The Legislation Code of Hammurabi is the seal of the Mesopotamian progress. Developed by king Hammurabi, the ruler of Babylon in the eighteenth century B.C. , this dark seven-and-a-half-foot diorite stone stele has the comprehensive legitimate abstract of Antiquity, an accumulation of 282 principles, developed procedures for business communications and set penalties and disciplines to meet the prerequisites of equity, going back to earlier than the Biblical laws.
Hammurabi (c. 1810 BC - 1750 BC) was the sixth king in the Babylonian dynasty, reigning from 1792 BC to 1750 BC in central Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Toppling the kingdoms of Assyria, Larsa, Eshunna, and Mari, Hammurabi started to grow his kingdom all over the Tigris and Euphrates stream valley.
King Hammurabi combined his military and political advances with irrigation ventures and the development of strongholds and sanctuaries observing Babylon’s supporter god, Marduk. In just a few years, Hammurabi had succeeded in uniting all of Mesopotamia under his rule.
The Assyrian kingdom survived yet was compelled to pay tribute amid his rule, and of the real city-states in the area, only Aleppo and Qatna toward the west in the Levant kept up their independence. Nevertheless, one stele of Hammurabi has been discovered as far north as Diyarbekir, where he claims the title “King of the Amorites”.
WHAT IS THE CODE OF HAMMURABI?
The code is best known from a stele composed of black diorite, above seven feet (2.25 meters) high, which is currently in the Louvre Museum in Paris. At its top is a two-and-a-half-foot relief carving of a standing Hammurabi obtaining his investiture from Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. The rest of the seven-foot-five-inch monument is covered with columns of a chiseled cuneiform script in Akkadian language.
Laws and regulations written on this stele is a transcript describing approximately three hundred laws and legal decisions regulating everyday life in the kingdom of Babylon. The legal section of the text uses a common vocabulary and is simplified, for the king preferred to be comprehended by everyone.
The lawful decisions are generally formulated correspondingly: a phrase in the conditional describes an issue of law or social order; it is followed by a decision in the future tense, constructed as the punishment for the accountable party or the settlement of a dilemma: “Should an individual do such and such a thing, such and such a thing will happen to him or her.”
“If a man has destroyed the eye of a man of the gentleman class, they shall destroy his eye …. If he has destroyed the eye of a commoner … he shall pay one mina of silver. If he has destroyed the eye of a gentleman’s slave … he shall pay half the slave’s price.”
REDISCOVERY OF HAMMURABI STELE
The Hammurabi stele was rediscovered in 1901, in Susa, Elam (now Khuzestan, Iran) by the Egyptologist Gustave Jéquier. At that place, they revealed the stele of Hammurabi, broken into three pieces, that had been conveyed to Susa as crown collections of war, most likely by the Elamite ruler Shutruk-Nahhunte in the mid-twelfth century B.C.
The Babylonians comprehended the necessity of truthfulness by all parties in a trial and for court officers to be unencumbered by corruption to ensure the justice system could perform proficiently.
Hammurabi’s Code serves as a window into the prevailing principles of ancient Babylon ”to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak and to see that justice is done to widows and orphans.”