Law codes serve two major functions, to promote order and enforce stability. Not all law codes are the same. They differ depending on the influences acting upon the ruler, and the region the laws are created to work for. Even so, the laws all serve the same purpose. Like Ashoka’s Pillars and Hammurabi’s code. Asoka’s laws and Hammurabi’s laws differ on the grounds of social systems, yet relate on the idea of technology. The social aspects of the law codes of Hammurabi and Ashoka differ greatly. Ashoka’s laws reflected a strong belief in ethics and dharma resulting in a dynasty that lacked a caste system.
Hammurabi’s laws on the other hand, focused more on punishment and social status. Mortality took a strong hold in Ashoka’s laws mainly because Buddhism and Jainism influenced his views. These two religions rejected the Hindu belief of the caste system and also influenced Ashokas definition of Dharma. One law plainly stated, “Dharma is good, but what does Dharma consist of? It consists of a few sins and many good deeds, of kindness, liberty, truthfulness, and purity. ” This law clearly satisfied the views of all the religions making sure mortality and all followed dharma.
Ashokas laws being based off religious ideas also encouraged ethical social behavior. Ashoka let his people define their own views on mortality as long as they were moral in daily life giving them more flexibility. Ashoka’s law code had also set into place Mortality Ministers who were used to promote consciousness social behavior throughout his empire. This was because mortality and “self” were two highly promoted ideas and kept crime rates low. Asoka ‘s laws on punishment were influenced by the Buddhist and Jain religion’s dislike of violence.
His laws lacked severe punishment because of these views, but Ashoka made it clear that he had the right to punish despite his beliefs in order to lower the crime rate. In contrast, Hammurabi’s laws were solely based on the enforcement of the social status and punishment. Punishment was used in order to lower crime rates and enforce order. Hammurabi was not a compassionate or forgiving ruler, but a harsh and strict one. Hammurabi’s rule proved that he wanted a centralized government and he wanted compensation for those who became injured or harmed on a mistake of another person.
His law code enforced the concept of an eye for an eye. For example, laws 196 and 200 state, “If a man has put out the eye of a free man, they shall put out his eye. If a man knocks out the tooth of a free man equal in rank to himself, they shall knock out his tooth. ” This not only shows that rank in the cast system is important in punishment, but Hammurabi wanted the punishment to fit the crime. In Hammurabi’s code, a caste system is enforced and slaves are part of that system.
The caste system played a key role throughout Hammurabi’s law code as shown through his laws regarding different wages and medical payments for different caste levels Hammurabi’s law code also enforced severe punishment for wrong doings. His laws did not promote the idea of mortality in any way like Ashoka’s laws. Even though the law codes of Ashoka and Hammurabi differ on the aspect of social standards, they are similar in the fact that both have an effective system of communication caused by technology, and both use a visual representation to enforce laws.
Hammurabi uses large pillars with the laws inscribed on them in order to ensure stability and create order. This is proven to be true because the laws are on large pillars, so all can see them. Also, it is easier to acknowledge the laws if they are always there and become constant. Ashoka’s laws are also visually represented on pillars as well as rocks and cave walls. Fourteen Rock Edicts were carved on rocks along roadsides. This made it possible for entering travelers, or traders to know the laws of that specific area and serve as a continuous reminder of what is expected.
At least ten Pillar Edicts were placed in population centers; this was also a way for the people to be constantly reminded of the laws. The placement of the laws in popular areas makes sure that all the people see the laws to know how to behave. It is important to realize that Hammurabi and Ashoka were making technological advancements. The visual representation of laws is influential to the people because it is shown to them that the laws need to be enforced and followed, they are set in stone and will not be changed.
Representation of the laws not only become a constant reminder of the laws, but also shows technological advancement in writing and forming a better communication system. Asoka’s laws and Hammurabi’s laws differ on the grounds of social systems, yet relate on the idea of technology. The purpose of building these specific law codes was to set boundaries and guidelines for the people to follow in order to create stability. The laws also resulted in a sense of order because all the people were behaving in the same manner and all the people know what is expected of themselves and the people around them.