his mother was made to) rule Assyria.
6. Shamas, Vul, (and Ishtar in) their supreme powe
7. commanded the establishment of his kingdom.
8. Asshur-ah-iddina (or Esarhaddon), king of Assyria, the father my begetter,
9. the will of Asshur and Beltis, the gods his protectors, fulfilled,
10. who commanded him to form my kingdom.
Who was the author writing for?
Unlike other letters that he had written, such as a letter to Sinidinnam,a builder of temples, where his intended audience was one person. The law code of Hammurabi was written for all the citizens of Babylon. The intended audience was written in the last section of the laws.
Letter to and from Sinidinnam
Stela of Hammurabi's Law Code
"I have inscribed my precious pronouncements upon my stela and set it up before the statue of me, the king of justice, in the
city of Babylon
Life in Ancient Mesopotamia
By: Matthew McKitrick
Life in Ancient Mesopotamia was at times very good, but at other times very bad. With hot summers and long growing seasons, food was plentiful and very few went hungry. Only when the very unpredictable rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates flooded would there be times of grief and death. When the rivers weren't flooding however, the lower class would eat meals consisting of mostly breads made of wheat and barley, while the rich would have meat at most meals. The Code of Hammurabi was created to govern this society and keep order to make the daily lives of the ancient Mesopotamians as peaceful and fair as possible. Education was a privilege only the sons of rich men would enjoy. The average Mesopotamian boy would learn his father's trade oftentimes from his father himself. Women originally had almost an equal place as men in Ancient Mesopotamia, even having representation on the Council of Elders which acted as a government in some places, but as the status of women degraded they were made to stay home to cook, clean, and take care of the property. The gods also had an important part in the lives of the Mesopotamians, as the gods were thought responsible for the floods that ravaged their homes so frequently, therefore all Mesopotamians would strive to please these gods with worship and the construction of Ziggurats. Daily life in Mesopotamia is quite different from our own lives today, but many important aspects of life in those days are carried on today.
Plaque showing daily life in Mesopotamia
The jewlery and average woman would wear
Why Was This Document Written?
Hammurabi wrote the laws because he wanted to keep the powerful from picking on the weak. He wanted fairness for the people who weren't powerful in the society. So it seems like hes a nice guy. But maybe that wasn't the only reason. In one law, he writes "may he examine his case, may he calm his troubled heart, and may he praise me. So it seems as if Hammurabit wanted to be praised by the people. This seems like a big part of the reason why he wrote the laws and put them in public. He wanted the people to have justice, but also so that they can praise him, and say that he did a great job being king.

The sculpture on top of the monument shows Hammurabi praying in front of a god. This picture shows people that he was a religious man. It also shows the god giving him a ring and a rod, which symbolized leadership in Mesopotamia. So according the the sculpture, his right to rule was grandted to him by the gods.
Ben Wei
Kelly Wei
Jimmy & Patricia :)
Inhabitated 5000 years ago by Mesopotamians
One of the oldest cities in the world
Code of Hammurabi was found in Susa
It was abandoned
#25 Why is it important to use the most recent translation when doing your detective work?
It is important to use new translation because scholars are still learning more about the meaning of ancient text which means that recent translations reflect more recent studies about ancient Mesopotamia. These studies show a further understanding of ancient Mesopotamians.
Question 2. Jacques DeMorgan, the director of the excavation of the year 1902, he finds wonderful objects to take back to Paris.
6. Why are the Laws of Hammurabi a primary source?
#16 Why was this document written?
What does Law 22 tell us about life in Ancient Mesopotamia?
Question 1. The discovery of Susa was significant beacause during the excavation the French found many artifacts such as the Code of Hammurabi.
Question 17
5. Why was the discovery of the Laws of Hammurabi significant?
The discovery of the Laws of Hammurabi was significant because it serves as a primary source in which allows historians to reveal important facts about anicient civilizations in Mesopotamia. For example, the carved relief structure at the top of the monument depicts Hammurabi standing before a seated God, who is subsequently handing him a rod and a ring. This act of ceremony represents Hammurabi's right to rule; it was a symbol of worship. This signifies to historians that the ancient Mesopotamians believed Hammurabi's code to divinely ordained. We can infer that the people of Babylonia put great emphasis and value in religion and their Gods, and that what the Gods said through the mouthpiece, the King, was law. This also gives us an insight on where the King and God stood in terms of power and hierarchy. Historians have gone as far as to state that through the depiction of the king raising one hand to the God, it signifies that although the king respected and worshiped the Gods, raising his hand in prayer revealed his personal connection with the Gods. This was a privelege that the daily citizens of Babylon did not have. In addition, based on what historians have been able to gather from the epilogue of the code, the reason for which Hammurabi wished to write theses laws was so that fairness and equality could be provided to people who weren't powerful in society, a viewpoint that was not commonly seen during this time in ancient history. These laws had an "eye for an eye" sort of justice, and has been used as a precedent and basis to several modern day laws. These laws have paved the way for eqaulity rights in our present day society. In addition, Hammurabi wrote these laws to establish him as a fair and able king, something of which historians can look further into for his legacy and contributions to the evolution of the modern world. Furthermore, the epilogue and size of this monument has indicated that Hammurabi was writing for an audience, meaning these laws were intended for public display and use; everyone needed to abide by these rules. What we can further gather from this source is that the materials used in ancient Mesopotamia, such as the polished black stone used to make this monument, was extremely durable and long lasting, as this stele has been so well preserved given its age. We can also gain knowledge from the writing on this stele. Historians can study what the ancient Mesopotamians used as a method of communication, which is later determined to be cuneiform, a wedge shaped script that is one of the earliest forms of writing in history. This allows us to trace where and what our present form of writing has evolved from. In addition, being the first known set of codified laws in history, historians can study people's viewpoints on laws and justice back then, compared to our thoughts and views today in modern society. What has changed? What has remained? If it has changed, WHY has it changed and how? What works and what doesn't? This monument has allowed present day historians to gain knowledge about our ancestors in ancient Mesopotamia, such as their values, morals, beliefs, daily life, form of communication, and power holders, It also gives us an insight on the value ancient Mesopotamians' placed on their views of law, justice, and religion, and how these laws had affected and moulded their daily lives. It has allowed us to mould our daily law system by learning from and studying our ancestors' past mistakes through what worked and what didn't work.
The Laws of Hammurabi are a primary source because this document/monument was produced during the ancient times, specifically during King Hammurabi's reign around 1750 BCE. Since the Laws of Hammurabi were written by King Hammurabi, it gives historians direct evidence and an inside view of ancient Mesopotamian life and its culture. For instance, these laws provided direct evidence on Mesopotamian beliefs, religion, ideas, and values. In addition, this artifact was not written by an individual based on other primary sources, thus proving that the Laws of Hammurabi are a primary source. This primary source has provided a rich understanding to historians about the Mesopotamian civilization.
4.the wiriting of the ancient Mesopotamians called cuneiform.
What do most of the documents
conclude abut Hammurabi's rule?
#26 Why is a primary source that has been translated still a primary source?
Question 18
What does the epilogue tell us about the Mesopotamian people?
Question 18
What do most of the documents
conclude abut Hammurabi's rule?
It is still a primary source because even though the source itself has been translated, the meaning has not been changed or added to it. Therefore, the source will remain the same.
Law 22: "If a man commits a robbery and is then seized, that man shall be killed."
3.Jsacques DeMorgan excavated hundreds of objects that ancient people had made. One of the most famous is the huge moument that has an image and hundreds of lines carved cuniform writing. It is known as Hammurabi's law codes.
Carmen & Veronica
Most documents conclude that
Hammurab was a fair and just king
but that he also wanted to be praised often.
This document was written so King Hammurabi can provide fairness to people who weren't powerful in the society. However, he also wrote the laws so people will praise him and approve of the job that he was doing as King. This is shown when he writes that "...may he calm his trouble heart, and may he praise me."
The epilogue tells us that Mesopotamian People cared about justice, King Hammurabi had a lot of power, and that most people could not read.
Question 22 - Ahmad Qadah
Why did the victim have to establish "before the god" how much silver he lost? What does this tell us about life in Ancient Mesopotamia
If no one knew how much silver the victim has lost during the robbery; he/she will have to stand before a statue of a god and swear to how much he/she has lost
This concept shows that the Mesopotamians valued their trust in the Gods, and that they were held accountable for their actions before the Gods.
Because of the
of giving false statements to the Mesopotamian deities, those victims would dare not provide wrong information to the Gods
#19: What does law 22 tell us about life in Ancient Mesopotamia?
Law 22: "If a man commits a robbery and is then seized, that man shall be killed."
This law tells us that there was an extremely strict justice system in Ancient Mesopotamia. They had the death penalty, and they applied it to crimes involving theft.
We can infer that it was put in place in order to instill fear into the citizens, so they would not dare to commit any crimes, big or small. This kept the citizens within the society's moral bounds, and prevented anyone from causing major conflict.
Unfortunately, we do not know how the Mesopotamians carried out this dealth penalty; what methods they used and where it took place.
#20: What does Law 23 tell us about life in Ancient Mesopotamia?
"If a Robber should not be sezied, the man who has been robbed shall establish the extent of his lost property before the god; and the city and the governor in whose territory and district the robbery was committed shall replace his lost property"
Based on this law, we know that the government in Ancient Mesopotamia cares a lot about their citizens. The victims of a property lost crime does not have to worry about going poor. Their government will help them. This also show the King blame the goverment itself for the crime to happen. (What an amazing King! if only we can have this too...)

This law also tell us their value for god. "Establish the extent of his lost propery before god," it show us that even the law believe god over see everything.
Joy Jiang
I'm so sorry for how long this is. As you can tell, I have impulse issues.
Kelly Wei
Question # 23: From the analysis of these laws, what do we know about life in ancient Mesopotamia?
The laws in the code of Hammurabi tell us that life was very fair, orderly, and just after they were put in place. These laws show that the citizens must have followed them or risk the very harsh punishments that were made clear in the code.
If a man has induced either a male or a female slave from the house of a patrician, or plebeian, to leave the city, he shall be put to death.
This law states that if a man helps a slave escape the homes they work for, he shall be put to death. I thought this law was interesting because Hammurabi's laws are often noted for his evident care for the rights of his citizens, but considers it a crime for the citizens themselves to care about the rights of those who are of a lower status of them. It almost seems like hypocrisy because these laws were made in concern of the rights of those who were considered lower than Hammurabi, but he does not think this concern for others should be practiced by his people. It also goes to show how long the act of slavery existed, and how their maltreatment was established even in law. This sort of maltreatment in the future almost makes sense because it had been practiced for so long, and the punishment for providing these people with help was death. Hammurabi's laws have been considered the basis of the legal system, but some of his laws (such as this one), show that they are responsible for proliferating some (unknowingly) immoral ideology as well.
Primary source: Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, and period.
Example: The Epic of Gilgamesh was the first written epic poem and one of the oldest pieces of literature in the world. It was a eulogy to Gilgamesh, King of Uruk. It was originally written on 12 clay tablets in cuneiform script. (2750-2500 BCE). Asmaa Elsamanh
#9 The Stele of Hammurabi is significant because the Stele has the most well known laws of civilization carved into it. The stele has the laws carved into it , also , has the Hammurabi himself with a God. This picture shows the God giving Hammurabi a pole of power. It tells the people of Babylon that Hammurabi was given the power by the Gods themselves. - Asmaa Elsamnah
Question #24 What does law 148 tell about life in Ancient Mesopotamia?
Ben Wei
Law 148 tell about how marriage was judged in Ancient Mesopotamia. Hammarabi wanted everyone to be happy. He made a law saying that if the wife is terminally sick and will die, the husband has the right to find another wife, but the husband must take care of the first wife until she passes away. I felt this was fair for everyone because the dying wife is still taken care of instead of being left to die, and the husband is able to find a new wife to start a new family with.
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