Hammurabi was a conqueror and an administrator. He unified the Mesopotamian city-states and ruled a mighty state from his capital at Babylon in the Euphrates valley. Hammurabi had to come up with a way to govern his Mesopotamian empire. He came up with a code of laws. It was one of the earliest law systems in the world. Hammurabi and his legal experts came up with 282 laws that were carved on a black stone stele. Although Hammurabi’s code started out with 282 laws it became less over time when some of them were erased by Babylonian conquerors. This code became the basis of laws of many different people such as the Babylonians, Hebrews, and Assyrians. The code was called Hammurabi’s code but it really was not his. It is said that Hammurabi received the codes from Shamash, the great sun-god. He was responsible for bringing order to the universe.
The codes famous Lex Talionis, or the law of retaliation, is “ an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” If a man has knocked out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be knocked out. If he has broken the limb of a patrician, his limb shall be broken. If a patrician knocks out the eye or breaks the limb of someone equal to him in society his eye shall be knocked out or his limb shall be broken also. If a patrician knocks out the tooth of a commoner, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver. If a man knocks out the eye of a patricians servant, or broken the limb of a patricians servant, he shall pay half of his value. The laws change if you are lower in class. If a man knocks out the eye of a commoner or has broken the limb of a commoner, he shall pay one mina of silver.
Babylon is made up of three social classes. The first social class is the elites or the patricians. The patricians were the top of the social classes. The middle social class was the commoners. At the bottom of the social class were the slaves. The elites held most of the power but in some cases the higher classes were punished...