Hammurabi's Code

Was Hammurabi's code just, or was it unfair? by Skye McCord

Hammurabi's Code

Hammurabi's code was a set of laws created by Hammurabi. He started ruling around1792 B.C., in the Mesopotamian area. Around his 38th year of ruling, he created most of Hammurabi's Code. Different sets of laws apply to different situations, like family and property. Some day tha his laws were unfair, but others say that they were just.

What do I think?

In my opinion, Hammurabi's code was not just. I believe this because some of the laws are unfair to a select group of people, and usually the punishment was very harsh on the offender. Some of the laws had different standards for punishment, depending on the person you commited the crime against.

Hammurabi ruled for around 42 years, and at the end he had created over 282 laws. One law, for example, dictated that if a son strikes his father, the his hands will be "crit" off (law #195). Another law says that if a married woman us caught cheating on her husband with another man, the woman and the man she cheated with will be tied up and thrown into the water (law 129). This means that if someone is caught cheating, they will basically be drowned for their crime. In my opinion, that is a very harsh law for an offence that can be more easily dealt with.

More about the code

Hammurabi's code was first made to "protect the widows and orphans", or those who have little power, but a lot of these laws are unfair to some people. One law states that if you knock out the eye of a free man, his eye shall be knocked out. But if the person knocks out the eyeof a slave, he will pay half of the slave's price. This law makes it unfair for slaves, because the exact same crime against a free man will bring the offendor a bigger punishment, as if harming a slave was like harming an animal. Many of these laws have double standards for those who are free and those who aren't. Some laws say that if you borrow money to plant crops, but the crops are swept away by rain, you don't have to pay back the person you borrowed from for another year. This means that some people can get out of paying back debt when they should.


In conclusion, I think that Hammurabi's code was unjust all together. Now in the standards of Babylonian times, these laws may have been an upgrade from some ever more unfair laws, but today these laws and punishments are very unfair. Some of the laws are responsible, but lot of the laws cross the line today. So all in all, these laws seem unfair and unjust to me.