The Law Code of Hammurabi

The laws that govern the world of today weren’t without some form of basis or foundation to go off of. As with most subjects, a precedent of sorts was established in the past. In particular, the Law Code of Hammurabi, who was a Babylonian ruler, administered a long list of laws that were depicted as originating from the gods themselves. It is through the creation of these rules that the differences between social standings and distinct classes, as well as the general insight into the society of that time frame are clearly evident.

Even as this body of laws is claimed to have been bestowed upon by the gods, it is questionable if there wasn’t some degree of bias in their design, despite the endeavors to put the differing classes in equal terms as far as committing crimes went. It is through this body of laws that the society of today has been shaped as it has, even if indirectly and with much refinement. The age-old era of ancient Mesopotamia during which Hammurabi ruled was a time where the word of the gods was weighted heavily.

In the minds of the monarchy, as well as the people, the laws set in place which were derived from the word of these gods put a certain perspective in place. And that perspective was that by violating the laws, it was an act of disregarding the god’s heavenly word. It was not only a means of controlling how the lower class individuals in the social status of the society would adhere to. Everyone was meant to abide by these laws, commoner or noble, as the principle ideal for those that broke the law would be subject to “an eye for an eye” sort of punishment.

There was some degree of exceptions, however, which is especially true in the face of the aforementioned social statuses. In those times, an ordinary man harming someone of higher social standing, such as a noble, would be punished much more severely as opposed to him harming another ordinary man. On the other hand, for those holding power in terms of the political authority, they were meant to be handled specially as a result of their wrongful deeds.

Indeed, the laws imparted grave penalties to those that committed wrongdoings without much need for details, though with an unusual exception, which was the casting of one’s self into the river. The ability to swim was absent in that period of time. Thusly, those that chose such a fate would at the mercy of “fate” in whether they would drown or be washed onto shore. In addition, these laws were also veered towards preserving families back then. Instead of outright death and execution for, say, the wife of a married couple, she was instead cast into the river for most of her crimes.

Sometimes, had a crime been committed with her directly involved, she was left blameless in certain circumstances, such as if they had an affair but she never engaged in any manner of intercourse. Instead, the man involved would receive the death penalty, denoting the seriousness of adultery. There are some cases in which the woman committing the crime could be pardoned at the discretion of her husband as well. Though the degree and severity of the laws are a little too substantial in their punishments, their fundamental core makes some amount of sense.

There is a necessity to enforce rules and regulations, after all. Seeing as the Mesopotamian civilization of the old incorporated every aspect of their life in religion, it is likely the basis by which the laws truly relate. Without a doubt, the Mesopotamians used religion to govern every manner of activity in their lives, ranging from political and military to social and nature. It is because they believed their very existence for being put on Earth was to execute the will of the gods. And the number laws Hammurabi fashioned seemed to serve that very purpose, especially in part to his status as king.

Kingship was similarly bestowed upon man from the gods. Being the men selected by them on earth, they are given the so-called authority to convey whatever messages they please without much of any protest involved. While in this ancient time, laws were believed to have been devised from the gods. Since then, laws have been constructed by the people themselves in a lot of countries and societies. Instead of the gods, man has determined what it believes to be right and wrong, and only minimally and indirectly references religion in its context. Most of those times, it isn’t a single man deciding either.

A large body of people in varying parts of the government weighs and evaluates the various bills and laws of today before they truly manifest themselves as enforceable. Furthermore, death is an uncommon nowadays as a form of punishment for breaking these laws, at the most being imprisoned for life for severe crimes. Standards have changed and varied with time and the development of cultures in several parts of the world. Some cultures very well enacted similar laws even today. Nevertheless, societies have advanced and progressed significantly since the ancient Mesopotamian era.

In accordance, laws have changed as well from the presumably early of laws formed in a given civilization. Works Cited I. Title of Document Reviewed: The Legal Code of Hammurabi II. Western Civilization: A Brief History, Complete [Paperback] By Marvin Perry, Publisher: Wadsworth-Cengage Publishing; 10th Edition 2012 III. Link Used: http://www. fordham. edu/Halsall/ancient/hamcode. asp Link Obtained from the following approved source: Internet Medieval History Sourcebook: Link: http://www. fordham. edu/Halsall/sbook. asp