Hammurabi's Code of Laws

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“Code of Hammurabi,” which is the primary source, is a law-related documentary that described rules and regulations in ancient Persia[1]. The codes were imprinted in a Persian stone at around 1901. Various researchers have shown that Hammurabi used these codes to show the role of law enforcement irrespective of the aspect of time. Also, the piece portrayed historical importance because it was produced at the time when individuals and rulers needed a legal system of administration. While the author of these codes summarized the legal requirements of human generation, he successfully incorporated many themes that tend to address culture, religion, and wellbeing of individuals during the time. Concerning the description of “Code of Hammurabi,” it is evident that the author wanted to explain the role of legal codes in illustrating the religious, societal and cultural situation.

Religious Norms

The document conveyed the religious norms of society in the 19th century. There exist many reasons that reveal how religion influenced Hammurabi, who was the ruler at the time, to focus on drafting rules and regulations. According to the documentary, we can see that the author based his legal arguments on religious perspectives, where his judgment could easily trace from the Bible: the law, for instance, prohibited adultery, and other sexual offenses. This code directly coincides with the religious teachings that one is not allowed to commit adultery. According to the religious perspective, adultery and fornication are a sin, and many followers are always advised to shun away from such actions. Still, on the same point, those who engaged in adultery faced various many harsh penalties such as death or being burnt. This condition though is against the religious believes particularly in the modern world, it has some moral lessons that people ought to learn to lead a holy and religious life. I think Hammurabi drafted this rule based on religious perspectives as a religion tend to advise people to live harmoniously with each other, and therefore should not engage in unlawful things that are prohibited by all religious denominations.

Penalties for Theft and Killing

On the other hand, the people suffered the death penalty whenever they were found culpable of committing thefts and killings. These acts are majorly against our religious briefs both in ancient and modern generations. Based on the “Code of Hammurabi,” it is true that individuals were reliable to various series of punishment to reverse their actions and follow a religious path.

Role of Religion in Society

The religious concept is exhibited to work for the societal goods[2]. In this case, the Codes of Hammurabi regarded city’s god as being originated from the land that covered by irregular rings. From these descriptions, one can deduce that Hammurabi and his followers believed in religion and supernatural powers. Still, on a similar point, the author affirmed that the religious leaders have a profound influence on the nature and status of the law of the land. According to it, national rules and regulations formulate the rule that coincides with religious demands. In addition to the formulation of policies, religion tends to play a fundamental role in establishing the requirement of the always. This condition is, for example, depicted whenever Hammurabi was describing the punishment imposed on those that break the law. Based on the codes, it is true that the document incorporated religious demands such as “burning to death” among other forms of punishment.

Cultural Briefs

“Code of Hammurabi” was drafted by then the ruler of Persia to convey cultural briefs in the society. There exist many pieces of evidence in the documentary that can help the modern generation to ascertain various cultures of ancient people. According to the description, it is evident that the man is the head of the house. In addition to the role of a man, marriage is expected to be between a man and women, and any contradiction may lead to authoritative questioning and other forms of punishment. Another important cultural briefs portrayed in the main source is the aspect of offering sacrifices. Based on the concept, it is evident that peoples embarked on the continuous offering of sacrifices whenever they either face internal or external problems. From the quotes “The temple occupied a most important position. It received from its estates, from tithes and other fixed dues, as well as from the sacrifices,” we can see that many people believed in the aspect of offering sacrifices while at the same time engaging in religious proceedings. Apart from sacrifices, the temple was also used to praise the gods as well as fostering for political harmony among various politicians in the country. Also, the “Code of Hammurabi” considered the issue period and expected audience in the process of fulfilling cultural concepts. In this regard, many cultural practices like marriage and polygamous dates back as early as the 17th century. By availing the cultural ideals, the author of this documentary wanted to show how cultures affect both the political and economic status of not only a specified individual but also the nation at large. From the perspective of the audience, the author intended to inform the world on culture the previous culture was used to shape the current historical concepts. The concept will be helpful, especially to those students who are studying world history, as it will empower them with the necessary knowledge and skills on the subject in question.

Social Relationships

The text in the document is a direct reflection of social relationships in Persian society. The social relationship, which is common even in the modern world, is grouped into various forms. The first group is a husband-wife relationship. This kind of relationship emerges immediately after marriage. According to the document, it is evident that the husband-wife relationship may either be short or long-lived depending on the circumstances. In addition to this, marriage was also regarded as a contract between the wife and the husband, and therefore the relationship breaks at the end of the contract. Considering marriage arrangements, we can see that relatives were the main contributors of material things as well as giving societal advice and encouragement to the couple before official marriage. The document, which was addressing the status of marriage and other social issues, depicted laid down rules and regulations that were to be followed at all times, failure to which could lead to a specified form of punishment. These series of relationships are indeed common among the modern society, which I think emanated from the past behavior.

Legal Codes and Societal Situation

Also, the author employed the use of legal codes to explain the societal situation during the time[4]. Even though there was no formal legal framework to steer up a constitutional amendment, the traditional ancient leaders, just like Hammurabi, opted to use less sophisticated means to deliver legal information to the general public. In the text, there are many situations in which the author of “Codes of Hammurabi” used to enhance not only the legal aspect of the citizens but provided relevant blueprints for future constitutional implementations. The most important issues that found which relate to the societal situation are the way the text incorporated marital behaviors and their eventual problems. It is, for example, the codes of Hammurabi could allow the husband to send away a misbehaved wife. According to it, a wife who misbehaves is forced to divorce in a harsh situation. In this case, the author was on the view that “If she had a bad wife, Code allowed him to send her away, while he kept the children and her dowry; or could degrade her to the position of a slave in his own house.” These views tend to mishandle the feminine in society, as according to it, the wives are regarded as the second in both cultural setups and social ranking. The actions of viewing women negatively, although currently less experienced, has continued to occur; thereby affecting their morale to do important issues like societal management among others.

Gender Differences and Wealth Acquisition

Another thing related to societal norms emanates from the need to acquire wealth and other economic belongings[5]. According to the documentary, society tends to restrict the feminine from acquiring wealth, thereby affecting their overall economic prowess. For a married couple, the family-related wealth is counted as that of the man irrespective of the person who brought it. Although against the norms of modern society, I think “Codes of Hammurabi,” as a rule at the time, facilitated gender differences between the feminine and masculine. The wife, on the other hand, believed to emulate the status of the husband in the family when he dies. This is a rule that was stated by “Codes of Hammurabi” to alleviate negative consequences of the siblings after the death of a masculine personality in the family. This concept is revealed in the quote which states that “as a window, the wife took her husband’s place in the family, living on his house and bringing up the children.” The author was also on the view that the affected family could allow the window to remarry under certain circumstances like court orders among other factors that are deemed to changes every time. The nature of order-related consent was also dependent on one’s rank in political and social perspectives. In addition to social ranking, this law stipulated that a monogamy husband that is married to a childless woman is forced to marry either a maid or at the nearby village, whichever the case. However, the wife remains to be the sole owner of the home and every material thing. About this issue, the “Codes of Hammurabi” might be forced to take legal action against a husband who remarries in spite of having children with his maid.


In conclusion, the “Code of Hammurabi” is a document that reveals the legal that took place in the 19th century, particularly in part of Persia and Babylon. Hammurabi, who was by then the chief ruler, drafted remarkable rules that governed the well-being of citizens in a social, religious, and cultural perspective.

Work Cited

 “Code of Hammurabi” (2014). Gale World History in Context. World History in Context.

 Peter von Silvers., Charles A., & Stow A. George (2005). Patterns of World History: Volume One 1600. 3rd ed.

[1] “Code of Hammurabi” (2014). Gale World History in Context. World History in Context.

[2] “Code of Hammurabi” (2014). Gale World History in Context. World History in Context.

[3] Peter von Silvers., Charles A., & Stow A. George (2005). Patterns of World History: Volume One 1600. 3rd ed.

[4] Code of Hammurabi” (2014). Gale World History in Context. World History in Context.

[5] Peter von Silvers., Charles A., & Stow A. George (2005). Patterns of World History: Volume One 1600. 3rd ed.

November 13, 2023

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Middle East

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