Tuesday, December 5, 2023


eHammurabi Logo
A digital version of the Law Code of Hammurabi, including cuneiform, transliteration, normalization, and an English translation.

The Law Code of Hammurabi is one of the oldest legal texts from ancient Mesopotamia. The artifact, a basalt stele, is believed to have been created between c. 1792–1750 BCE. It was discovered by Jacques Jean Marie de Morgan's team around 1901 in Susa, or present-day Iran. The name "Hammurabi" belongs to the sixth ruler of the Old Babylonian dynasty. The cuneiform inscription is in the Old Babylonian language, which is a later dialect of ancient Akkadian.

The inscription contains three sections composed of c. 4,150 lines: a prologue, a list of statutes, and an epilogue. The prologue contains c. 300 lines and declares Hammurabi's divine authority over the land. Therein, Hammurabi boasts of his accomplishments and intimacy with Marduk, among other deities. The bulk of the text is said to contain 282 statutes, or individual laws, according to most scholars. The laws deal with various areas of life in Babylon: property, crime, contracts, marriage, family, and commerce. The epilogue contains c. 300 lines and codifies Hammurabi's desire to serve justice throughout the land by means of the statutes noted above.



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