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Hammarubi's Code of Law

            The Code of Hammurabi's major focus is to ensure the "protection of the weak from the powerful and the poor from the rich." 1 Hammurabi's Code covered a broad range of subjects such as family values, business, labor, and personal property. He grouped the 282 laws according to their subject matter and carved them onto a plaque for all his people to see.
             Hammurabi based his punishments on the principle of an eye for an eye. Crimes involving theft, adultery, kidnapping, harboring fugitives or slaves, and incest were what we consider high crimes and punishable by death under The Code.
             In most cases Hammurabi's Code held the same punishment for an individual regardless of sex or status when it came to thievery and family matters. The issue of class becomes significant in laws that relate to bodily injury such as #196 through 199. For the Amelu (the man of the family, someone with land) if you "put out the eye of another man (Amelu), his eye shall be put out." If an Amelu puts out the eye of a Maskinu (free-man) or Ardu (slave) then he pays a fee. The same relates to other bodily injuries one person brings on another. Other instances when the laws reflected status was when a slave was killed, the slave was either replaced with another slave or the amelu received payment for the cost of the slave. The one area where class distinction was in the favor of the Maskinu and Ardu was for medical attention, the fees they were required to pay were lower than the amelu. .
             Women in Babylonian society were generally expected to marry and have a family, however they could choose to remain single and go into a profession such as a nun, tavern owner, wet nurse, or priestess in lieu of marriage. The same laws applied to women as did to men regardless of class in the area of personal injury and accidental death. The one specific area where women were judged and men were not was Adultery. (129, 131, 132) A woman found guilty of Adultery was drowned with her lover.

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