The Code of Hammurabi are the laws of ancient Mesopotamia. Hammurabi was the name of the king who made the code the law of Mesopotamia. The code was written about 1772 BC. It is one of the first systems of law in human civilization.
Photo: Code of Hammurabi (Creative Commons: Diego Dacal).
What Kinds of Laws are in the Code?
The code is made up of over 280 laws. Some interesting aspects of the Mesopotamian code were:
- Assumption of Innocence: When accused of a crime, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
- Minimum Wages for Workers: The law sets a guaranteed wage for some occupations.
- Social Class and Gender: Individuals were not the same before the law. For example, punishments for the upper class and males tended to be less strict than for the lower classes and women.
- Law of Retribution: The law lays out retribution for crimes – ‘an eye for an eye’ approach to law.
Today, in many countries around the world, many of these laws are still followed.
Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills
Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.
How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.