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Apr 28 2015

The Code of Hammurabi

Hammurabi was a king who ruled the Babylonian empire almost four thousand years ago (-1800). As he conquered neighboring areas, he grew aware of the need to create a standardized code of laws for all the people, since each city-state had it’s own unique laws that often conflicted with each other. He engaged in an effort to collect all known laws and consolidate them into a single code that could be applied fairly to all.

The Code of Hammurabi ended up containing 282 laws and associated penalties that were scaled according to the seriousness of the crime. The concept of retribution equal to an offense was embedded in many of the laws (an eye for an eye). While other prior legal codes also contained this principle, the Code of Hammurabi was one of the first to embrace the concept of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Hammurabi’s Code of Laws

When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.