Code of Hammurabi

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Hammurabi, the legendary king of Babylonia, is widely thought to be the first to publish the entire body of laws for public review. The Hammurabi Code was carved onto a black monument, circa 1780 BCE, so that everyone would know their place in society, their rights and responsibilities.

Hammurabi's code includes familiar principles like:

  • "If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out." (eye for any eye)
  • "If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out." (tooth for a tooth)

The Ancient History Sourcebook's entry on the Code of Hammurabi includes an English translation by L. W. King.

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