The Law of Hammurabi: The Perfect Code

As for the cases focused in this paper, the Laws of Eshnunna appears to lie as the link in the transition in the formulation of the Law of Hammurabi. For cases that involve adultery the notion of justice is still confined with the old caste system wherein women are inferior as compared to men. Following the text provided by Yaron, it can be said that adultery is represented by the notion of distress in the Law of Eshnunna (Yaron, 1969, p. 57). The cases of adultery will be judged upon the results of the crime committed.

Death will only be the punishment in cases where the distress crime resulted to the death of the distressed (Yaron, 1969, p. 57). As for cases that involves physical injuries, the crime is still treated in a similar fashion as the Law of Ur- Nammu, economically valuated. Crimes that concerns physical injuries are punished through economic compensations for the crimes committed (Yaron, 1969, p. 69). Even physical injuries that resulted to the death of an individual are not punishable by a notion of retaliation that permits death; instead, economic compensation is still prescribed by the Law of Eshnunna.

And lastly, the cases that involve bearing of false witness as of today has no exact and distinct deciphered entry in the Law of Eshnunna. The lack of documentation of this set of laws makes it the least studied among these three sets of laws. The Law of Hammurabi: The Perfect Code The Law of Hammurabi is one of the most popular set of laws that have survived long enough in documentation. This set of laws is one of the most pronounced set of ancient law ever found in contemporary times (Hogan, 2008, p. n. pag. ).

Just like the Law of Ur- Nammu, this set of laws was founded by Hammurabi through the deity of their society- Marduk (Hogan, 2008, p. n. pag. ). This law was easily made as a foundation of the Hammurabi’s society because of the same factors that made most set of laws accepted by its subjects- reverence and fear. Just like the way the Ur leaders’ gods mandated the heavens to the will of the Ur leaders, Hammurabi claims to have the obligation to bring peace, justice and harmony to his subjects (Vincent, 1904, p. 739).

This obligation sparked the existence of the Law of Hammurabi that can be dated back to 1792- 1750 BC (Bible History, 2007, p. n. pag. ). The Law of Hammurabi can be said as the most popular among other Cuneiform laws because of its notion of justice through revenge and retaliations. Lex talionis is one of the main themes pushed forth by this set of law (Vincent, 1904, p. 744). Concentrating on adultery, false witness and injuries; the laws which can be found in the Law of Hammurabi are observably off shoot of its precedent sets of laws such as that of the Law of Ur- Nammu and the Law of Eshnnuna.

As a more recent set of laws, the Law of Hammurabi was cleansed of the common notions of revenge that focus on groups and clans oriented feuds, the Law of Hammurabi came out as a law with inclinations and emphases on individual duties and rights to retaliate (Vincent, 1904, p. 744). In cases that regards to physical injuries and even death, the offended individual has the right to take justice in his or her own hands through retaliation given that they belong to the same social group (Vincent, 1904, p.

744). The Law of Hammurabi through this tenet was able to break away from the common misconception that justice through the Law of Hammurabi was able to break away from the misconception that retaliation and revenge is a right which can be invoked without other burdens and qualifications. The need to belong in the same group shows the specified and specialized social arrangements present in Hammurabi’s society. As for cases on false witness, retaliatory justice still applies.

Those who have been proven to have the intentions and did the acts of bearing false witness will face the punishments which are supposedly due to offended party (Vincent, 1904, p. 744). And lastly, the cases that involve adultery are taken care of in a different light as compared to the other two sets of laws; the different approach of the Law of Hammurabi can be said to be the manifestation of the differences of older societies to new and more developed ones.