Hammurabi Social Class Essay

1152 Words 5 Pages
Hammurabi was the King of Mesopotamia between 1772-1750BCE. He is known for a set of 282 laws named the Hammurabi Codes. He then engraved the laws in a public stone so that everyone could see. Hammurabi's law handled all the aspects of life, setting up specific laws that must be followed. The code of Hammurabi clearly indicates an almost egalitarian societal structure.

Social justice is one of the social aspects that the law addresses among the different social class. The King set the codes based on their three social class; the wealthy, a freeman and a semi-freeman. The codes appeared to favor the wealthy more than the others. For instance, in one of the codes, he stated that élite can only receive equal measure for his wrong if they are of the same class if not, the elite will only pay a small fine. However, severe punishment or death was due to a plebeian who wrongs an elite. This indicates the inequality that existed based on class. Such a scenario gives liberty to the rich to misuse the less advantaged
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During that time, one could sell their wife and children to pay off their debts if they gave concrete justifications. This is a proof that Hammurabi's concern towards the welfare of each of his members of the society. Even though a man is the authority in the family, he enforced tough measures to protect the wife and children from being sold. However, he did not tolerate dishonor to the authority and enforced harsh penalties for children with poor behaviors. This indicates that the society valued respect for authority. During marital arrangement, the code held the prospective couples' fathers accountable. The husband gave the prospective wife the dowry. In case of divorce, the wife could take the dowry with her. Overall, based on the gender responsibilities allocated to both men and women, the society was highly patriarchal, but both gender's rights were valued and

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