Homework: The Judgments of Hammurabi

Tonight, you’re going to work on your first analysis of a primary source document for this class– an excerpt from the judgments of Hammurabi, a Babylonian king from the 18th century BCE.  After carefully reading through the text provided for you in class (Judgments of Hammurabi), please respond to the prompt at the bottom of this entry in the form of a comment on this blog post.  You’ll find the “Leave a Comment” link right under the title of this entry, next to the date.  Your comment should be thoughtful and refer to at least two specific examples in the text.

In order to encourage you to use this blog as a venue for discussion, here’s how grading for this assignment will work: a response which appropriately answers the discussion question will receive a maximum grade of 95%.  To earn that final 5% of the grade, you must respond (thoughtfully!) to one of the comments left by your classmates.

A few reminders about appropriate online interactions: as this is an academic assignment, I expect your responses to reflect all standard grammatical and mechanical practices.  Remember that tone is sometimes difficult to discern in online communication, so be sure that you express yourself clearly.  If you’re uncomfortable using your full name to post a comment, please just post using your first name and last initial– I’ll know who you are.

Comments are moderated on this blog, which means that I have to approve your first comment before you’ll see it appear.  It’s a quick process– I just have to hit something on my phone, honestly– but if you wait to post your comment until late tonight, I might not moderate it until tomorrow morning.

Here’s your discussion prompt:

Consider Hammurabi’s judgments.  Do you think they would have been effective as a law code?  Who were the judgments meant to protect or benefit?  What sort of social distinctions can we see in Hammurabi’s law code?  Did any of the laws or their implications surprise you?  If so, why?

Remember to include at least two specific examples from the text in your response!

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105 thoughts on “Homework: The Judgments of Hammurabi

  1. I’ll get you all started with a response. Remember, one basic comment will get you a maximum grade of 95%– in order to get a 100%, you’ll need to respond to at least one of the comments you see for this entry.

    I think Hammurabi’s judgments are pretty fascinating, although I certainly wouldn’t want to have to live by them. The harshness of the punishments for certain violations– such as killing a man’s son if his poor construction of a house had caused the death of *another* man’s son– would, I think, have acted as a pretty strong deterrent for most people. But I don’t know if ruling through a fear of punishment is really an “effective” means of governance– what do you guys think?

    I also think the law code is clearly meant to establish (a) Hammurabi’s authority over his subjects, and (b) consciously enforce a very strong gender divide in Babylonian society. While women do have *some* legal recourse in certain circumstances (judgment 137, for example, indicates that women would receive their dowries back if their husbands divorced them), they can also be killed for adultery and sold into slavery in order to pay their father or husband’s debts.

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    • I think that ruling through fear is an effective way to govern people. I think that if there are harsh punishments for an action, people tend to avoid performing that action. However, I do not believe it is the best way to govern people, because everyone makes mistakes and you should not be punished for all of them (for example, if a man dies while a doctor is trying to treat them, the doctor should not be forced to have his or her hand cut off).

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      • I agree. Sometimes fear does have its advantages with trying to govern people, for example dictatorship (especially harsh ones), help to keep the people together to enforce rules and help achieve a goal. Even though its not really a moral way to govern people its still an effective approach. However, Hammurabi’s Judgment takes “fear equals equality” approach to whole other level.

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      • I agree, the law is basically based mostly on fear. For example, you wouldn’t rob a bank if you weren’t afraid of the consequences. However, sometimes it can be extreme such as number 202. ” If a man strikes the body of a man who is superior in status, he shall publicly receive sixty lashes with a cowhide whip…”, but if he strikes the body of a peasant he only has to pay a fine.

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    • I think that ruling through fear is effective in the short term, but I believe that if people are unhappy with constantly getting punished so harshly even if they make mistakes or if there are extenuating circumstances. If enough people are unhappy, there might be some rebellions against the government or perhaps even a revolution.

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    • Although fear is the most accessible way to construct a somewhat adequate society, under several reasons will people living under fear result in havoc. Just by a glimpse of the Judgments of Hammurabi, there is several punishments affected by social class and gender. There is no evidence to support that the lower-class will attempt to dethrone the king. After all, this is viable since, although not directly stated, the blacksmiths who provide weaponry are most likely to be regarded as a “lower-class” rather than a royal or a warrior/official.

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  2. The Code of Hammurabi is a simple but forceful way of enforcing the law. Hammurabi uses a lot of “an eye for an eye” type of punishment in the Personal Injury section of his Code. Other than the bloody punishments, such as cutting of one’s hands, the rest of the document is rather simple. The code has several other clauses such as Property, Debt Slavery,and Consumer protection. Hammurabi gives several different laws and punishments throughout the rest of these clauses.

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    • I agree with your use of the term “Bloody Punishments” and your statement about the “Eye for an Eye” concept. It seems we both agree in the aspect that these forms of punishment are forceful yet simple. Yet the form in which they receive incentives to do well, seem to make the outcome of this code more predictable and positive. If America was run this way, I assume we would be a more successful and disciplined nation. Granted there would be a decent bit of us without hands, I believe the United States as a whole would be more respected my other nations.

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      • Hmm. An interesting supposition. But what about the punishments which address a member of the accused’s family? Hammurabi– and presumably, Babylonian society– appears to adhere to the idea that guilt is transferable from one individual to another. Surely you wouldn’t want to see *all* aspects of the legal code enacted if it meant that children could be executed for the crimes their parents committed!

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      • I do agree that America would be more disciplined if we followed the basic principle of an eye for an eye because people would have to learn how to have a better control of their temper and that requires discipline. I do not think that it would be more successful, though, because all it would be changing is the punishment you would receive if you do something wrong.

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  3. Hammurabi’s Code is what one would view as a barbarous prosecution of wrongdoings and laws. Although these punishments are harsh and extreme in some cases, they seem to be very effective in the prevention of this misbehavior. For example, if a physician kills a man in an attempt to help him, his hands will be lacerated. This code follows a theme commonly associated as “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. The Punishments in this code are either appropriate or just straight up brutal. Although some may say these things are barbaric, they are simply customary for their time.

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    • That’s a really good example you used. Even though the Judgments are all about being fair, it hardly seems fair to lacerate a man’s hands for something he could not control.

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    • I agree with you when you say it’s customary for their time, because I feel many of those laws are the same as the ones we have today but the punishments have just become more “customary for our time.”

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    • I agree that they are devilishly brutal; but, I think that they would be quite effective in keeping order and preventing crime due to fear. The only two downsides I can think of would be a significant loss in population if a large amount of people do minuscule, illegal things that were just barely bad enough to deserve execution. The other con is that decision making power is held in the hands of singular people, for example, a large chunk of the laws written required a judge (alone) to rule the criminal to death. This causes the danger of corruption, bribery, etc. Although the set of laws are morally atrocious, they could still reduce crime or prevent it altogether; creating a safe stable civilization.

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  4. Hammurabi’s judgments are very different from the laws we follow today. However, I think they would have been effective as a law code because the punishments scare people into following the rules; that does not mean that I would want to live by them though. It looks like they were meant to be fair, such as the “If a man has destroyed the eye of another free man, his own eye shall be destroyed,” but there is a noticeable gender divide. If a man wants to divorce his wife, all he has to do is give her back the bride-price, or some silver. If a woman wants to divorce her husband, there must be a full inquiry before it can happen. Some other unfair gender rules are that women are killed for adultery while it mentions nothing about men performing it, and a man can also sell his wife or daughter into slavery. Some laws that surprised me are the “consumer protections” ones such as, “If the child of the householder is killed, the child of that builder shall be slain.” This surprised me because the child of the builder is being killed for what his father did.

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    • I completely agree with the fact that the code of law is effective because it scares the people into not breaking the law. Gender divide is quite apparent. Like you, I also did not think it was fair for women to be punished for cheating on her husband but, there was no law against a man cheating on his wife. Especially when the punishment for women was being bounded with the man you cheated with and thrown into the water.

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  5. Hammurabi’s code takes a completely different approach to making systematic laws. He instills fear in the people and creates punishments like cutting off someones hands or breaking their bones. Although this may be effective, people will always live in fear of doing something wrong. Humans are bound to make mistakes so I think these punishments are unreasonably severe. I imagine the code was created to benefit everyone except for peasants and slaves because Hammurabi makes it clear that slaves and peasants are low class and not the same as a regular man. For example, if a man knocks the teeth out of another man of the same social statues or rank, the man is then punished by getting his own teeth knocked out. But, “if a man knocks the teeth out of peasant, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver.” This shows that peasants are treated unequally and are less worthy than everyone else. All of the laws were interesting but the law that surprised me the most was “if the wife of a man is found lying with another male, they shall be bound and thrown into the water. If the husband lets his wife live, then the king shall let his servant live.” I couldn’t imagine if a law like that was still around today.

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    • I agree with you in the fact that these judgements are a bit too severe for people incapable of not making mistakes. I also second you in that there is a distinct socioeconomic issue between classes of different status. The gender equality issue you mentioned was also surprising to me too. I could not believe that both the lives of a wife and her lover are in the hands of the husband. But if the situation were reversed, it would not be the same case!

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  6. I don’t think Hammurabi’s judgement would be very effective for law code. His judgment is kind of like a karma law, like if you do this, this happens to you. However, his laws are way too extreme for them to be effective for law code. For example; “If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off”. I mean, we all know not to hit our parents, but that doesn’t require brutal punishments from government law. In certain laws, commoners were either punished worse than higher authority or paid less for their services. So, you could tell that Hammurabi’s judgment was mainly to protect people of higher social class. For example; If a physician has treated a man…he shall receive ten shekels of silver. If the son of a peasant, he shall receive five shekels of silver…”. Some laws, however did surprise me. Like, if a man kills a woman that was expecting then the man’s daughter dies. I would have thought that the man would automatically die, but I guess Hammurabi’s judgement is based on the works of karma in some ways. Or an “eye for an eye” situation.

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    • The whole time reading the laws I kept thinking this was all based around karma and literal ‘eye for an eye’ situations at some points. I can only imagine how many misunderstandings resulted in permanent injury as punishment. The laws referring to the common man also seem to indicate there were more than simply peasant, slave, and elite social classes

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  7. To me, Hammurabi’s judgments seem very effective. By having severe punishments, people are more prone to following the judgments, to not be punished. Like in judgment 196, if one man’s eye is ruined by another man, the other man will also get his eyes ruined. This would definitely scare people to not do those to another person. These judgments seems to be in favor of people of the higher social status, rather than people in the lower social status. Evidence would be judgments 200 and 201. The difference is how a man pays if he breaks the teeth of men. If the man breaks the teeth of someone of the same status, his teeth will be broken while if the man breaks the teeth of a peasant, he only has to pay the peasant. This shows that people lower in status is repaid simply with money, but people in higher status can basically get revenge by breaking the other man’s teeth and not be punished. The punishments for each judgment were meant to show dominance in terms of authority. So the punishments were used by the ruler, to enforce the judgments. I don’t think its that horrible because there wasn’t a lot of ways to control people,so the harsh punishments were just to scare the people in order for there to be no conflicts.

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    • One thing I would point out, Jessica, is that Hammurabi’s judgments are just that– judgments. These are actually records of court cases that Hammurabi decided, and then the decisions were written as law. So if there’s a law stating that a man’s eye should be taken out, that’s because *it actually was.* I imagine, though, that knowing that such violence had been carried out once would make people much less likely to transgress!

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  8. Hummarabi’s judgments certainly seem to carry a point across and no doubt would have been very effective against most of the people of the time. However, public media, education systems, and ideals of today’s world may render these laws of punishment less effective as there would be lower public happiness due to fear which would eventually lead to rebellion or disruption.

    The laws not only protected but also made clear the punishments for certain jobs. Such as physicians In laws 215, “If a physician has treated a man with a metal knife for a severe wound and has cured the man… then he shall receive ten shekels of silver” and 218, “If a physician has treated a man with a metal knife for a severe wound and has caused the man to die… his hands shall be cut off.” who would be payed by law having done the job successfully but would lose their hands if they messed up. This also surprised me how they would be payed less if it were a son rather than an adult even though the same amount of effort would have been poured into the job.

    It is clear the social distinctions between adult men and women, children, higher classes, peasants, and slaves as each have certain rules pertaining specifically to them in terms of punishment and reward.

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    • I agree with this because if you harm a peasant or a slave the punishment is lower than if you harm someone of a higher class. It also seems as if women were not capable of maintaining a household because if the man was unable to be in the household; then the woman would have to go and live with another man. Also men got away with a lot more things than woman.

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  9. It seems almost unnecessary for all of the “eye for an eye” punishments. If you break the bone of another man, and the penalty is having your own bone broken, then wouldn’t that make it so that double the people are unable to work and fight for society? It’s like Hammurabi was willing to sacrifice efficiency for the sake of being fair.

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    • I agree that some of the “eye for an eye” rules were unnecessary. Especially the violent ones, but the laws that just made a man pay money or fix what he made were reasonable. For example, ” If a builder has built a house for a man, and his work is not done properly, and a wall shifts, then the builder shall make that wall good with his own silver” is rational. I also agree that the “eye for an eye” rules would result in less people working in the society, and those laws would not help the civilization be efficient.

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    • At the same time though Michael, if you knew you were going to have your nose broken if you punched another person in the face, would you be as likely to still assault them?

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  10. I don’t think Hammurabi’s judgements could be effective as a law code today, but it may have worked for older civilizations. However, the more violent laws were unreasonable, such as “If a physician has treated a man with a metal knife for a severe wound, and has caused the man to die, or has opened a man’s tumor with a metal knife, and destroyed the man’s eye, his hands shall be cut off”. The laws that result in the cutting off of hands and people being killed as a consequence should not be effective in any civilization not only because it’s irrational, but also because it leaves the civilization with less people and more people without hands. That law in particular could leave the civilization will less available physicians. In certain laws, you can tell that peasants and slaves are not treated equally compared to other men. The laws still benefit the peasants, but not as much as they benefit other men. What surprised me is that the laws aren’t as harsh on women as I though they might have been. Although, the judgements were clearly meant to protect men, especially men with money.

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    • Even though that Hammurabi’s punishments usually lead with the death, enslavement, or amputation, his laws are for the most part very reasonable and similar laws can be found in modern societies with alternative punishments. In some cases Hammurabi’s laws were used to protect the people. Laws that protect people from the “mistakes” of doctors (Articles 215-218) turn out to be very useful in preventing doctors from hurting further patients.

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    • I definitely agree that there was lots of bias towards upper class men. This surprised me a lot because of the fact that in the prologue it talks about how the laws were supposed to make everyone equal.

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      • Well, even rich men were punished for crimes– even if that punishment was far more lax than what a person of lower social status (or women) would receive for the same crime. That wasn’t the case in all societies. In fact, I’d say it’s still not the case at certain times in certain places. After all, President Nixon was rather infamously quoted as saying that, “when the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

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  11. I think the largest flaw in Hammurabi’s judgments were their extreme punishment. Cutting off a physician’s hands just because he failed to do a complex (at the time) procedure seems a bit extreme, the same with murdering one’s wife and her partner if caught in an affair. Aside from the obvious over doings, many of Hammurabi’s rules are incredibly unfair to women, and some to lower class people as well. Women would be killed for their crimes, especially if it had something to do with ruining the trust in marriage. People of the lower class had no justice done for receiving wrongs too; all they got was payment from their wrongdoer. If the son of a peasant was accidentally killed, the murderer had to do nothing except pay a fine.

    All in all, I think Hammurabi’s rules were not ethical, and extremely biased towards men and those of the middle and upper class. In the modern world, a nation using these rules would be heavily looked down upon.

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  12. While Hammurabi’s justice code would not work in today’s society, many of the principles of it would. The basis of Hammurabi’s code is an eye for an eye, or compensation, which is much like it is in our society today. If a doctor treats you and you die or get hurt because of his negligence, he doesn’t get his hands cut off, but he does lose his license to practice medicine. And if a builder builds you a house, and it is not well built and you get hurt, you will be compensated. A lot of Hammurabi’s laws are favoring the upper class because they usually face less repercussion for hurting someone especially a peasant, for example, “If a man has knocked out the teeth of a peasant, he shall pay 1/3 of a mina of silver,” but “If a man has knocked out the teeth of a man of the same rank, his own teeth shall be knocked out. Some of the laws suprised me by being so similar (in principle) to laws we have in our own society. Many of the consumer protection laws relate to the laws we have regarding insurance.

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    • I agree with you on how you think it is similar to laws today. I never really made the connection, but you made a great point about how people still getting punished for similar situations but instead of being physically punished they are made to pay for the damage done. I think the way modern society does this is actually a smarter and more effective way of establishing rules and laws

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  13. I believe that Hammurabi’s judgements would have been effective as a law code. In saying that, it must be noted that laws of that nature would be best for that time. In the modern age, the punishment bound to the laws would be simply unacceptable due to the fact that basic human rights are violated. For example, in section Debt Slavery, number 117 says that if a man is in debt, he to has lend a member of his family to whoever purchased him or her and for “three years they shall serve in the house of their purchaser or bondmaster.” I do not think this is fair because the wife and children are penalized for the wrongdoings of the father. The judgements were meant to protect and benefit those who had the most wealth and highest status. For instance, in section Personal Injury, the text of number 202 says, “If a man strikes the body of a man who is superior in status, he shall publicly receive sixty lashes with a cowhide whip.” Hurting someone who is ranked higher than you so to say results in not only pain, but also embarrassment. Social distinctions within the text illustrate gender inequality, specifically that men were superior to women. Many of the laws and implications surprised me in the fact that some punishments were so cruel. When I read that if a physician causes a man to die in the process of treating him, his hands are cut off, I thought that the situation could be rectified in a different way.

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  14. The document seems as though it would be fairly effective as a code of law for the time in which it was used. The document sounds fair in the beginning, but near the end it seems to favor the upper class by a large margin. I am not certain of the values of their money then, but the fetus of a peasant was worth much less than that of a (noble?) higher man’s daughter. The code certainly seems to favor the upper class. Many of these laws were quite surprising, bordering on humorous to imagine. The idea that a doctor was rewarded for successfully curing a man via a set price for his services sounds okay. The idea he has his hands removed for failing a surgical procedure is comparatively NOT okay. I personally like the idea though of their punishment for assault. If we had such laws the world would likely be much more peaceful. “You have been found guilty of assaulting this man and causing numerous serious injuries. In accordance, you are to have matching injuries inflicted on yourself.”
    Also, just curious: If a judge is found to be the reason behind a verdict being incorrectly guilty and the punishment is death, what is twelve times death?

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    • I agree that creating these judgments it results in two social classes, the high social class and the low social class. The judgments creates a benefit towards the higher social classes, and it hurts the lower social classes. I also agree that the punishments were really severe, like a hand being cut off.

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  15. Hammurabi’s judgements seem to me like they would be very effective as a law code. The people would have been so afraid of these harsh punishments that they would make sure to follow the rules. However, since the judgements were literally “set in stone”, people who commit crimes due to extenuating circumstances can’t get lesser punishment than people who commit crimes on purpose

    I found these judgements to be very biased towards men. For example in the judgements talking about divorce (137-142), Hammurabi talks about how if a man asks for a divorce, the couple will get a divorce no matter what. However, if a woman asks for a divorce, the man makes the decision whether or not to get a divorce. Even though there might be an investigation and there might still be a divorce, it is much harder for a woman to get a divorce than a man. To me, this isn’t fair.

    Another thing I found unfair about these laws was the fact that some of them seemed to see a person of higher class as being more important. For example in judgement 196 it states that if a free person hurts the eye of another free person then the attacker will have their own eye hurt (literally an eye for an eye). However, in judgement 199 it states that if the same thing happens to a slave, the punishment is merely a fine. This implies that hurting a slave was not as wrong as hurting a free person.

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    • I completely agree, and it actually unsettles me how much Hammurabi seemed to enforce these societal divisions. It just doesn’t make sense, why would they claim they’re equal when only the high-class men are?

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  16. I think that Hammurabi’s laws would have been very effective as a law code because the people would be too afraid of the punishment to break the law. The judgments were meant to protect or benefit the wealthy men from the upper class. For example it states in judgment 200-202, “if a man has knocked out the teeth of a man of the same rank, his own teeth shall be knocked out. If he has knocked out the teeth of a peasant, he shall pay one third of a mina of silver. If a guy strikes the body of a man who is superior in status, he shall publicly receive 60 lashes with a cowhide whip”. This example shows the emphasis that Hammurabi’s laws had on protecting the wealthy. Hammurabi’s laws also emphasize big genetic divide. For example a man can divorce his wife, but a wife cannot divorce her husband unless he allows her to, and if he doesn’t then she has to live as a slave in his house. The consumer protection laws surprised me because I would not have thought that they would include that in their set of laws. What really surprised me is how much the laws suppress the lower class, slaves, and women since on the first page it says that these laws were created so “that the strong might not oppress the weak”.

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    • I agree Hammurabi’s law clearly favors the those of a superior status. The peasants are not worth as much as the people of higher class. The strong are defiantly oppressing the weak

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    • I agree because even though his judgments would have been a very effective law code, they would only benefit the wealthy and I think that that is very unfair to the lower class. I also liked your point at the end of that the strong might not oppress the weak even though that’s exactly what’s going on.

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  17. I do not think Hammurabi’s laws would have been effective as a law code. The laws are violent which many people will agree is unethical. Sixty lashes publicly with a cowhide whip for hitting someone is insane. The laws definitely benefited the free men or those of a superior status quo. It says that if you destroy the eye of a free man, you would get an eye destroyed as well. But, if you destroy the eye of a peasant, you will have to pay one mina of silver, which I’m assuming is not a lot because of how little peasants are valued. So people are more likely to pull the eye of a peasant than of a free man because of the consequences. The law that said a man could not give his land or house to his wife or daughter surprised me because; what if the females are extremely better qualified? Or what if the man does not have a son? I think the gender equalities would be a centrifugal force in that society.

    And in Reply to Nic And the term is “an eye for an eye” not “an eye for an eye depending on your social class”

    -Gift O.

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    • While the laws are harsh, they are only intended to prevent the crimes from happening from the first place. The punishments do not have to be brought upon someone if they do not commit the crime. But I do agree with you on the visible gender and class inequalities.

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  18. Hammurabi’s code would work cause people would be scared to break the code. I think that this code is unfair because it is not fair that someone could have to suffer from someone else’s choices; like if a builder builds a house and it falls and kills a child of the owner then the builder child must be killed. I also don’t like how this code does not give second chances because everyone makes mistakes and minor mistakes should not result in death or some other cruel punishment.

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    • I agree with you because it is totally unfair to the builder. Also another example is the one with the doctor where if the doctor kills his patient, his hand will be cut off. So unfair at least he tried to save his patient’s life.

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      • I do understand and agree with your opinion, but also it serves as motivation for the builder and doctor to perfect their own art and keeps all people aware of the power of their leaders and what their consequences will be if they are not careful.

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    • I agree, I do not think other people should have to suffer through the consequences of someone else’s choice. I also don’t like how if a builder builds a house and it kills a child then his child is killed. I do think he should get a punishment but not as harsh as his child being killed.

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    • I agree it’s completely unfair and too severe for a small crime. It makes me think that because of these harsh punishments for even the smallest of crimes there was very little crime at all. After a couple of deaths and hands being cut off these people must have been really careful too not make any mistakes.

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  19. While the motivation behind The Judgements of Hammurabi is a noble one, most of it comes off as completely unfair and sometimes needlessly cruel. The laws might work if no one ever breaks them and they exist only to scare citizens, but as an actual code would not work. The rules involving criminal punishment seem to be based on the idea of “an eye for an eye”, which is sometimes taken quite literally (see Judgement 196). It also clearly favors the “free men”, as their well being seems to be more important to the king than that of peasants or slaves.

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  20. I think that Hammurabi’s judgements would be effective as a law code since he put so much fear in to people. His punishments were unnecessarily harsh; like cutting off a mans hands for not being able to treat a man’s severe wounds. I thought that most of his judgements were directed towards men. For example the judgements about building houses and treating a man’s wounds. I noticed that the women barely got any rights. For example they could only get divorced if their husband said it was okay and they could be sold as a slave to clear their father’s or husband’s debt. The poor and wealthy were also treated very differently. I think it was unfair that if a man causes the death of a fetus from a free mans daughter then his daughter will be killed, but if it is a daughter of a peasant he only pays five shekels of silver. A lot of the laws surprised me by how incredibly harsh they were. It makes me wonder if people broke the laws a lot considering the consequences.

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  21. I don’t know if Hammurrabi is a good guy or a bad guy but his codes/ laws make him seem harsh. Eventhough it is harsh it is still really effective. With his harsh rules nobody would want to do anything bad, but his rules are also unfair. Like the rules about the doctor and the patient where if the doctor killed the patient while trying to operate on him, his hands will be cut off. That’s unfair because the doctor is still trying to save his life at least. As I kept reading his laws became even more hurtful. I was in shock that he would actually do this. Overall this is a greatly effective way to control his people.

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  22. Hammurabi law seams a little unfair and very unusual to me. For example I do not think its fair for a builder’s child to die if the house hold he built falls and kills the householder’s child. The child of the builder has done nothing wrong and that child is be punished for his/her’s father’s short comings. Saying that I still believe these law would have worked short term and housing would be topnotch because people would be too terrified of the punishments. Eventually I think these laws would lead to blood shed and war ,however. People will undoubtedly think they have been treated unfairly and they will want to in act revenge. Another disadvantage would be that no one would want to work as a surgeon or builder for fear of the punishment that would be placed on them if they messed up.

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  23. I think Hammurabi’s judgments would have been effective. It would have definitely scared people enough to do the right thing which, makes a more complex and efficient community. For example, rule 24 says “If a man has been perpetrated bringandage, and has been caught, the man shall be slain”. Most people probably wouldn’t have wanted to commit a crime because of the fear of death. I think the judgments were meant to protect and benefit the people of a higher social class. Evidence of this are rules 197 and 198. Some social distinctions are that he favors the higher social class rather than the lower social class. An example of this is rules 209-212. It is unfair that the daughter of the man has to die for the daughter of a free man while, the daughter of the peasant is only worth half a mina silver. This shows that the freeman was considered more “valuable” than the peasant. I was surprised at rule 110 because there is no similar rule for priests.

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  24. Although the Judgments of Hammurabi is an effective way for a leader to govern a society, the fact that there is such a distinct discrimination in the social groups will most likely lead to an eventual rebel. This code is coherent that the “upper-social class” were to receive less of, or no punishment at all. While the peasants on the contrary, were to be severely restricted. According to the code, several incidents were base on social class, for example if one causes damage to another man of same class, the punishment involved the violator receiving the same damage. However, if this same man caused harm to a peasant, there will only be a fee. Likewise, if a man of “lower class” strikes a man of superior status, the man of lower class will receive sixty slashes. However what most surprised me was not the discrimination of social classes, it was the punishment from murder. For example on number 207, 208, and 212, the punishments, whether or not one was a free man or a peasants were fees, having practically the same punishments as injuring a peasant.

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    • The fact that Hammurabi incorporated serve punishments made it an effective way to govern the people. I certainly agree that social classes was a result of Hammurabi’s judgements. There were many judgements that showed that peasants and slaves were treated differently from higher rank classes. The same actions performed by a high ranked person was different of the consequences for peasants.

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  25. Hammurabi’s judgments would probably be an effective law code because of how harsh they are. The code probably inflicted tremendous fear to people making them not want to break the laws, because of the terrible punishments set in place for certain rules. The judgments defiantly favored the upper class and the rich because of how little of punishment they got for doing wrong to peasants. Peasants did not seem at all important because of how low people would have to pay them if they did them wrong. Older and upper class men seemed to have it easier regarding Hammurabi’s laws because of the advantages they have if they kill or divorce women. An example of this would be, “men can say whether of not the woman can divorce him, and if he say’s that she cannot, he can still marry another women and keep her as a slave.” Another example would be how little men have to pay peasants if they do something such as kill the daughter or unborn child of a peasant. The law that surprised me the most was how if a doctor messed up a procedure and harmed or killed a man than they would get their hands cut off. This bewilders me because it would see like this would happen often because of the terrible medical technology.

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  26. Hammurabi uses the eye for an eye point of view when he created these laws. For instance if you broke another mans bone then your bone would be broken as well. Or if you knocked a mans teeth out then you teeth would then get knocked out. I would imagine that these laws would have been very effective because of the severe punishments. It did a good job of protecting citizens from each other because if a crime is committed then the punishment would be about equal or more severe than the crime. However the administration of justice punishments were a little too severe, for example if you make an unjustified claim against a man you should not be slain. The only time when the punishments were not severe was the cases was when a man committed a crime against a peasant. The Punishment for that was often just a payment of silver to the peasant or his family which makes being in a lower social class quite scary because a rich man could do just about whatever he wanted to do to you.

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    • I agree with what you are saying about the rich being able to do pretty much whatever they want to the poor. When a peasant is harmed the punishment is much less severe. It would make a peasant feel very unimportant and not valued. Just because the poor aren’t high up in the social class doesn’t mean that they should be any less valuable. In order for a civilization to be able to function it needs both upper and lower class citizens. The lower class citizens are the ones who make the goods and provide the services, while the upper class citizens are the ones who buy the goods and services. But when the lower class people are less valued and provide others with less of a punishment people see no reason to not harm them over someone higher up in social ranks. Eventually everyone would be harming the peasants, and then who would provide the goods and services the rich needed or wanted? Nobody, so just because someone is in the lower class shouldn’t mean that the punishment for doing something bad to them is less; it should be equal.

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  27. Hammurabi’s laws are very very strict, and probably very effective. However, I feel like they are almost too strict; almost enough to make people want to rebel against him. For example, one of the laws is “if a physician has treated a man with a metal knife for a severe wound, and has caused the man to die, or has opened a man’s tumor with a metal knife, and destroyed the man’s eye, his hands shall be cut off”; this seems a little drastic. The physician was trying to help the man, not intentionally hurt him. If his hands are cut off he can no longer try to help anyone else. Why would you want to make it so someone who could have helped people no longer be able to help people? some of the other laws make more sense though. Such as this one, “if a builder has built a house for a man, and his work is not done properly, and a wall shifts, then that builder shall make that wall good with his own silver”. I agree with this law because if someone is unable to do a job someone else has payed them to do, then that other person shouldn’t have to pay them to fix it. The job should have been done correctly the first time. So, overall Hammurabi’s laws are strict and some are unreasonable, but I think that they would successfully keep a civilization in line, but maybe he should have changed a few of the laws.

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  28. I think that, in that time period, the judgments would have been an effective law code. However, I do not agree with them and they certainly would not stand as suitable laws today. I feel like the laws were to benefit certain groups of people. If one man had physically hurt another of the same rank by knocking out his teeth, then “his own teeth shall be knocked out” (200). So then the man who initially got his teeth knocked out is getting a form of pay back. There are many social distinctions in this law code though. Especially for peasants and women. In rule 198 it states, “If he has destroyed the eye of a peasant, or broken a bone of a peasant, he shall pay one mina of silver”. Peasants were not treated with as much equality as a man of a higher rank would. Also, women were not treated fairly. In rule 209 it states that, “If a man strikes the daughter of a free man, and causes her fetus to abort, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her fetus”. For killing an unborn human, the payment is ten pieces of silver. I feel like there should be a higher payment of some kind for one, striking a women, and two, killing her unborn child. That is just insane to me. Especially when if a man hits his father, his hands are cut off. Lots of laws surprised me because they were just so weird to see. For instance, today if you were to knock out someone’s teeth, you most likely wouldn’t get your teeth knocked out as punishment. Also all the unfairness to peasants and women surprised me because you would think that they would get the same privileges as men, or as men with a higher rank in social status, but they don’t because they are women, or peasants.

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    • I agree that the laws benefited the rich men in the society over the rest, but when you think about it most of those writing the laws would have been the ones at the top of the social pyramid because they were literate. So it makes sense to me how those laws were kinda one-sided, the rich were the ones writing the laws. Also, the part you said about killing someone’s unborn child by striking the women being not as punishing as the others, I completely agree, all those punishments with cutting hands off for building a bad house then for killing a unborn child you just pay some money. I feel like compared to the rest of the punishments that seems out of place.

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  29. Hammurabi’s judgments are definitely a little extreme, yet they would be very effective. It is obvious that the view point is of someone who holds power and has decided fear is the most effective way to run a community. It seems that many of the laws are based on equality; An eye for an eye, a daughter for a daughter, a wall for a wall. Then when an equal punishment is not chosen, the punishment is fairly gruesome or dangerous, besides being slain. It is also clear to see the social classes and human worth, for instance paying much less for a slave’s death/injury than a man’s death/injury. The same goes for the punishment of women’s deaths, injuries, or divorces versus that of a man’s. This doesn’t surprise me though, given the time period and discrimination throughout history.

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  30. I believe that The Judgment of Hammurabi was a very effective law code at the time. Because Hammurabi’s code was so extreme and violent people tended to follow the law so that they would not suffer the consequences of what were considered crimes. I do, however, believe that the code could be quite extreme and bias. In my opinion, the code was bias toward those who were at the top of the social pyramid, peasants and land owners were usually at disadvantage. An example of this would be the laws in the “Consumer Protection” category, if a doctor saved a wealthy man he would receive 10 shekels of silver, however, if it was a peasant that the doctor saved he would only receive five shekels of silver. This indirectly states that peasant were worth less than wealthy men. I strongly disagree with these two laws because I believe that humans should not be priced, and if they were to be, we are all worth the same amount.

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    • I don’t quite agree that we are all worth the same amount. If that was true a billionaire and a vagrant have the same amount of worth. I agree that they are both equal and should have the same rights, but saying that their worth the same amount is a bit of a stretch.

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    • I agree with you especially how the Hammurabi judgements are biased. It was based on sexism and classism. Not only the judgments were based on the social class ranking but it was also based on how the man was more of value then the women. There were some rules that back up that women did not received equal justice or punishments as the man.

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  31. No, I do not think that Hammurabi’s judgments would have been effective as a law code. The punishments were really severe for some petty crimes. I’m sure that as the laws got enforced by the violent punishments that scared the people into staying in line. Also how if people of higher class were to commit a crime they would get little punishment or no punishment at all seemed unfair. One of the laws that surprised me the most was that if a doctor were to make a mistake and the person under his care were to die his hands would be cut off. It’s shocking because it leaves no room for mistakes.

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    • Yes, I agree with you, Punishments don’t really line up with the crime. Also, I agree that the laws leave no room for mistake. Humans make mistakes, there is no denying that… that is what makes us human because we learn from them. Don’t kill us for learning.

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  32. Hammurabi’s judgements would be a good effective law code due to the fact that there was severe consequences. For example, law 195 states “If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off.” With severe punishments enforced, it would allow for more people to think about the consequences which result in a particular action. In the judgments there were two social distinctions that stood out, one was the high social class and the other one was the lower social class. For example, in law 202 it states “If a man strikes the body of a man who is superior in status, he shall publicly receive sixty lashes with a cowhide whip.” This judgment clear shows the distinction between the high social status and the low social status. The judgments were primarily meant to protect the higher social classes and it resulted in the benefit of the higher social classes. One law that surprised me was law 218 which states “If a physician has treated a man with a metal knife for a severe wound, and has caused the man to die, or has opened a man’s tumor with a metal knife, and destroyed the man’s eye, his hands shall be cut off.” The reason why this law surprised me was that if you do your job incorrectly and you make a small mistake you can get a severe punishment.

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  33. I completely agree with your response(Ruth Southall). I believe that the code was created based on equality, however, it was not followed throughout the entire document. As you get deeper into the reading it is evident that the wealthy are placed over the poor, and that men are placed above women. Personally I think this is completely unfair, and I could not imagine what the world would be like today if the Hammurabi code had diffused throughout the world and adopted by every civilization.

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  34. I think that Hammurabi’s judgments would have been effective during that time because of the fear the codes invoked in people. It’s apparent that the laws had good intentions at first for example, “If a man has destroyed an eye for another freeman, his own eye shall be destroyed” , the eye for an eye idea had the intention of being fair. However, as the laws continued they started creating numerous divided between class and gender. For example, in codes 229-231, if a builder builds a house that falls and kills the householder, he householders’ child , and his slave dies; only the life of the builder and his son are taken away, not the slave. Instead, “he shall give slave for slave to be householder”, the life of the slave didn’t matter he was simply just replaced with another. It surprised me because they were definitely not going to waste the money they spent on a slave by killing him, but they rather kill and innocent child for his fathers mistake.

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  35. While I find Hammurabi’s judgement focuses greatly on sexism and classism, I do believe these punishments would have worked to create a functioning society. Most of these laws are extreme, and the fear of the consequences of breaking one are enough to keep most people in order. For example, it is stated that if a woman cheats on a man, unless the man gives her sanction, she is to be tied and drowned. With life threatening laws like this, people would not even consider breaking them.

    In addition, I thought that his laws were protecting mainly him and high-class males. Consistently, laws involving payments to another person have lower values on money for women and peasants, and punishments are much harsher for them, too. With the laws written in this way, it is clear of social distinction between high-class males and every one else. Many of these rules shocked me; I didn’t expect such an early society to have such distinct class and gender barriers. One law that particularly surprised me was the one where if a woman was to leave her husband, and the husband said she did not divorce him, she became his slave. It seemed past extreme, as the husband could easily lie and take all rights from the girl.

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    • I do agree with the points you made, especially about how a women could become a slave just for wanting a divorce. That was very sexist thinking, considering that if a man wanted a diverse he would be afforded one and all he would have to do would be to repay her. However, I am not really surprised by the extreme distinctions between the classes and sexes. The codes Hammurabi created kind of prove the point we were talking over in class today about how class distinctions were kind of necessary for an early civilization.

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  36. I think that the laws would have been very effective, no one wants to lost a hand or an eye. It would differently suck to be a peasant though, someone could knock your teeth and you just get paid a bit of silver instead of getting to knock out a few of their teeth. I was surprised by how much “an eye for an eye” sort of justice showed up, especially in the construction of houses, i wouldn’t want to be a builder of housing then. Most of the laws favored male upper class people, but law 148 surprised me a lot, after reading all the laws about marriage (and how it favors the husband in just about every case) then seeing that if a wife gets sick the husband can’t just abandon her, he is required by law to take care of her while she lives, even if he takes another wife.

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  37. While they may be harsh, Hammurabi’s judgments would be effective. With his rules, the subjects are less likely to be tempted to commit injustices/crimes. By the looks of it, the judgments were meant to protect the victims of the crimes that were committed, However, if the woman was a victim in a crime, the man did not get much of a punishment except for a monetary one. For example, in Judgement 209 and 210, it states that if a man causes a free man’s daughter to abort by striking her, he pays ten shekels of silver, if the woman struck dies, his daughter dies. so even when the man commits the crime of killing the woman, a another female still pays the price.There is a visible gender equality imbalance in these rules. So the gender equality issue didn’t surprise me too much, although it is unfortunate. And while Hammurabi’s judgments would be effective, some of them, like 195, “If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off”(15), I admit, should’ve been tweaked, because every situation is different, to be honest.

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  38. I think that Hammurabi wasn’t using the most efficient way to maintain social order. I’m not saying it wasn’t effective, but having your subjects fear you instead of respect you isn’t healthy. Also, involving yourself in people’s personal matters is a little invading. “129. If the wife of a man is lying with another male, they shall be bound and thrown into the water.” That’s a personal matter that can be settled by the husband, wife and lover. I think that his rulings are a little harsh. “110. If a priestess who has not remained in the temple, shall open a wine-shop, or enter a wine-shop for a drink, that woman shall be burned.” Everybody’s job can be stressful and confining and going outside for a drink could really help someone in her situation. Don’t burn her for wanting to take a breather.

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  39. I feel that the laws Hammurabi created would have been effective in enforcing the rules that he created. The harshness of them would make his subjects not want to break them and have to suffer the punishment that comes with breaking one of the laws. That being said, I also feel that these codes were too harsh. As many people have already pointed out, many of these codes were based on an “eye for an eye” kind of system. For example, in codes 196, 197, 200, 229, 230, 231, 232, and 233 whatever crime a person had committed would then be done to them. In fact, 196 literally stated that if a man injured the eye of another man then his eye would be injured in return.

    However, despite this, in code 198 it specified that if a man injured the eye or bone of a peasant then the same would not be done to him, instead he would just have to pay a fine. This shows the bias that this law-code showed toward the upper-class. Other examples of this bias can be seen in code 201, 211, and 212. This bias seems hypocritical considering in the beginning Hammurabi stated that these codes were to “promote the welfare of the people” and so that “the strong might not oppress the weak”.

    In addition to the bias against peasants and slaves at the time, there was also extreme bias against women of this society. Examples of this bias are shown in codes 117 (this one directly states that a man could sell his daughter and wife into slavery to repay HIS debt), 129, 141 (this one states that if a woman wanted to get divorced her husband could refuse her THEN make her a slave in his home while he married another woman), 209, 210, 211, and 212. 209, 210, 211, and 212 all state what would happen if a man hit a women and because of that her unborn child died, if a man hit a woman and she died, if a man hit the daughter of a peasant and her fetus died, and if a man hit the daughter of a peasant and she died. In the first case, his daughter would be the one to be killed and in the other three all he would have to do would be to pay a fine. This fine he would have to pay would be significantly lower than if he had hit another man. Also, I noticed that the only times hitting a woman is punished in this society is either when it causes an abortion or it kills the woman. That shows that women were definitely not regarded as highly as men.

    The last thing that really popped out to me were codes 134 and 135. These two detailed the protocol that would be followed if a man was taken prisoner and his wife moved in with another, with 135 also saying what would happen if the man was to return. I just found these two codes interesting because they gave kind of an insight into the life of that time and you can tell that wars were a big part of their society if so many men were taken prisoner Hammurabi wrote laws about it.

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  40. Hammurabi judgments seemed quite harsh and while maybe being realistic during the time period he ruled are not in the best interest of the person being convicted. The judgement were in the benefit of the victim the person who did no wrong but what person would want to see another human intentionally have a bone broken because they broke yours. The social code was very much different than what we see today. I also kind of expected to see some of these punishments being so harsh because prison would be a more costly punishment especially in small societies.

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  41. I see the Judgments of Hammurabi as a set of rules made in so many scenarios that were so specific and had such serious consequences that the people were too scared to do anything unordinary that might risk them the punishment. The Hammurabi was an effective as law code because it was fed by the fear of its people it is protecting. The judgements were aimed to protect the welfare of the people of the Mesopotamia. The Hammurabi was enforced to protect the people but it also only benefit the higher social class more often then so. While the lower class were protected but not in benefit, they could have had a higher chance to be punished because of their social ranking. While reading the Hammurabi’s judgments, most of them were rightly made into law but some of laws did surprise by the extremeness of its punishment. For example; laws for Personal Injury, rules 195 through 197 and 200, 202, and 210 showed how the Hammurabi as a set of rules that is sort of like karma but to a more extreme measure especially if the person you have inflict harm is equal or a higher class then you. But rules like 198, 199, 201, 208, 209, 211, and 212 showed us the Hammurabi surely did not benefit the lower class by not giving the one who have harmed them the same punishments if they were to received if they harmed someone with equal or higher class. Overall the Hammurabi were successful because they inflicted fear on the one they protected and it benefited the higher class much more then the lower class.

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  42. I think that Hammurabi’s judgements were effective. For example: “If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off.” (195). The punishments for most offenses are severe, extreme, but effective because it probably made people not commit crimes due to fear. The laws benefited people in the upper social class. In 202: “If a man strikes the body of a man who is superior in status, he shall publicly receive sixty lashes with a cowhide whip.” I’m not surprised by the laws because slavery and class division was bound to happen in the early civilizations.

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    • I agree, Hammurabi’s judgement were effective and the law 195 was a bit cruel. I found it stunning that if a son struck his father then his hands would be gone. It comes to my mind that now a days we don’t see this form of punishment and because of this some kids tend to treat their parent with such a low level of respect that it wouldn’t be tolerated in the 18th century with Hammurabi’s judgements.

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  43. I feel that Hammurabi’s laws are a effective way of governing people. It utilizes fear to scare people into not breaking the law. In my opinion, it is a bit harsh. It is essentially an eye for an eye system-Literally!!.For example, “If a man has destroyed the eye of another, his own eye shall be destroyed”. Ouch!
    Hammurabi’s laws were meant to protect commoners and those falsely accused. However, it doesn’t protect all innocent people such as “If the child of the householder is killed, the child of that builder shall be slain”.
    What stood out to me was the abundance of laws where people were executed or given severe injuries such loss of teeth, hands, bones, etc.

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    • I agree with your opinion on the punishments being harsh. I think that Hammurabi was harsh and cruel because he was fair in a sense but at the same time he was not being fair because innocent people would be punished for a crime that they did not commit.

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  44. Hammurabi’s judgments was created to protect its people and serve as a system of justice. However many can argue that the punishments that came from Hammurabi could have restricted many from actually living a normal life. I believe that Hammurabi’s ideas was effective for maintaining the mass population because he created extreme punishments based off of fear. Based on the judgments it’s pretty fair to say that the wealthy, high-ranked classes are the ones who are protected and benefited from these judgments. Low ranked classes such as peasants and slaves were not equally treated. They had harsh punishments such as judgement 199 “If he has destroyed the eye of a man’s slave, or broken a bone of a man’s slave, he shall pay half of his value.” Other judgments varied from receiving punishment like paying back silver and the loss of a body part if you harmed another human but in this judgment the owner receives unequal punishment for his action. Another example that surprised me was the example that if a wife of a man is found lying with another male, the wife will then be thrown into the water. This was interesting because it shows that gender does have an impact his judgments.

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  45. I believe Hammurabi’s set of laws was effective and beneficial. These set of laws were established for the good of the people and in a way it reminded people that if you weren’t going to abide to these set of laws then major consequences would be waiting at your door. In “The Judgements of Hammurabi” law 218, a physician that treated a man causing him to die would result in the removal of the physician’s hand. This meant physicians had to always give it their best, but every time a physician had to operate on a patient, his hands were on the line. In a sense, I believe the punishments were a little bit on the heavy side and the punishments could have been less cruel, but with fear it was an effective way to govern people. In the sets of laws, you can clearly see a social distinctions. The Hammurabi laws favored the upper rich class. High social classes would have a lesser sentence compared to peasants and slaves. An example would be in law 200 and 201. Law 200 states “If a man has knocked out the teeth of a man of the same rank, his own teeth shall be knocked out. Law 201 states “If he has knocked out the teeth of a peasant, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver. In this example, the upper class would usually pay a small fine usually in money while a less ranked man would have to knock out his own teeth. But was not given the option to pay in mina. Under the consumer protection, I was surprised by how much consequences a builder faced. If a house tipped over and killed the home owner, then the builder’s life would come to an end.

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  46. I am very half and half on whether I agree with Hammurabi’s Code or whether I don’t. Yes these laws were very effective for their time, but some of these laws were very over the top for example, “if a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off.” Yes I do agree that sons should never put their hands on their parents, but what if the son was defending himself from the father? Though I did agree with the an eye for an eye law, basically showing that what you do onto someone can be done onto you.

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  47. Hammurabi’s judgments would have been extremely effective as law codes. Everyone would of followed the rules carefully because if they broke any one of them they had very severe punishments. Trying to enforce rules like that today would not work out and would never be accepted by the society due to the many violations of human rights.
    Most of these laws and punishments seem very unfair to me. For example when the law codes talk about doctors (215-218), Hammurabi says that if the patient is saved or cured they will get money in return. However, if the patient is killed or injured then the doctor will in return have to cut off his hands. This punishment is so out there in comparison to what might happen if a doctor did that to a patient today. They will get a lawsuit filed against them, but cutting off their hands is a little exaggerated. You will cause them their career and affect their daily life just for making a mistake. Which lead me to believe that not a lot of people became physicians due to the consequences that it could lead to.
    One other thing out of the many that I found unfair is the treatment that women get in these law codes and in the society. They were given some rights but certainly not as many as the men. For example in law codes 209-212, it is explained that if a man hurts a women through physical abuse the most they would have to pay is 10 shekels of silver. That also meant that if a man killed a pregnant women all they had to do was pay a small price. Human lives are worth so much more than what Hammurabi perceived them as.

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    • I agree with your argument about hoe enforcing those laws in today’s societies would not be very successful. Yes, we are accustomed to limited freedom, but we certainly have more freedom than what the people of Mesopotamian people would have received. We can live our daily lives without having to worry about making a mistake and eventually dying from it (nobody’s perfect).
      Lastly, I agree that human life was not valued enough by Hammurabi. He was quick to ends someone’s life as a punishment, when little did he realize that death can affect the people who were close to the victim more so than the actual victim.

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  48. I think that Hammurabi’s law is an effective way of governing people. It definitely does establish fear of consequences. I found it interesting that if you were to harm someone at the same level as you, it’s an “eye for an eye” but if you were to harm a superior you would be punished much more severely, as well as if you harmed a peasant you would only pay a fine. Although i don’t agree with their “ancient” ways of dealing with conflict it makes sense in how they create the punishment to “fit the crime”.

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  49. Hammurabi’s judgments would have definitely been effective as a law code. His judgments would establish fear, which is part of how humans have striven to survive. In Hammurabi’s judgments, it seemed like he was more on the males’ and upper class’ side. Most of the law codes benefited one of the two. For example, judgment 38 says “a captain, soldier, or official may not give his field, or garden, or house to his wife or his daughter…” This is unfair to the women because they most likely worked just as hard to keep the field, house, or garden stable. In addition, that is unfair to the poor because what if that piece of land was the last thing in their name, how was their family supposed to survive.
    Moreover, death and not being able to accept accidents seemed to be the theme of his law code. One way or another someone would most likely end up dying. For example, judgments 229-233 all blame the builder for the house collapsing. How would they know that it wasn’t an animal that caused the house to be a failure, or that it was simply an accident.
    One of the laws that mainly stuck out to me was 230. The child of the builder would have to die when nothing was actually his fault. In a way, it makes sense because the owner of the failed and the builder would both end up feeling the pain of loosing a child, but it is simply not fair.

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  50. I think that Hammurabi’s law is very interesting when dealing with the roles and respect given to families. Despite living in a society where casually renting out your family for slavery for three years is a perfect excuse to get out of debt, they hold a high respect for marriage and a brutal disrespect for children. Divorce is similar to a refund in Hammurabi’s law, only costing the low price of whatever the husband paid his wife’s family to marry her. Should a wife be found lying with another man, both her and her new lover will be allowed to live the rest of their two-timing lives underwater with their hands and feet bound. If the husband does not want his wife to die, then the man she slept with will be taken as a servant. This is an all-or-nothing decision of capital punishment, or paying your debt through slavery. Besides the price of adultery being death by drowning or enslavement, the cost of a son striking his own father are his hands being cut off. There are plenty of examples of children getting the short end of the stick when it comes to paying far too much for crimes they didn’t even commit. “If a man strikes the daughter of a free man, and causes her fetus to abort, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her fetus.” Putting a price on a fetus is already a morbid and difficult topic, especially if the fetus was killed from its mother being beaten. However, “If the woman dies, his daughter shall be slain.” This means that if the man beats a free man’s daughter to death, his own daughter will be killed to… compensate? I know this wasn’t the Paleolithic era where the most people on each continent was at least thirty, and every child and every death is precious to the survival of the band, but are children really so expendable in Hammurabi’s eyes? Speaking of eyes, Hammurabi’s law literally suggests ‘an eye for an eye’ in 195, “If a man has destroyed the eye of another free man, his own eye shall be destroyed.” Notice the distinct favoritism over the free man, suggesting a much higher punishment for so much as attacking a free man can result in your death. “If he has destroyed the eye of a peasant, or broken a bone of a peasant, he shall pay one mina of silver.”

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