Hammurabi's Code: a Brief Examination

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 541 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2019

Words: 541|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2019

Hammurabi’s Code was devised thousands of years ago in Ancient Babylon by King Hammurabi and inscribed on a seven foot stone slab. It contains around 300 different laws, covering subjects like violent acts, social class, and family law. This system has become a sort of basis for our own laws and social norms nearly 4,000 years later. Hammurabi’s Code is a system of laws that is extremely archaic and is not valid under our modern social and political systems.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

The Babylonians strictly believed in the idea of an eye for an eye, specifically when it came to the nobles, but this typically resulted in excessive punishment rather than fair and reasonable action. The death penalty was given out for petty theft and hands were cut off for assault. Surgeons would lose limbs if they failed at their jobs. This would of course be completely absurd in today’s world where we have a prison system and even criminals have a right to due process and trial by jury.

The code also set forward a very rigid three class structure that was to be followed. Amelu were elite patricians who had aristocratic privileges and were served by the ardu, slaves. Interestingly enough, there were no issues at all if Amelu had children with ardu and it was not considered infidelity as ardu were considered sub-human. Slaves were branded with identification marks that could be surgically removed if they bought their freedom or were freed by their masters. The term mushkenu directly translates to “beggar,” but the term was generally used to refer to anyone who did not own land.

According to Hammurabi, divorce was to be put in motion by the husband, who would in turn also charge the wife dowry. This would result in a serious degradation in the women’s right across the board as well as little to no representation for them in the divorce case, particularly in the case of abusive relationships, a topic that has become much more relevant in today’s social climate. Adultery was punishable by death to both parties involved unless a husband was willing to pardon his wife for the action. There was no concept of a will, so the belongings of deceased people would be distributed amongst their children. However, people could disinherit their children with judicial consent of some sort. Adoption was typically a form of apprenticeship, meaning that if the “father” didn’t properly teach his son a trade he could potentially be sued in court. This system would result in the disruption of familial structures around the world if it was in effect today. These policies take away from the families’ right to make their own decisions regarding their well being, instead entrusting said well being to the government.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

Hammurabi’s Code was a system that is primitive and archaic and should have little influence over our society. The idea of an eye for an eye is inhumane and does more harm than good. The rigid class structure openly endorses the use of slaves, treating them as subhuman and unworthy of basic rights. Finally, the code creates a rigid familial structure that essentially forces government intervention in familial disputes. Such a system is inhumane and essentially dictatorial in nature.

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Hammurabi’s Code: A Brief Examination. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from
“Hammurabi’s Code: A Brief Examination.” GradesFixer, 10 Apr. 2019,
Hammurabi’s Code: A Brief Examination. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Apr. 2024].
Hammurabi’s Code: A Brief Examination [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2024 Apr 13]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now