King Hammurabi's Code Of Justice

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The definition of justice is ever-evolving in our society. Today, we define justice as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” However, in eighteenth-century Babylonian society, the boundaries and definitions of justice were a relatively new subject for the people. Before the rule of the Babylonian king, Hammurabi, the parameters of justice were unstructured and undetermined. In a need of unification and centralization, King Hammurabi sought to use his authority from the gods to establish order and protection among the Babylonian people.
In 1792 through 1750 B.C., Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi created an empire from the territories of the former Akkadian Empire- taking on his title as the “king of the four quarters.” In about 1750 B.C., using the written Semitic Akkadian language, Hammurabi issued a code of laws, called the Code of Hammurabi. The laws were inscribed in an eight-foot tall stela of black diorite, with an illustration at the top of the stone and the written laws below. The Code provided insight
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This was most likely the first time a code of justice was made publicly available for all literate citizens to view. His laws did not accept excuses or explanations for mistakes or fault- no man could claim ignorance. The 282 laws covered a range of public and private matters, as well as the consequences to make up for such crimes. In the presence of these consequences, a definition of justice was formed. In some cases, the guilty party was to pay a monetary value for their offense, and in others, the principle of “exact retaliation” emerged. This principle laid the foundation of retributive justice, better known as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a

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