Code of Hammurbi

Essay by afreyreCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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The Code of Hammurabi

There have been many bodies of laws created and implemented into various civilizations throughout the course of history. The Code of Hammurabi is one of the most well known bodies of laws of all developed around 1792 B.C.E. by King Hammurabi of Babylon during his rule. The need for a civil society and the classical ideas of authority in the Old Babylonian Empire lead to the development and publication of these laws. "The Code is considered the first important legal code known to historians for its comprehensive coverage of topics and widespread application" (Nagarajan). The examination of the Code of Hammurabi is an excellent source to get a glimpse of how empires of the ancient world were ruled and what they wished to achieve as a society.

In 1792 B.C.E. Hammurabi became king of Babylon where he ruled for forty-three years. When Hammurabi came into power, the territory of his kingdom was some 60 by 160 kilometers in size, which he eventually expanded by launching several wars of conquest (Nagarajan).

Once his conquests were over, Hammurabi wanted to make his people safe and prosperous again. It was around this time that the king developed his code that described his visions, values and laws he had for his kingdom. He allowed farming to flourish by digging irrigation canals in the lands he had conquered. The king also built fortresses and walls in order to provide protection to the people (Nagarajan). Although the king did much to keep his people prosperous, Hammurabi's dominant vision for his kingdom was that of justice. In the epilogue of his code, it states, "Let the oppressed man who has a cause go before my statue (called "King of Justice‟) and then have the inscription on my monument read out...