The old world is constantly depicted as one rife with lawlessness and chaos. The strong ruled the day and destroyed the weak, wreaking havoc upon the stability of societies, creating a dynamic more similar to jungle life than civil society.
But was that really the case? Was human existence defined by lawlessness and endless bloodshed? That is a strong judgement to make. Evidence is required to judge if human existence was truly unruly and harsh in the ancient past.
Fortunately though, evidence does exist to support the notion of law and order was the foundation of society, evenin the old times…
Dating all the way back to the 18th century BC, the Hammurabi code is a legal system that was developed in Babylon, just as it began to elevate itself onto the first stages of its rise as an empire.
Back then, the major Kingdom of Babylon that we know today, was actually just a little city Kingdom competing with many others in its surrounding region.
Of course, as you can tell, the city became the large Kingdom it was by conquering the nearby city territories, integrating it into the empire we know today.
The code of law was created by King Hammurabi, the 6th king of Babylon, to force peace and order within the empire. Known as one of the earliest codes in history, the Hammurabi code of law was an inspiration for the laws and legal systems of many empires to come.
Hammurabi wasn’t just a guy who made up laws while spending all his efforts imposing them. The code of laws he created provides a gauge or window into the type of mindset that existed at that time.
In addition to being a man interested in law and order, Hammurabi was a man who had an expansive conqueror’s mindset. He did not settle for a limited kingdom, like the neighboring city kingdoms did at his time. He strived for more, and sought to expand Babylon as far as possible.
Laws introduced by Hammurabi contributed to the management of many aspects of life, including family, slavery, trade, property and even agriculture. The laws set by the code he developed, would grant him favor in the eyes of the citizens of his conquered cities.
If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t know the great Babylon that is mentioned by history books, would we?
It tells about a lot of things. Earlier in this article, we talked about the depiction of the past as a jungle environment. Lack of knowledge about history served to create those ideas.
In fact, lack of knowledge about history in general, serves to create many false ideas. Those false ideas cause people to misjudge changes that occur socially, economically, and even politically.
If you’re aware of the adage “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”, then the previous paragraph would resonate very well with you.
The history of the Hammurabi’s code of law as such, not only provides a great window to understanding the truth of the past, but it also paves the way to help us understand the present, and predict the future!