A Brief Look at the Code of Hammurabi.

Essay by meetthedecline October 2005

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In his position as King of Babylonia, Hammurabi managed to

organize the world's first code of laws and establish Babylon as the

dominant and successful Amorite city of its time. "Records written on

clay tablets show that Hammurabi was a very capable administrator and

a successful warrior. His rule spanned from 1792 B.C. to 1750 B.C.

When he became king in 1792, he was still young, but had already

become entrusted with many official duties in his administration"

(Grolier). In the early years of his reign, Hammurabi mostly

participated in traditional activities, such as repairing buildings,

digging canals, and fighting wars. Yet later in his rule, Hammurabi

organized a unique code of laws, the first of its kind, therefore

making himself one of the world's most influential leaders.

Hammurabi was primarily influential to the world because of his

code of laws. This code consisted of 282 provisions, systematically

arranged under a variety of subjects.

He sorted his laws into groups

such as family, labor, personal property, real estate, trade, and

business. This was the first time in history that any laws had been

categorized into various sections. This format of organization was

emulated by civilizations of the future. For example, Semitic cultures

succeeding Hammurabi's rule used some of the same laws that were

included in Hammurabi's code. Hammurabi's method of thought is evident

in present day societies which are influenced by his code. Modern

governments currently create specific laws, which are placed into

their appropriate family of similar laws. Hammurabi had his laws

recorded upon an eight foot high black stone monument. Hammurabi based

his code on principles like, the strong should not injure the weak,

and that punishment should fit the crime. As for punishment, "legal

actions were initiated under the code by written pleadings; testimony

was taken...