The Code of Hammurabi was written was written by King Hammurabi himself during the 18thc. B.C.E. King Hammurabi also started ruling the Babylonian empire about 1800 B.C.E. as well. Hammurabi’s claim to power was through military strength as a military leader. He conquered many small city states in order to create his empire. Hammurabi believed that the gods appointed him to bring justice and order to his people or kingdom and he took this duty very seriously. Shortly after his ascent to power he created a code, 282 written laws to define all relationships and aspects of life in the kingdom. The code of Hammurabi was carved into stone and leaves no question about its credibility. It is significant because it was the most complex and most advanced collection of laws of its time. The laws were placed in a public place so that all the citizens could have the opportunity to study them.
These laws applied to everyone however application or punishment did differ depending on social class. If someone disobeyed the laws the punishments were harsh and swift which helped to keep order and compliance. There are many things that can be learned about the Babylonian Empire from the Code of Hammurabi but the most important aspect is how advanced the civilization was.
The code describes the priorities that Hammurabi and his kingdom held. Family was very highly valued and there were many laws in the Code of Hammurabi to protect it. Honesty is a very important topic in the code. Lying and false accusations were also highly important issues which could great punishment and possibly death. The code provided many laws about property rights which were also highly valued. There were also laws about slaves, \fields and crops, personal property and inheritances. The virtue that Hammurabi thought was most important and wanted to instill in his people was personal responsibility. For example if a man built a house improperly and the house collapsed, resulting in death of the owner, the builder would be put to death.
The code of Hammurabi stresses the class structure that the Babylonians had, and the code was designed with class structure in mind. More power was givento the Amelu which is the upper class however they received harsher punishment if the broke the law. The Mushkinu or middle class did not receive such intense fines or punishments, however they were required to give money to people they injured. Slaves were treated as little more than property however they were able to do business, own property, and purchase their freedom. Unfortunately their punishment was the worst. The Code of Hammurabi is studied by historian and students today because of its contributions to history and to the beginning of civilization and law