Epic Of Gilgamesh And Code Of Hammurabi Analysis

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In this paper, I will be comparing two primary documents: The Epic of Gilgamesh and Code of Hammurabi. I have chosen these documents for the insight they gave us about Mesopotamia civilization, the world’s first civilization. They also have great importance in understanding and shaping contemporary society. The Epic of Gilgamesh was written around 2000 B.C.E and gives details about the society at that time. They are historically significant as they are the origins of civilization that shaped the society and civilization that has come after them. These two documents have similarities in that they are both written documents of the ancient world. Both documents were some of the world’s first written documents; the code of Hammurabi is the first …show more content…
In both documents, we see the importance of law and order. When the people of Sumer were angry for the deeds of their king they say, “[…] His lust leaves no virgin to her lover nor the wife of Nobel; yet this is the shepherd of the city, wise, comely, and resolute” (16). These established the king as a shepherd, meaning kings are supposed to be protectors and guardians of their people and so keepers of order, as a shepherd does. Besides this, we can see they are accusing him of not respecting the nobles, reinforcing the idea that kings should protect the existing hierarchy. They accuse him of not recognizing the power of nobleman. Code of Hammurabi also sets him as a guardian by saying “…god commissioned me to guide the people aright, to direct the land.” The difference here between the people is how they reap justice. In the epic of Gilgamesh, the people show their discontent to the gods and ask to destroy him. Hearing their problem, the god Anu cried to Aruru, the goddess of creation, and creates Gilgamesh’s equal Enkidu (16). Hammurabi’s Code of Law establishes basic laws. If King Gilgamesh was an ordinary person during Hammurabi’s time, his wife shall be raped. We see the distinction that Hammurabi’s is just, hence justice, while Gilgamesh is unjust. Hammurabi well-described himself as “ I established Justice and law […] promoting the welfare of the people” (16). Besides this, we see a nature vs god situation when the parties involved don’t have enough power to solve the case. In Hammurabi’s case, trials by nature occur by drowning people and letting their fate decide on them. While in the epic of Gilgamesh, it resided absolutely in the gods will to help them. Generally, we see that Unlike Gilgamesh, Hammurabi has established rule of law, enabling the law to be the supreme law of the

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