The Code of Hammurabi

Length: 3 Pages 833 Words

The law code developed by King Hammurabi had a seemingly cruel and unusual system of punishment. The 282 case laws include economic provisions (prices, tariffs, trade, and commerce), family law (marriage and divorce), as well as criminal law (assault, theft) and civil law (slavery, debt). Despite the number of differences in punishment, there are significant similarities between our laws today and Hammurabi’s code of laws. The basis of Hammurabi’s law is that of equal retaliation, comparable to the Semitic law of “an eye for an eye.” The law offers protection to all classes of Babylonian society; it seeks to protect the weak and the poor, including women, children, and slaves, against injustice at the hands of the rich and powerful. This has several parallels to our laws today; they were created to protect all people equally, rich or poor, black or white, and accordingly. There also is a very significant contrast with our laws, in that most punishment today isn’t as severe. Hammurabi’s code placed a great value on life. In our society, capital punishment is reserved for a very few number of crimes. Only is murder considered a capital crime, and even then sometimes there must be further circumstances. Today, w Continue...

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This is also partially true of today's laws and court system. Today if a judge makes a mistake, an appeals court can overturn his judgement, but that judge won't be punished in any other way other than reputation. This law shows two enormous differences between our legal system and Hammurabi's code of laws. Another large contrast is in the fifth law which states, "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. Also, our society doesn't condone revenge against criminals. Hammurabi had very harsh punishments. Hammurabi's code of laws definitely had an impact on society. He won't be fired, and certainly not fined. Many civilizations used him as a precedent to create their own legal systems. Penalties of Hammurabi's code varied according to the status of the offenders and the circumstances of the offenses. First, individuals today can't bring charges to criminal court, we have public attorneys assigned to that job. The third law states, "If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death. Today, we give value to the guilty party's life, and punish respectively. Today the people decide the laws and punishment as a whole.


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