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The Code of Hammurabi is a
Babylon Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centu ...

Babylon
ian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
, purportedly by
Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
, sixth king of the
First Dynasty of Babylon The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and the subsequent Isin-Larsa period. The chronology of the first dynasty o ...
. The primary copy of the text is inscribed on a
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extrusi ...

basalt
or
diorite Diorite ( ) is an intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock formed by the slow cooling underground of magma (molten rock) that has a moderate content of silica and a relatively low content of alkali metals. It is Intermediate composition, inter ...

diorite
stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...

stele
tall. The stele was discovered in 1901, at the site of
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
in present-day Iran, where it had been taken as plunder six hundred years after its creation. The text itself was copied and studied by Mesopotamian scribes for over a millennium. The stele now resides in the
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
. The top of the stele features an image in
relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the ...
of Hammurabi with
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

Shamash
, the Babylonian
sun god A solar deity (also sun goddess or sun god) is a sky deity The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky. The day lit sky deities are typ ...

sun god
and god of justice. Below the relief are about 4,130 lines of
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
text: one fifth contains a prologue and epilogue in poetic style, while the remaining four fifths contain what are generally called the laws. In the prologue, Hammurabi claims to have been granted his rule by the gods "to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak". The laws are
casuistic Casuistry ( ) is a process of reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectua ...
, expressed as "if... then"
conditional sentences Conditional (if then) may refer to: *Causal conditional, if X then Y, where X is a cause of Y *Conditional probability, the probability of an event A given that another event B has occurred *Conditional proof, in logic: a proof that asserts a con ...
. Their scope is broad, including, for example,
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its env ...
,
family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the ''law of domestic relations'') is an area of the that deals with matters and . Overview Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: * , s, and s: ** Entry into legall ...
,
property law Property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to , alter, , , ...
, and
commercial law Commercial law, also known as mercantile law or trade law, is the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of Legal person, persons and business engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales. It is often considered ...
. Modern scholars responded to the Code with admiration, at its perceived fairness and respect for the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
, and at the complexity of Old Babylonian society. There was also much discussion of its influence on the
Mosaic Law The Law of Moses ( he, תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה ), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the fi ...
. Scholars quickly identified , the "eye for an eye" principle, as underlying the two collections. Debate among
Assyriologists Assyriology (from Greek , ''Assyriā''; and , '' -logia'') is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of Assyria and the rest of ancient Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσο ...
has since centred around several aspects of the Code: its purpose, its underlying principles, its language, and its relation to earlier and later law collections. Despite the uncertainty surrounding these issues, Hammurabi is regarded outside Assyriology as an important figure in the history of law, and the document as a true legal code. The
U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol
has a relief portrait of Hammurabi alongside those of other lawgivers, and there are replicas of the stele in numerous institutions, including the
headquarters of the United Nations The United Nations is Headquarters, headquartered in New York City in a complex designed by a board of architects led by Wallace Harrison and built by the architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz. The complex has served as the official headquarter ...

headquarters of the United Nations
in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
and the
Pergamon Museum The Pergamon Museum (; ) is a listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, in Wal ...

Pergamon Museum
in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
.


Background


Hammurabi

Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
(or Hammurapi), the sixth king of the
Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian language, Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian language, Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic lan ...
First Dynasty of Babylon The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and the subsequent Isin-Larsa period. The chronology of the first dynasty o ...
, ruled from 1792 to 1750 BC (
middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions and texts customarily record events in terms of a succession of officials or rulers: "in the year X of ki ...
). He secured Babylonian dominance over the
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
n plain through military prowess, diplomacy, and treachery. When Hammurabi inherited his father Sin-Muballit's throne,
Babylon Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centu ...

Babylon
held little local sway; the local hegemon was Rim-Sin of
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures ...
. Hammurabi waited until Rim-Sin grew old, then conquered his territory in one swift campaign, leaving his organisation intact. Later, Hammurabi betrayed allies in
Eshnunna Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar in Diyala Governorate Diyala Governorate ( ar, محافظة ديالى ) or Diyala Province is a Governorates of Iraq, governorate in eastern Iraq. Provincial government *Governor: Muthana al-Timimi *Deputy Governo ...
,
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
, and
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...
to gain their territories. Hammurabi had an aggressive foreign policy, but his letters suggest he was concerned with the welfare of his many subjects and was interested in law and justice. He commissioned extensive construction works, and in his letters, he frequently presents himself as his people's shepherd. Justice is also a theme of the prologue to the Code, and "the word translated 'justice' []... is one whose root runs through both prologue and epilogue".


Earlier law collections

Although Hammurabi's Code was the first Mesopotamian law collection discovered, it was not the first written; several earlier collections survive. These collections were written in
Sumerian
Sumerian
and
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
. They also purport to have been written by rulers. There were almost certainly more such collections, as statements of other rulers suggest the custom was widespread. The similarities between these law collections make it tempting to assume a consistent underlying legal system. As with the Code of Hammurabi, however, it is difficult to interpret the purpose and underlying legal systems of these earlier collections, prompting numerous scholars to question whether this should be attempted. Extant collections include: * The
Code of Ur-Nammu The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known law code A code of law, also called a law code or legal code, is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time t ...
of
Ur
Ur
. * The Code of Lipit-Ishtar of
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countrie ...
. * The
Laws of EshnunnaThe Laws of Eshnunna (abrv. LE) are inscribed on two cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the earl ...
(written by Bilalama or by
Dadusha Dadusha (reigned c. 1800–1779 BC) was one of the kings of the central Mesopotamian city Eshnunna, located in the Diyala River, Diyala Valley. He was the son of the Eshnunna king Ipiq-Adad II (reigned c. 1862–1818 BC). Although previously kings o ...
). * Another collection, which Martha Roth calls the "Laws of X", but which may simply be the end of the Code of Ur-Nammu. There are additionally thousands of documents from the practice of law, from before and during the Old Babylonian period. These documents include contracts, judicial rulings, letters on legal cases, and reform documents such as that of
Urukagina Uru-ka-gina, Uru-inim-gina, or Iri-ka-gina ( sux, ; 24th century BC, middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions and texts c ...
, king of Lagash in the mid-3rd millennium BC, whose reforms combatted corruption. Mesopotamia has the most comprehensive surviving legal corpus from before the ''Digest'' of Justinian, even compared to those from
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
.


Copies


Louvre stele

The first copy of the text found, and still the most complete, is on a
stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...

stele
. The stele is now displayed on the ground floor of the
Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Fr ...

Louvre
, in Room 227 of the Richelieu wing. Scholars are divided as to the material of the stele. Some, including the Louvre and Martha Roth, have stated that it is
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extrusi ...

basalt
. However, others, including Marc Van De Mieroop and Father Jean-Vincent Scheil—the French
Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the C ...
and Assyriologist who wrote the Code's —have stated that it is
diorite Diorite ( ) is an intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock formed by the slow cooling underground of magma (molten rock) that has a moderate content of silica and a relatively low content of alkali metals. It is Intermediate composition, inter ...

diorite
. At the top is an image of Hammurabi with
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

Shamash
, the Babylonian
sun god A solar deity (also sun goddess or sun god) is a sky deity The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky. The day lit sky deities are typ ...

sun god
and god of justice. Below the image are about 4,130 lines of
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
text: One fifth contain a prologue and epilogue, while the remaining four fifths contain what are generally called the laws. Near the bottom, seven columns of the laws, each with more than eighty lines, were polished and erased in antiquity. The stele was found in three large fragments and reconstructed. It is high, with a circumference is at the summit and at the base. Hammurabi's image is high and wide. The Louvre stele was found at the site of the ancient Elamite city of
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
. Susa is in modern-day
Khuzestan Province Khuzestan Province (also spelled Xuzestan; fa, استان خوزستان ''Ostān-e Khūzestān'') is one of the 31 provinces of Iran A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from th ...
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
(Persia at the time of excavation). The stele was excavated by the French Archaeological Mission under the direction of
Jacques de MorganImage:Jacques de Morgan 2.jpeg, Jacques Jean Marie de Morgan (1892) Jean-Jacques de Morgan (3 June 1857, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Loir-et-Cher – 14 June 1924) was a French people, French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist. He was the di ...

Jacques de Morgan
. Father
Jean-Vincent Scheil
Jean-Vincent Scheil
published the initial report in the fourth volume of the ''Reports of the Delegation to Persia'' (). According to Scheil, the stele's fragments were found on the tell of the Susa acropolis (), between December 1901 and January 1902. The few, large fragments made assembly easy. Scheil hypothesised that the stele had been taken to Susa by the Elamite king
Shutruk-Nakhunte Šutruk-Nakhunte was king of Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was ...
and that he had commissioned the erasure of several columns of laws to write his legend there. Roth suggests the stele was taken as plunder from Sippar, where Hammurabi lived towards the end of his reign.


Other copies

Fragments of a second and possibly third stele recording the Code were found along with the Louvre stele at Susa. Over fifty manuscripts containing the laws are known. They were found not only in Susa but also in Babylon,
Nineveh Nineveh (; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē; akk, ) was an ancient Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th ...
,
Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫܘܪ ''Āšūr''; Old Persian ''Aθur'', fa, آشور: ''Āšūr''; he, אַשּׁוּר: ', ar, اشور), ...

Assur
,
Borsippa Borsippa (Sumerian: BAD.SI.(A).AB.BAKI; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Camb ...
,
Nippur Nippur (Sumerian: ''Nibru'', often logographically recorded as , EN.LÍLKI, "Enlil City;"The Cambridge Ancient History: Prolegomena & Prehistory': Vol. 1, Part 1. Accessed 15 Dec 2010. AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian l ...
,
Sippar Sippar (: , Zimbir) was an ian and later n city on the east bank of the river. Its ' is located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah near in 's , some north of and southwest of . The city's ancient name, Sippar, could also refer to its sis ...
, Ur, Larsa, and more. Copies were created during Hammurabi's reign, and also after it, since the text became a part of the scribal curriculum. Copies have been found dating from one thousand years after the stele's creation, and a catalogue from
the library
the library
of
Neo-Assyrian The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform: ''mat Aš-šur KI'', "Country of the Assur, city of Ashur (god), god Aššur"; also phonetically ''mat Aš-šur'') was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and becam ...

Neo-Assyrian
king
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal, also spelled Assurbanipal, Asshurbanipal and Asurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbrevi ...
(685–631 BC) lists a copy of the "judgments of Hammurabi". The additional copies fill in most of the stele's original text, including much of the erased section.


Early scholarship

The of the Code was published by Father Jean-Vincent Scheil in 1902, in the fourth volume of the ''Reports of the Delegation to Persia'' (). After a brief introduction with details of the excavation, Scheil gave a transliteration and a free translation into French, as well as a selection of images. Editions in other languages soon followed: in German by Hugo Winckler in 1902, in English by C. H. W. Johns in 1903, and in Italian by Pietro Bonfante, also in 1903. The Code was thought to be the earliest Mesopotamian law collection when it was discovered in 1902—for example, C. H. W. Johns' 1903 book was titled ''The Oldest Code of Laws in the World''. The English writer
H. G. Wells Herbert George Wells"Wells, H. G."
Revised 18 May 2015. ''
included Hammurabi in the first volume of ''
The Outline of History ''The Outline of History'', subtitled either "The Whole Story of Man" or "Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind", is a work by H. G. Wells Herbert George Wells
'', and to Wells too the Code was "the earliest known code of law". However, three earlier collections were discovered afterwards: the Code of Lipit-Ishtar in 1947, the Laws of Eshnunna in 1948, and the Code of Ur-Nammu in 1952. Early commentators dated Hammurabi and the stele to the 23rd century BC. However, this is an earlier estimate than even the " ultra-long chronology" would support. The Code was compiled near the end of Hammurabi's reign. This was deduced partly from the list of his achievements in the prologue. Scheil enthused about the stele's importance and perceived fairness, calling it "a moral and political masterpiece". C. H. W. Johns called it "one of the most important monuments in the history of the human race". He remarked that "there are many humanitarian clauses and much protection is given the weak and the helpless", and even lauded a "wonderful modernity of spirit". John Dyneley Prince called the Code's discovery "the most important event which has taken place in the development of Assyriological science since the days of and ". Charles Francis Horne commended the "wise law-giver" and his "celebrated code".
James Henry Breasted James Henry Breasted (; August 27, 1865 – December 2, 1935) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of ...
noted the Code's "justice to the widow, the orphan, and the poor", but remarked that it "also allows many of the old and naïve ideas of justice to stand". Commentators praised the advanced society they believed the Code evinced. Several singled out perceived
secularism Secularism is the principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...

secularism
: Owen Jenkins, for example, but even Charles Souvay for the ''
Catholic Encyclopedia The ''Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church'' (also referred to as the ''Old Catholic Encyclopedia'' and the ''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'') i ...
'', who opined that unlike the
Mosaic Law The Law of Moses ( he, תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה ), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the fi ...
the Code was "founded upon the dictates of reason". The question of the Code's influence on the Mosaic Law received much early attention. Scholars also identified Hammurabi with the Biblical figure
Amraphel In the Hebrew Bible, Amraphel ( he, אַמְרָפֶל, translit=’Amrāp̄el; el, Αμαρφάλ, Amarphál; la, Amraphel) was a king of Shinar (Sumer) in Book of Genesis 14, who invaded Canaan along with other kings under the leadership of Che ...
, but this proposal has since been abandoned.


"Frame"


Relief

The relief appears to show Hammurabi standing before a seated Shamash. Shamash wears the horned crown of divinity and has a solar attribute, flames, spouting from his shoulders. Contrastingly, Scheil, in his , identified the seated figure as Hammurabi and the standing figure as Shamash. Scheil also held that the scene showed Shamash dictating to Hammurabi while Hammurabi held a scribe's
stylus A stylus (plural styli or styluses) is a writing utensil A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing. Writing consists of different figures, lines, and or forms. Most of these items can be also used for othe ...

stylus
, gazing attentively at the god. Martha Roth lists other interpretations: "that the king is offering the laws to the god; that the king is accepting or offering the emblems of sovereignty of the rod and ring; or—most probably—that these emblems are the measuring tools of the rod-measure and rope-measure used in temple-building". Hammurabi may even be imitating Shamash. It is certain, though, that the draughtsman showed Hammurabi's close links to the divine realm, using composition and iconography.


Prologue

The prologue and epilogue together occupy one-fifth of the text. Out of around 4,130 lines, the prologue occupies 300 lines and the epilogue occupies 500. They are in ring composition around the laws, though there is no visual break distinguishing them from the laws. Both are written in poetic style, and, as William W. Davies wrote, "contain much... which sounds very like braggadocio". The 300-line prologue begins with an
etiology Etiology (pronounced ; alternatively: aetiology or ætiology) is the study of causation or origination. The word is derived from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), ...
of Hammurabi's royal authority (1–49).
Anu , image=File:Cuneiform sumer dingir.svg , caption=Ur III Sumerian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active u ...

Anu
m, the Babylonian
sky god The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheism, polytheistic and monotheism, monotheistic, have deity, deities associated with the sky. The day lit sky deities are typically distinct from the night time sk ...
and king of the gods, granted rulership over humanity to
Marduk Marduk (Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the C ...
. Marduk chose the centre of his earthly power to be Babylon, which in the real world worshipped him as its tutelary god. Marduk established the office of kingship within Babylon. Finally, Anum, along with the Babylonian
wind god A wind god is a god who controls the wind(s). Air deities may also be considered here as wind Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On the surface of the Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. Winds are commonly classified by ...
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a ...
, chose Hammurabi to be Babylon's king. Hammurabi was to rule "to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak" (37–39: ). He was to rise like Shamash over the Mesopotamians (the , literally the "black-headed people") and illuminate the land (40–44).'s line numbering, 's translation. The line numbers may seem low, since the CDLI edition does not include sections not found on the Louvre stele. Hammurabi then lists his achievements and virtues (50–291). These are expressed in noun form, in the Akkadian first person singular nominal sentence construction "
ounOun or OUN may refer to People *Ahmed Oun Ahmed Oun ( ar, احمد عون ; born c. 1946) was a Major General in the Libyan_Army_(1951%E2%80%932011), Libyan Armed Forces. He was the head of Technical Affairs and Heavy weapons in the Ministry of Def ...
.. " ("I am
ounOun or OUN may refer to People *Ahmed Oun Ahmed Oun ( ar, احمد عون ; born c. 1946) was a Major General in the Libyan_Army_(1951%E2%80%932011), Libyan Armed Forces. He was the head of Technical Affairs and Heavy weapons in the Ministry of Def ...
). The first nominal sentence (50–53) is short: "I am Hammurabi, the shepherd, selected by the god Enlil" (). Then Hammurabi continues for over 200 lines in a single nominal sentence with the delayed to the very end (291). Hammurabi repeatedly calls himself , "pious" (lines 61, 149, 241, and 272). The metaphor of Hammurabi as his people's shepherd also recurs. It was a common metaphor for
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
ern kings, but is perhaps justified by Hammurabi's interest in his subjects' affairs. His affinities with many different gods are stressed throughout. He is portrayed as dutiful in restoring and maintaining temples and peerless on the battlefield. The list of his accomplishments has helped establish that the text was written late in Hammurabi's reign. After the list, Hammurabi explains that he fulfilled Marduk's request to establish "truth and justice" () for the people (292–302), although the prologue never directly references the laws. The prologue ends "at that time:" (303: ) and the laws begin.


Epilogue

Unlike the prologue, the 500-line epilogue is explicitly related to the laws. The epilogue begins (3144'–3151'): "these are the just decisions which Hammurabi... has established" (). He exalts his laws and his magnanimity (3152'–3239'). He then expresses a hope that "any wronged man who has a lawsuit" () may have the laws of the stele read aloud to him and know his rights (3240'–3256'). This would bring Hammurabi praise (3257'–3275') and divine favour (3276'–3295'). Hammurabi wishes for good fortune for any ruler who heeds his pronouncements and respects his stele (3296'–3359'). However, he invokes the wrath of the gods on any man who disobeys or erases his pronouncements (3360'–3641', the end of the text). The epilogue contains much legal imagery, and the phrase "to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak" (3202'–3203': ) is reused from the prologue. However, the king's main concern appears to be ensuring that his achievements are not forgotten and his name not sullied. The list of curses heaped upon any future defacer is 281 lines long and extremely forceful. Some of the curses are very vivid: "may the god
Sin In a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified places, prophecy, prophecies, ...
... decree for him a life that is no better than death" (3486'–3508': ); "may he he future defacerconclude every day, month, and year of his reign with groaning and mourning" (3497'–3501': ); may he experience "the spilling of his life force like water" (3435'–3436': ). Hammurabi implores a variety of gods individually to turn their particular attributes against the defacer. For example: "may the tormgod
Adad Hadad ( uga, 𐎅𐎄 ), Adad, Haddad (Akkadian language, Akkadian: Wiktionary:𒀭𒅎, 𒀭𒅎) or Iškur (Sumerian language, Sumerian) was the Weather god, storm and rain god in the Ancient Semitic religion, Canaanite and ancient Mesopotamia ...
... deprive him of the benefits of rain from heaven and flood from the springs" (3509'–3515': ); "may the god f wisdom Ea... deprive him of all understanding and wisdom, and may he lead him into confusion" (3440'–3451': ). Gods and goddesses are invoked in this order: # Anum (3387'–3394') # Enlil (3395'–3422') #
Ninlil In Sumerian religion Sumerian religion was the religion practiced and adhered to by the people of Sumer, the first literacy, literate civilization of ancient Mesopotamia. The Sumerians regarded their deity, divinities as responsible for all mat ...
(3423'–3439') # Ea (3440'–3458') # Shamash (3459'–3485') # Sin (3486'–3508') # Adad (3509'–3525') #
ZababaZababa (Sumerian: 𒀭𒍝𒂷𒂷 dza-ba4-ba4) (also Zamama) is a war god who was the tutelary deity of the city of Kish (Sumer), Kish in ancient Mesopotamia. He is connected with the god Ninurta, and the symbol of Zababa − the eagle-headed staff ...
(3526'–3536') #
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
(3537'–3573') #
Nergal Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali (Sumerian language, Sumerian: Dingir, d''KIŠ.UNU'' or ; ; Aramaic Language, Aramaic: ܢܸܪܓܲܠ; la, Nirgal) was a deity who was worshipped throughout ancient Mesopotamia (Akkadian Empire, Akkad, Assyria, and Babyl ...

Nergal
(3574'–3589') # Nintu (3590'–3599') #
Ninkarrak Ninkarrak (cuneiform: 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒋼𒀀𒊏𒀝, dnin-kar-ra-ak) was a goddess of medicine worshiped chiefly in Syria and northern Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain ...
(3600'–3619') # All the gods (3620'–3635') # Enlil, a second time (3636'–3641')


Laws

The Code of Hammurabi is the longest and best-organised legal text from the ancient Near East, as well as the best-preserved. The classification below (columns 1–3) is Driver & Miles', with several amendments, and Roth's translation is used. Laws represented by letters are those reconstructed primarily from documents other than the Louvre stele.


Theories of purpose

The purpose and legal authority of the Code have been disputed since the mid-20th century. Theories fall into three main categories: that it is
legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgating law by a legislature, parliament, or analogous Government, governing body. Before an item of legislation becomes law ...
, whether a
code of law A code of law, also called a law code or legal code, is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification. ...
or a body of
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
s; that it is a sort of law report, containing records of past cases and judgments; and that it is an abstract work of jurisprudence. The jurisprudence theory has gained much support within Assyriology.


Legislation

The term "code" presupposes that the document was intended to be enforced as legislation. It was used by Scheil in his , and widely adopted afterwards. C. H. W. Johns, one of the most prolific early commentators on the document, proclaimed that "the Code well deserves its name". Recent Assyriologists have used the term without comment, as well as scholars outside Assyriology. However, only if the text was intended as enforced legislation can it truly be called a code of law and its provisions laws. The document, on first inspection, resembles a highly organised code similar to the Code of Justinian and the Napoleonic Code. There is also evidence that , which in the Code of Hammurabi sometimes denote individual "laws", were enforced. One copy of the Code calls it a , "royal decree", which denotes a kind of enforced legislation. However, the arguments against this view are strong. Firstly, it would make a very unusual code—Reuven Yaron called the designation "Code" a "persistent misnomer". Vital areas of society and commerce are omitted. For example, Marc Van De Mieroop observes that the Code "deals with cattle and agricultural fields, but it almost entirely ignores the work of shepherds, vital to Babylonia's economy". Then, against the legislation theory more generally, highly implausible circumstances are covered, such as threshing with goats, animals far too unruly for the task (law 270). The laws are also strictly casuistic ("if... then"); unlike in the Mosaic Law, there are no apodictic laws (general commands). These would more obviously suggest prescriptive legislation. The strongest argument against the legislation theory, however, is that most judges appear to have paid the Code no attention. This line of criticism originated with Benno Landsberger in 1950. No Mesopotamian legal document explicitly references the Code or any other law collection, despite the great scale of the corpus. Two references to prescriptions on "a stele" () come closest. In contrast, numerous judgments cite royal -decrees. Raymond Westbrook held that this strengthened the argument from silence that ancient Near Eastern legal "codes" had legal import. Furthermore, many Old Babylonian judgments run entirely counter to the Code's prescriptions.


Law report

A second theory is that the Code is a sort of law report, and as such contains records of past cases and judgments, albeit phrased abstractly. This would provide one explanation for the casuistic format of the "laws"; indeed, Jean Bottéro believed he had found a record of a case that inspired one. However, such finds are inconclusive and very rare, despite the scale of the Mesopotamian legal corpus. Furthermore, legal judgments were frequently recorded in Mesopotamia, and they recount the facts of the case without generalising them. These judgments were concerned almost exclusively with points of fact, prompting Martha Roth to comment: "I know of only one case out of thousands extant that might be said to revolve around a point of law".


Jurisprudence

A third theory, which has gained traction within Assyriology, is that the Code is not a true code but an abstract treatise on how judgments should be formulated. This led Fritz Rudolf Kraus, in an early formulation of the theory, to call it jurisprudence (). Kraus proposed that it was a work of Mesopotamian scholarship in the same category as omen collections like and . Others have provided their own versions of this theory. A. Leo Oppenheim remarked that the Code of Hammurabi and similar Mesopotamian law collections "represent an interesting formulation of social criticism and should not be taken as normative directions". This interpretation bypasses the problem of low congruence between the Code and actual legal judgments. Secondly, the Code does bear striking similarities to other works of Mesopotamian scholarship. Key points of similarity are the list format and the order of the items, which Ann Guinan describes as a complex "serial logic". Marc Van De Mieroop explains that, in common with other works of Mesopotamian scholarship such as omen lists, king lists, and god lists, the entries of the Code of Hammurabi are arranged according to two principles. These are "opposition"—whereby a variable in one entry is altered to make another entry—and "pointillism"—whereby new conditions are added to an entry, or paradigmatic series pursued, to generate a sequence. Van De Mieroop provides the following examples: Laws 215 and 218 illustrate the principle of opposition: one variable of the first law, the outcome of the operations, is altered to create the second. Here, following the principle of pointillism, circumstances are added to the first entry to create more entries. Pointillism also lets list entries be generated by following paradigmatic series common to multiple branches of scholarship. It can thus explain the implausible entries. For example, in the case of the goat used for threshing (law 270), the previous laws concern other animals that ''were'' used for threshing. The established series of domesticated beasts dictated that a goat come next. Wolfram von Soden, who decades earlier called this way of thinking ("list science"), often denigrated it. However, more recent writers, such as Marc Van De Mieroop, Jean Bottéro, and Ann Guinan, have either avoided value judgments or expressed admiration. Lists were central to Mesopotamian science and logic, and their distinctive structural principles let entries be generated infinitely. Linking the Code to the scribal tradition within which "list science" emerged also explains why trainee scribes copied and studied it for over a millennium. The Code appears in a late Babylonian (7th–6th century BC) list of literary and scholarly texts. No other law collection became so entrenched in the curriculum. Rather than a code of laws, then, it may be a scholarly treatise. Much has been written on what the Code suggests about Old Babylonian society and its legal system. For example, whether it demonstrates that there were no professional advocates, or that there were professional judges. Scholars who approach the Code as a self-contained document renounce such claims.


Underlying principles

One principle widely accepted to underlie the Code is , or "eye for an eye". Laws 196 and 200 respectively prescribe an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth when one man destroys another's. Punishments determined by could be transferred to the sons of the wrongdoer. For example, law 229 states that the death of a homeowner in a house collapse necessitates the death of the house's builder. The following law 230 states that if the homeowner's son died, the builder's son must die also. Persons were not equal before the law; not just age and profession but also class and gender dictated the punishment or remedy they received. Three main kinds of person, , , and (male)/ (female), are mentioned throughout the Code. A / was a male/female slave. As for and , though contentious, it seems likely that the difference was one of social class, with meaning something like "gentleman" and something like "commoner". The penalties were not necessarily stricter for a than an : a 's life may have been cheaper, but so were some of his fines. There was also inequality within these classes: laws 200 and 202, for example, show that one could be of higher rank than another. Martha Roth has shown that ideas of shame and honour motivated certain laws. Most readers will also be struck by the violence of many of the punishments. This prompted Driver and Miles to remark that "the Babylonians believed in corporal punishments... and did not highly value human life". The above principles are distant in spirit from modern systems of common law, common and civil law (legal system), civil law, but some may be more familiar. One such principle is the presumption of innocence; the first two laws of the stele prescribe punishments, determined by , for unsubstantiated accusations. Written evidence was valued highly, especially in matters of contract. One crime was given only one punishment. The laws also recognized the importance of the intentions of a defendant. Lastly, the Code's establishment on public stelae was supposedly intended to increase access to justice. Whether or not this was true, suggesting that a wronged man have the stele read aloud to him (lines 3240'–3254') is a concrete measure in this direction, given the inaccessibility of scribal education in the Old Babylonian period. One last question is what source the Code claims for its legitimacy. The prologue asserts that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods. Raymond Westbrook observed that in ancient Near Eastern law, "the king was the primary source of legislation". However, they could delegate their god-given legal authority to judges. However, as Owen B. Jenkins observed, the prescriptions themselves bear "an astonishing absence... of all theological or even ceremonial law".


Language

The laws are written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian. Their style is regular and repetitive, and today they are a standard set text for introductory Akkadian classes. However, as A. Leo Oppenheim summarises, the
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
signs themselves are "vertically arranged... within boxes placed in bands side by side from right to left", an arrangement already antiquated by Hammurabi's time. Since Akkadian learners today tend to begin by studying later phases of cuneiform, where the signs have been rotated ninety degrees, they have to turn their head on one side to read the Louvre stele. The laws are expressed in
casuistic Casuistry ( ) is a process of reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectua ...
format: they are
conditional sentences Conditional (if then) may refer to: *Causal conditional, if X then Y, where X is a cause of Y *Conditional probability, the probability of an event A given that another event B has occurred *Conditional proof, in logic: a proof that asserts a con ...
with the case detailed in the protasis ("if" clause) and the legal remedy, remedy given in the apodosis ("then" clause). The protasis begins , "if", except when it adds to circumstances already specified in a previous law (e.g. laws 36, 38, and 40). The preterite is used for simple past verbs in the protasis, or possibly for a simple conditional. The perfect (grammar), perfect often appears at the end of the protasis after one or more preterites to convey sequence of action, or possibly a hypothetical conditional. The durative, sometimes called the "present" in Assyriology, may express intention in the laws. For ease of English reading, some translations give preterite and perfect verbs in the protasis a present sense. In the apodosis, the verbs are in the durative, though the sense varies between permissive—"it is permitted that ''x'' happen"—and instructive—"''x'' must/will happen". In both protasis and apodosis, sequence of action is conveyed by suffixing verbs with , "and". can also have the sense "but". The Code is relatively well-understood, but some items of its vocabulary are controversial. As mentioned, the terms and have proved difficult to translate. They probably denote respectively a male member of a higher and lower social class. Wolfram von Soden, in his ''Akkadisches Handwörterbuch'', proposed that was derived from , "to bow down/supplicate". As a word for a man of low social standing, it has endured, possibly from a Sumerian root, into Arabic (), Italian (), Spanish (), and French (). However, some earlier translators, also seeking to explain the 's special treatment, translated it as "leper" and even "noble". Some translators have supplied stilted readings for , such as "seignior", "elite man", and "member of the aristocracy"; others have left it untranslated. Certain legal terms have also proved difficult to translate. For example, and can denote the law in general as well as individual laws, verdicts, divine pronouncements and other phenomena. can likewise denote the law in general as well as a kind of royal decree.


Relation to other law collections


Other Mesopotamian

The Code of Hammurabi bears strong similarities to earlier Mesopotamian law collections. Many purport to have been written by rulers, and this tradition was probably widespread. Earlier law collections express their god-given legitimacy similarly. Like the Code of Hammurabi, they feature prologues and epilogues: the Code of Ur-Nammu has a prologue, the Code of Lipit-Ishtar a prologue and an epilogue, and the Laws of Eshnunna an epilogue. Also, like the Code of Hammurabi, they uphold the "one crime, one punishment" principle. The cases covered and language used are, overall, strikingly similar. Scribes were still copying e.g. the Code of Ur-Nammu when Hammurabi produced his own Code. This suggests that earlier collections may have not only resembled the Code but influenced it. Raymond Westbrook maintained that there was a fairly consistent tradition of "ancient Near Eastern law" which included the Code of Hammurabi, and that this was largely customary law. Nonetheless, there are differences: for example, Stephen Bertman has suggested that where earlier collections are concerned with compensating victims, the Code is concerned with physically punishing offenders. Additionally, the above conclusions of similarity and influence apply only to the law collections themselves. The actual legal practices from the context of each code are mysterious. The Code of Hammurabi also bears strong similarities to later Mesopotamian law collections: to the casuistic Middle Assyrian Empire, Middle Assyrian Laws and to the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Neo-Babylonian Laws, whose format is largely relative ("a man who..."). It is easier to posit direct influence for these later collections, given the Code's survival through the scribal curriculum. Lastly, although influence is more difficult to trace, there is evidence that the Hittite laws may have been part of the same tradition of legal writing outside Mesopotamia proper.


Mosaic, Graeco-Roman, and modern

The relationship of the Code of Hammurabi to the
Mosaic Law The Law of Moses ( he, תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה ), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the fi ...
, specifically the Covenant Code of Book of Exodus, Exodus 20:22–23:19, has been a subject of discussion since its discovery. Friedrich Delitzsch argued the case for strong influence in a 1902 lecture, in one episode of the "" ("Babel and Bible", or "Panbabylonism") debate on the influence of ancient Mesopotamian cultures on ancient Israel. However, he was met with strong resistance. There was cultural contact between Mesopotamia and the Levant, and Middle Bronze Age tablets of casuistic cuneiform law have been found at Tel Hazor, Hazor. There are also similarities between the Code of Hamurabi and the Covenant Code: in the casuistic format, in principles such as ("eye for an eye"), and in the content of the provisions. Some similarities are striking, such as in the provisions concerning a man-goring ox (Code of Hammurabi laws 250–252, Exodus 21:28–32). Certain writers have posited direct influence: David P. Wright, for example, asserts that the Covenant Code is "directly, primarily, and throughout dependent upon the Laws of Hammurabi", "a creative rewriting of Mesopotamian sources... to be viewed as an academic abstraction rather than a digest of laws". Others posit indirect influence, such as via Arameans, Aramaic or Phoenician intermediaries. The consensus, however, is that the similarities are a result of inheriting common traditions. In 1916, George A. Barton cited "a similarity of antecedents and of general intellectual outlook". More recently, David Winton Thomas has stated: "There is no ground for assuming any direct borrowing by the Hebrew from the Babylonian. Even where the two sets of laws differ little in the letter, they differ much in the spirit". The influence of the Code of Hammurabi on later law collections is difficult to establish. Marc Van De Mieroop suggests that it may have influenced the Greek Gortyn Code and the Roman Twelve Tables. However, even Van De Mieroop acknowledges that most Roman law is not similar to the Code, or likely to have been influenced by it. Knowing the Code's influence on modern law requires knowing its influence on Mosaic and Graeco-Roman law. Since this is contentious, commentators have restricted themselves to observing similarities and differences between the Code and, e.g., United States law and medieval law. Some have remarked that the punishments found in the Code are no more severe, and, in some cases, less so. Law 238 stipulates that a sea captain, Technical management, ship-manager, or Chartering (shipping), ship charterer that saved a ship from Shipwreck, total loss was Pro rata, only required to pay one-half the value of the ship to the ship-owner. In the ''Digest (Roman law), Digesta seu Pandectae'' (533), the second volume of the Corpus Juris Civilis, codification of laws ordered by Justinian I (527–565) of the Byzantine Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, a legal opinion written by the Roman law, Roman jurist Julius Paulus Prudentissimus, Paulus at the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century in 235 AD was included about the ''List of Roman laws, Lex Rhodia'' ("Rhodian law") that articulates the general average principle of marine insurance established on the island of Rhodes in approximately 1000 to 800 BC as a member of the Doric Hexapolis, plausibly by the Phoenicians during the proposed Dorian invasion and emergence of the purported Sea Peoples during the Greek Dark Ages (c. 1100 – c. 750) that led to the proliferation of the Doric Greek Ancient Greek dialects, dialect. The law of general average constitutes the fundamental principle that underlies all insurance.


Reception outside Assyriology

The Code is often referred to in legal scholarship, where its provisions are assumed to be laws, and the document is assumed to be a true code of laws. This is also true outside academia. Some writers incorrectly state that the Code of Hammurabi is the oldest code of laws. All stress its importance and positive attributes: the Louvre, for example, calls it "the emblem of the Mesopotamian civilization". Iraq's Hammurabi Human Rights Organization was named after the Code. Hammurabi leads Babylon in five of the six Civilization (series), ''Civilization'' video games, and in ''Civilization VI'' his leader ability is "Ninu Ilu Sirum". This is an early reading of the Code's incipit, ("when the august god Anu[m]..."). The soundtrack to the South Korean television series ''Ms. Hammurabi'', which is about a judge, features the track "Code of Hammurabi". The thrash metal band Testament (band), Testament's 2020 album Titans of Creation also features a track called "Code of Hammurabi". There is a relief portrait of Hammurabi over the doors to the United States Capitol#House Chamber, House Chamber of the , along with portraits of 22 others "noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law". There are replicas of the Louvre stele in institutions around the world, including: the Headquarters of the United Nations in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
, the Peace Palace in The Hague (seat of the International Court of Justice), the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, the
Pergamon Museum The Pergamon Museum (; ) is a listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, in Wal ...

Pergamon Museum
in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, the Oriental Institute (Chicago), University of Chicago Oriental Institute, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the University of Kansas Clendening History of Medicine Library, and the Prewitt–Allen Archaeological Museum of Corban University.


See also

*List of ancient legal codes


Notes


References


Citations


Sources


Books and journals

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Web

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


CDLI's transliteration, normalisation, and translation

Scheil's

King's translation



Harper's translation (Wikisource)

The Louvre's page
{{DEFAULTSORT:Code of Hammurabi First Babylonian Empire Legal codes Jurisprudence Legal history Comparative law Ancient Near East law Ancient Near East steles 2nd-millennium BC steles Akkadian inscriptions 18th-century BC works Bronze Age literature Babylonia Babylon Susa Iraq Iran 1901 archaeological discoveries 1901 in Iran Archaeological discoveries in Iran Near East and Middle East antiquities of the Louvre Hammurabi