Kingship—Linking Heaven and Earth: Try to imagine these three distinct situations: The year is 1124 B.C.E and in China, the Zhou dynasty has recently prevailed over the largely successful Shang Empire. Just years earlier in approximately 3100 B.C.E, near the smooth flowing Nile, a conqueror by the name of Menes (Narmer) was in the process of establishing a centralized state which was to be ruled by the supreme pharaoh. Back in “the land between the two rivers”, Babylonian ruler King Hammurabi was enforcing his strict judgements and codes of law. Based on these three separate situations, it is easy to view and perceive the cultural differences between each ancient civilization. Despite cultural differences, miles of separation, and existence in difference centuries, all three of the civilizations discussed above share one distinct similarity that links them all together—The link between Earth and heaven. All three civilizations maintained an expectation for their kings to perform the same task: to serve as the main connector between the heavens and life on Earth. Beginning in Mesopotamian civilization, the link between mere mortals and the gods was the leader or King; in this case, specifically King Hammurabi. As a remarkable leader of the Babylonian empire, he strongly believed that the only way to maintain adequate and successful rule over his empire was to establish laws. His laws were very extensive and exhaustive, highlighting and pointing out societal issues at the
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The Code of Hammurabi is one of history’s oldest and best – preserved written law which appeared in Mesopotamia around 1760 BCE. “It consists of customary norms that were collected toward the end of his reign and inscribed on a diorite stela set up in Babylon's temple of Marduk, the god of Babylonia. The 282 chapters include economic provisions (prices, tariffs, trade, and commerce), family law (marriage and divorce), as well as criminal law (assault, theft) and civil law (slavery, debt). Penalties varied according to the status of the offenders and the circumstances of the offenses. ” These laws considered words which sent by the Sun god Shamash to Hammurabi. Therefore, people believed that as long as they obey the laws, then they obey the god’s words.
Hammurabi believed in an open and transparent contract of law for citizens and residents of Babylon along with what today leaders call and ‘open door policy’ by making himself available to his people. Leaders were held to the highest moral and ethical standards, it was one of the first known openly use of equality in law so much so that justice was blind to your position in society, race or sex. Under Hammurabi’s leadership organization and strategy were key factors in unifying Mesopotamia. Hammurabi understood in order to effectively maintain control of newly conquered city-states he had to rebuild and improve the city-state. This took considerable organization in order
The Mesopotamian laws, in contrast, were hard and unfortunate, which were set by King Hammurabi himself during his long reign of Babylon. In Hammurabi's court, it did not matter if you were rich or poor, if you broke the law, and were found guilty, you would be punished and required to follow the laws and punishments that were clearly written in stone (the code of Hammurabi).
Nearly 4,000 years ago, a man named Hammurabi became king of babylonia. He ruled for 42 years. During that time, he became the ruler of much of Mesopotamia, which had an estimated population of 1,000,000 people or more. In his 38th year, Hammurabi made a set of 282 laws called a code that he had engraved on a stone stele. He did this to bring order and fairness to all. There has been some debate about the justness of this code. In my opinion, Hammurabi’s code was not just because of it’s family law, property law, and personal injury law.
Mesopotamia was a decentralized civilization, and resulted with many rulers leading the many city-states within the empire. Due to the many wars occurring within, kings were originally war leaders, and the function of defense and war, including leadership of a trained army, remained vital. Due to being many rulers within the empire, there were many internal conflicts, let alone the outside ones, which resulted in Mesopotamia further advanced its empire by developing ideas for a bureaucracy and laws, by using Hammurabi’s code. It laid down the procedure for law courts and regulated property rights and duties of family members, setting harsh punishments for crimes. This focus on standardizing a legal system was one of the features of early civilization. Also, the political structure there was enforced by none other than the Sumerians, which can be seen in many similar ideas and traits passed on today’s modern
In Mesopotamia, Hammurabi equated accomplishments and prosperities to the gods’ intentions. Around 1755 B.C.E., Hammurabi created a law code that dealt with social, economic, and judicial conventions. According to Hammurabi,
After the Neolithic Revolution people had the opportunity to settle as they pleased. This allowed for the development of civilizations. These civilizations had rulers, during the 18th century BCE Hammurabi was the King of Babylon. He ruled over ancient Mesopotamia and established a set of rules for his nation. Hammurabi claimed that Shamash, the god of heaven and earth, had given him these rules and the authority to carry them out. Hammurabi’s Code included two hundred and eighty-two laws that set a structure for the city-state of Mesopotamia. Family matters, property law, and even personal matters were ruled unfairly under Hammurabi’s Code.
Hammurabi ruled the First Babylonian Empire from 1792 to 1750 BCE (class discussion, 08/29/17). Before Hammurabi, law code was understood among citizens, most likely, through oral retellings and interpretation. With the writing of these laws in circa 1780 BCE, citizens could understand what they could and could not do and provided the king with better regulation of the Babylonian people. This regulation was also provided through their belief in divine right, a concept where the king is given the throne through the approval of the gods.
Hammurabi was the king of Babylonia around 4000 years ago. Hammurabi had a code of laws with 282 laws. He had 3 different types of laws, family laws, property laws, and personal injury laws. These laws might seem just, but they are unjust.
Ancient China and ancient Egypt were both two sophisticated civilizations that created a religion as a way to explain the natural phenomena they encountered and the unknown. Although different in many ways, their religions do share many similarities with each other. One of these similarities is that both of the religions are polytheistic. In both Chinese and Egyptian religion, there are many different gods, and each god rules in their own domain. However, not only do both religions have more than one god in them, but also many of the gods from both religions are very similar to each other in the sense that they rule over the exact same thing. For example in ancient Chinese religion there is a sky god, just like the sky god in ancient Egyptian religion. Another similarity that both religions have in common with each other is that each religion has it’s own “high god” that rules above all of the other gods. For the Chinese it is Shang-Ti, the supreme god who rules above
By reading The Code of Hammurabi, we are able to glimpse back at the social structure and law found of ancient Babylon. The practiced law of the time focused a great deal on being accountable for one’s actions, equally punishing individuals, and preserving a societal patriarchy. These laws were considered to be from the mouth of an almighty god and were enforced as the law of the land. By reviewing Hammurabi’s code, we are able to see the large role that these major themes played in the social structure of ancient Babylon, and how they characterize the ancient civilization as we know it today. One of the main themes found throughout Hammurabi’s code is accountability.
The first example can be found in The Sumerian King List used by the Sumerians lays out how their kingship had descended and passed on from one king to another. The list starts out by saying, “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridu” (SKL 4). This means that the ancient Sumerians believed that before there was a human ruler the gods in heaven ruled over the land. This means they also believed that the first king was chosen by the gods to be the ruler, and thus legal authority was a holy affair. Another example of the heaven’s involvement is, “After the Flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kiš” (SKL 24-25). This piece of the list indicates that since that man could not pass the kingship themselves, the heavens had to step in
As we look into Hammurabi’s code; which is described as being the first evidence of written law. We realize how laws have helped with the creation of improved social and moral obligation overall. Though Hammurabi’s laws were perhaps more tailored to the rich, it did bring about a sense of equality. This was made evident by the shift of power from one individual who ruled; to a group considered the legal establishment.
The Ancient Mesopotamians followed a standard covenant that stated humans were to serve the gods because this was the sole purpose of humanity. Mesopotamians believed it was the job of the ruler, who was selected by the gods, to protect the community by maintaining the covenant and in return, the gods granted protection, prosperity, land and children to those who served them. Those who broke the rules or went against the king and the gods,
The limitations of the code of Hammurabi begin with ranking. Everybody in the area gets punished if they break a rule, but depending on what you do and where you stand in social class will determine your punishment. The rules and laws that they create are announced to everybody, so he who breaks a law is completely aware of why he has broken the rules and it is his fault entirely. The currency price is short but it’s because each gold mina or coin, contains much value.