Why Is Hammurabi Important To Modern Society

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Ancient civilisations and cultures lacked many aspects of what exists in modern society today. The aspect that was the most lacking was the presence of a sophisticated and well structured legal system. Hammurabi, the 6th King of the Babylonian Empire first institutionalised law in 18th Century BC with his ‘Code of Hammurabi’. This code is the oldest set of existing laws. They were 282 laws addressing many aspects of life including civil law such as property and liability insurances, family laws regarding inheritance and the adoption of children, and even addressed trade and practicing medicine. The code was predominantly based on the principles that the punishment should equal the crime committed. It also followed the class system that was…show more content…
This is what Hammurabi tried to achieve after conquering all of Mesopotamia. His code addressed this by unifying and securing the empire by setting a standard for moral values, religion, class structure, and gender relationships. Claiming that he received laws from the sun god, Shamash, assisted in the acceptance and acknowledgement of the laws amongst the empire. This was the first time that one system of laws would be used everywhere a government would be not only running, but also defining the concept of law and order. The Code was class based and favoured the upper class. They were protected by the law of retaliation as the punishment for a crime committed against them is often a death sentence. This is seen in law…show more content…
One of these is the ideal of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Hammurabi outlines the importance of this with law three:

“3. If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.”

This law places incredible pressure on the accuser forcing them to have evidence to back up their claim. The elders are also protected by the concept of innocent until proven guilty, they are not punished as soon as someone accuses them of a crime but are rather innocent until there is provided evidence that proves them to be guilty. This principal is present today in some form in almost all legal systems and cultures around the world. Finally, Hammurabi represents an early model for minimum wages within his code. There are multiple laws which state how much a worker should be getting paid for certain tasks. Field labourers and herdsmen were guaranteed a wage of “eight gur of corn per year,” and ox drivers and sailors received six gur. Doctors, meanwhile, received 5 shekels for healing a freeborn man of a broken bone or other injury, but only three shekels for a freed slave and two shekels for a

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