Hammurabi became the king of Babylon in 1792 bc. He was one of the most unforgettable person of earl civilized history. Clearly he was not only a king but also with his conquest he was a warrior. In addition he provided justice and thereby he could be considered as ruler or diplomat. He codified and prescribed virtually 300 laws which could not be overlooked in his world. Therefore it is important to analyze these laws, in order to understand the social order and why he was respectable person.
When these 300 laws are examined, it can be seen that almost every rule includes conditional statements, second consequences. Basically the justice system was based on retaliation which means “eye for an eye, a toot for tooth”. When someone physically injures one other, will be punished and suffer the same pain. Even though these implementations provide justice for people who had no respectable social status, not all were socially equal according to laws. If a person is a member of the elite, s/he would not be equated with people in lower classes.
These punishments are thus only equal when the parties involved are socially equal. For instance, according to the 202th rule claimed that “cheek of a member of the elite who is of a higher social status, he shall be flogged in public with 60 strikes of an ox-whip. (Mieroop, 2005, p. 105) Other important aspect of Hammurabi is that he renowned these laws in the form of deiform purpose. Obviously murder was considered one of the highest crime among society and thereby its punishment was death.
The second half of the passage invokes the gods of Babylon to curse and punish those who would not heed Hammurabi’s pronouncements or change them… he wishes upon them death, destruction and the reversal of all good things that gods provide. ” (Mieroop, 2005, p. 101) As it can be understood he was ranked with gods in terms of sanctions in hierarchical perspective by the citizens. Based on all above mentioned it can be deduced that Hammurabi placed great emphasis on justice and his laws.
However these laws did not try to impose a uniform system of justice or did not included judicial process. He believed that his kingship was granted by gods and thereby he considered weak people among his people and protect them against injustice or powerful people who have a privilege. Because of these reasons he could be considered as unforgettable person in history.
Marc Van de Mieroop, King Hammurabi of Babylon: A Biography (2005) by Blackwell Publishing Ltd pp 101-105