Hammurabi the views of a 21st century

Hammurabi was the king of the city-state known as Babylon for 42 years.

In his 38th year as ruler, Hammurabi created 282 laws that would later be known as Hammurabi’s code. These laws displayed extreme consequences to any actions that were not viewed as socially acceptable. Some of these consequences could be seen as unjust in the views of a 21st century mindset.

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An example of these harsh codes was Law 129. This law states that if a woman is caught cheating on her husband, then they will punished by being tied together and drowned. (Doc A) This punishment would not be seen as socially acceptable in today’s world because problems like this could be easily solved by divorce or forgiveness. Another example of how Hammurabi’s code would be seen as unjust in today’s view is Law 218. This law states that if a surgeon operates on one’s body and causes death, then his hands would be cut off. (Doc E) This is extremely immoral in today’s view because if the patient has a serious injury, sometimes there is nothing a surgeon can do.

This especially applies in emergency situations. If this law was still in place, there would be almost no surgeons left to operate. Law 195 also makes the extreme consequences of people’s actions very clear. This law says that if a man hits his father, then his hands will be cut off. (Doc C) Even though an action like this is still extremely disrespectful, cutting off his hand would be unethical. Instead, discipline him or if he is old enough you could press legal charges against him. These laws and punishments may have been socially acceptable during that time, but in the views of today’s world these laws and punishments are considered extreme and cruel.


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