Early construction Law in Hammurabi’s Code

Previously, I wrote briefly about Hammurabi’s code of laws, one of the oldest and most influential legal documents in history. Written down nearly 4,000 years ago, it’s made up of 282 laws that features scaled punishments based on social status. From a modern lens, the laws mentioned aren’t always fair, and nearly always harsh. Indeed, the idea of an “eye for an eye” comes from this document. Yet the historic significance of Hammurabi’s code of laws can’t be denied. It’s one of the oldest surviving written documents, and the second-oldest surviving code of laws in world history, preceded only by the Code of Ur-Nammu by about 300 years.

The Babylonians were one of the most important and influential civilizations of ancient history. At the time of Hammurabi, Babylon was the largest city in the world, and was possibly the first city in human history whose population went beyond 200,000. Considering that this preceded the city states of ancient Greece by centuries, at a time that most of the world was made up of small villages, many of which hadn’t even started to use bronze, the idea of a city that large is truly unbelievable.

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