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Ancient Civilizations

Law in Mesopotamia

Among the best accomplishments of Mesopotamians would be the very first written codified laws that show the amount of societal, political, economic and legal evolution of the Mesopotamian culture. Legislation in Mesopotamia is often closely correlated with Code of Hammurabi inscribed on seven feet along with four inches (2,25 meter) tall stela found at Susa but the earliest law codes date in the Sumerian Period. The earliest example of a legal code is credited to Urukagna who dominated that the Sumerian city-state of Lagash from the 24th century BC through the actual text hasn’t been uncovered.

The Code of Ur-Nammu made by Ur-Nammu of Ur (21s century BC) is the earliest known code of law that is only partially preserved. The laws were inscribed on a clay tablet in Sumerian language and organized in casuistic type, a pattern where a crime is accompanied by a punishment that was also the cornerstone of almost all codes of legislation such as the Code of Hammurabi. Code of Ur-Nammu can be noteworthy for instituting monetary compensations for inflicting bodily injuries that are considered quite advanced for its earliest known code of law enforcement.

Detail of stele of Hammurabi’s Code

Based on Code of Ur-Nammu, the Code of Hammurabi in the 18th century BC foundations on principle”an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (lex talionis). Among the most well-known historical codes comprises 282 judgements of criminal and civil law. The penalties differ from crime as well as on the social condition of the offender but even slaves had any rights.

Hittite cuneiform tablets in the 14th century BC discovered at Hattusa additionally contain the number of Hittite legislation that foresees less severe penalties than the code of legislation. Penalties were in some instances were reduced at least two times. Hittite laws also show an anxiety to a more systematical arrangement in the serious to minor violations. The Hittites didn’t follow lex talionis.

With an increase of Assyria also happened modifications in penal laws that were severer and more barbarous. Death punishment and corporal penalties like flogging and cutting off noses and ears were rather common, while driven labour was the most frequent punishment for significantly less severe offences. Besides severer penalties that the Assyrian law also reflects the excellent change of societal standing of women. Girls in Babylon and Hittite Empire were almost equivalent to men and were allowed to divorce, even though a guy in Assyria was permitted to kill his wife if she committed adultery and also to send his wife away without divorce cash.

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