Essay Sample on King Hammurabi's Code: Glimpse of Babylonian Society

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1154 Words
Date:  2023-02-27


Hammurabi's code was formally formed by King Hammurabi of Babylonia, who concurred the entire Mesopotamia. The kings' law provided insight that generally serves an opposive part in the current word of living. The codes define what generally represented the governing of King Hammurabi in Babylon. Through the codes, much can be established regarding the Babylon society whereby each class of individual has been defined with specific laws in the codes. These laws served under different situations such as Property and theft, economics and contract, Family and marriage, Assault and personal injury, Responsibility and liability, justice administration, wine and seller and, dept slavery.

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The Hammurabi laws generally seemed to be too unbearable to some individuals of Babylon, ranging from men, women up to children. However, some of the individuals adhered to the laws while others opposed them since not all individuals viewed the laws have inappropriate. Some laws facilitated to destroying of certain individuals, mostly the poor in society. For instance, the law number 6 on Property and theft, which states that for a man who steals valuable components to the palace he shall be killed as well as the man who received the stolen component. Such a law seemed to affect even the unaware individuals, such as the one who received the stolen goods. To him, he might not be aware of whether the components have been stolen. However, some individuals may see that act as a right of execution towards the two individuals since, in them, they believe the entire action is theft.

Further, the code seemed to humiliate social practices comparing to their execution in the current world. For instance, marriage laws as per the code pruned to be very tough among the individuals of the generation that existed during their execution. For example, in the laws on family and Marriage, the law number 128 which stated that, if a man happens to marry a wife and does not draw a contract that was formal to the wife, the woman does not stand to be his wife (Nelson & Lars, 105). In addition, the law number 129 still under family and Marriage stated that if a woman happens to be court cheating with another male who is not her husband, the two of them would be cast into water but if the master of the wife allowed his wife to live, then the ruling will be made in favour of the wife. Based on these laws, it seems women are more favoured more than men, whereby they are favoured in some scenarios, yet the two were involved equally. Further, this can be established in law number 128, whereby men are forced to draw formal contracts in order to marry a woman, and if so, she does not stand to be his wife.

Further, the Hammurabi code seemed to oppress the sector of development in Babylonia. This has been evidenced in various laws reflected in the economics and contract. For instance, law number 53, which states that, for a man that neglects to reinforce the embankment of his land and allows the common irrigation to be swept by the water, the man responsible would responsible whereby he would replace the grains that were lost due to embankment breakage (Cantarella & Eva, 38). Further, the act of oppressing the economy can be evidenced in the law number 117 of the same act on economics and contract whereby it states that if a man has obligated a debt against another man, he will sell or dept his wife, his son or daughter whereby they would serve in the house of their buyer for a period of three years and their release would be made in the fourth year. This generally shows how the codes executed never followed the right track, such as the refund of the dept in another way that does not affect the debtor's family life.

Additionally, the individual right was greatly undermined in the Hammurabi code compared to what is executed in the current worlds individual right act. For instance, several inhuman actions exceeded in the laws of Hammurabi code. According to law number 195 that is contained in the Assault and personal injury, states; If a child happens to strike his father, the law declared the cutting of the child's head. The laws generally consisted of an eye for an eye action. Additionally in the same act on Assault and personal injury law number 197 states that, if an individual of high-class blinds or brakes a bone of a commoner, the responsible individual will weigh and give out 60 shekel of his silver to the commoner. This two law typically demonstrates how the Hummurabi laws of conduct were executed by few individuals who structured laws that only favoured their well-being. The law shows that the few reach individual dominated in forming the laws that were used to rule the entire region of Babylonia.

The oppression of Hammurabi code further can be demonstrated on the role played by women in the society whereby the women were regarded as a form of property. The women had no right to divorce. They were restricted by codes whereby their marriages were bargained by their fathers and their brothers where the contract was negotiated and developed. The women were not regarded in any substantial action but rather a man material that had no say in the society rather should wait to be decided upon. Comparing to their male counterpart, women received some offers that favoured them most, for instance, if the women opted to get out of her marriage, and the husband tends to refuse with the dowry, the court was involved in solving the matter. In case the woman demonstrated her innocence; the husband was instructed to give out the dowry and children whereby the woman returned to her father's home. However, the women were allowed to conduct some simple activities such as buying and selling of properties but not exceeding those ran by their counterpart men.


Generally, Hammurabi's code laws seemed to be very different from current world laws. The law proved to be so unbearable among the Babylonian people a condition that left most of them suffering. Since the codes of laws were drafted by the few reach the individual who only favoured their interest, the condition facilitated to the suffering of the people, mostly men who had no say in matters concerning the law. However, despite the men being humiliated in some incidences, they were considered to be the providers of the family while women were considered as a property that could not make its own decision rather depended on the relatives (the farther and the son) in matters such as marriage decision.

Work Cited

Cantarella, Eva. "Greek law and the family." A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (2011): 31-45.

Nelson, Lars J. "When the Mesopotamian Honeymoon Ends: The Code of Hammurabi's Assumptions about the Roles of Spouses and Problem-Solving Approach to Regulating Marriage." J. Marshall L. Rev. 46 (2012): 105.

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Essay Sample on King Hammurabi's Code: Glimpse of Babylonian Society. (2023, Feb 27). Retrieved from

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