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Hammurabi s code was it just

Hammurabi’s Code:Was It Just?

Hammurabi (ha-moo-rob-bee) was the king of Babylon in the 18th Century BCE and wrote one of the world’s oldest sets of laws. We will be looking at the fairness or how “just” these set of laws were. Keep in mind the punishments and rewards that made up Hammurabi’s code.


What’s your opinion?

Case 1:

Eddie is caught shoplifting a cell phone at Radio Shack. Eddie is 15 years old. It is a first offense. The police call his parents, and Eddie returns the phone. There will be no criminal record.

What do you think?

Is it fair to Eddie?

Is it fair to Radio Shack?

Is it fair to society? Is it in the best interest of society?

Case 2:

J.D. is caught shoplifting a cell phone at Radio Shack. J.D. is 19 years old. This will be his third felony conviction, all for shoplifting. Because of the Three Strikes law, his state requires that he serve a minimum of ten years in prison with no chance of parole.

What do you think?

Is it fair to J.D.?

Is it fair to Radio Shack?

Is it fair to society? Is it in the best interest of society?

With your neighbor:

Pick a rule in our school and decide if it is just or not. Explain.

-Is it fair to the rule breaker?

-Is it fair to those who are harmed?

-Is it fair to the greater school community?

In their record-keeping, Babylonians did not refer to calendar years, but to years in a ruler’s reign. For example, “…in the 17th year of Hammurabi’s reign…” The essay gives 1792 BCE as the first year of Hammurabi’s reign. Most historians would agree that this is uncertain, and some estimate it varies by 70 years.


3500 BCE- Sumerians settle in southern Mesopotamia.

1900 BCE- Amorites from Syria conquer Sumer.

1792 BCE- Hammurabi becomes sixth Amorite king of Babylon.

1750 BCE- End of Hammurabi’s nearly 43 year rule.

1600 BCE- Hittite invasion ends Amorite rule in Babylonia.

332 BCE- Alexander the Great dies in Babylon after planning to make Babylon the capital of his empire.

Important Vocabulary:

City-state- independent entity that consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.

Babylonia-an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present day Iraq), emerged as a major power when Hammurabi created an empire out of the territories of the former empire.

Mesopotamia- “between rivers,” the area of the Tigris-Euphrates river system.

Cuneiform- one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerged in Sumer around 30th century BCE. Began as a system of pictographs.

Stele- a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, used commonly for funerals or commemorative purposes.