Mezopotamya’da Yasama

CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı


 

 

 


Mezopotamya’da Yasama




Mezopotamya yalnızca mülkiyet ve sözleşmenin, yazı ve tanrıların, tarım ve işleyimin, kentin ve tecimin doğuş yeri olmakla kalmadı. Mezopotamya etik yaşamın, yasa egemenilği temelinde politik yaşamın da doğuş yeridir. Mezopotamya'nın tanrıları yalnızca kaosa karşı savaşmakla ve onu yenmekle kalmadılar. Yaşama tanrısal düzenlerini getirdiler.

 

Kent kendi tanrısı ile bir idi ve yasalar tanrıların saltık istenci olarak kabul edildiler. Yasalar yalnızca tablet üzerinde kalmadı. İşlediklerini gösteren başlıca kanıt düzgün ailesel ve toplumsal yaşamın kendisidir. İlkin kralların ve sonra imparatorların tanrılar tarafından aklanan istenci ilkin acımasızca olan, sık sık kendileri insan haklarını çiğneyen yasaların belirlenmesinde birincil gücü sağladı.

Mezopotamya kralları henüz yolunun başında olan insanlığa henüz yollarının başında olan tanrıları armağan ettiler. Bu tanrılar henüz evrensel Logos olmasalar da, türenin koruyucuları idiler ve insanlığı seviyorlardı. Mezopotamyalılar dünyasal krallara "güç haktır" diyen güçlülere karşı zayıfları savunma sorumluluğunu yüklediler.

 

Tanrılar yasaların varlık ve haklılık nedeni idiler ve Mezopotamya kralları yasaları tanrılardan aldılar — yanan çalılar, gürleyen gökler vb. gibi saçmalıklar olmaksızın, ceza gözdağı ve korkusu olmaksızın. Tanrıların kendileri Mezopotamya usunun yaratıları olduğuna göre, gerçekte kendi yasalarını kendileri yaptılar ve yasaların varlık nedeni o aynı insan usunun kendisinden başka birşey değildi. Dahası, kimi krallar yasalarını tanrılardan alırken, kimileri egemenler olarak dosdoğru yasaları kendilerinin getirdiğini söylüyordu.

Mezopotamya kültüründe insan-üstü ve doğa-üstü


İnsan Usunun bilgisinden yoksundur. Onun kendi usundan ve istencinden doğan yasalar, devlet, kurumlar ona onun kendi sonlu yetilerini aşan, onun tikelliklerinin üzerinde ve ötesinde yatan bir varoluş nedenini gerektiren yapılar olarak görünürler. Yasa evrenseldir, kent-devleti tüm bireyselliğin üzerinde olan saltık güçtür ve bunlar sonlu bireysel insanı aşan güçler olmalıdırlar.

Mezopotamyalılar da başka erken kültürler durumunda olduğu gibi hastalıkların nedenini de doğaüstü etmenlere yüklerler ve bu güçler ile iletişimin özel yetenekleri gerektirdiğini düşünmeye yönelirler.

 


  MEZOPOTAMYA’DA YASA EGEMENLİĞİ
  • the stela of the Laws of Hammurabi was first published in 1902
  • none of the collections is comprehensive or exhaustive
  • tens of thousands of surviving cuneiform tablets record lawsuits, court cases, and legal agreements and transactions (real estate sales and leases, loans, pledges, marriages, adoptions, inheritance dispositions, slave transfers, etc.)

 

 

“Throughout Mesopotamian history, the concern of the king with justice and the legal process is emphasized in royal inscriptions, royal epithets, iconographic representations, and literary allusions. Whether or not the king was always himself an active participant in the administration of the legal system, he was always its guardian, for the application of justice was the highest trust given by the gods to a legitimate king. This point was made in a letter from eighteenth-century B.C.E. Mari on the upper Euphrates, which reports the message conveyed by a prophet of the god Addu of Aleppo to the Mari ruler Zimri-Lim: “I (Addu) gave the entire country to (your father) Yahdun-Lim . . . He abandoned me and so I gave the country which I had given to him instead to Samsi-Addu (of Assyria) . . . (Later) I restored you to the throne of your father's house . .. Now heed this one matter: When anyone makes an appeal to you for a judgment, saying, ‘I have been wronged!' you be present and render a judgment for himf Respond to him with righteousness! This alone I ask of you!” (Durand 1993: 43-45).

“This important message was delivered on several occasions and reappears in yet another communication from the god to the same king: “Am I not Addu, lord of Aleppo, who raised you in my bosom and who restored you to the throne of your father's house? I ask nothing else of you but that when a man or woman who has been wronged appeals to you, you be present and render a judgment for them! This alone I ask of you” (Lafont 1984: 9-11). Any ruler would certainly take such admonitions seriously.”
Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, by Martha T. Roth (1997).

 





  Ancient Legal Codes

List of ancient legal codes

List of ancient legal codes (W)

 
   

 

The legal code was a common feature of the legal systems of the ancient Middle East. The Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100-2050 BC), then the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1760 BC), are amongst the earliest originating in the Fertile Crescent. In the Roman empire, a number of codifications were developed, such as the Twelve Tables of Roman law (first compiled in 450 BC) and the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian, also known as the Justinian Code (429 - 534 CE). In ancient China, the first comprehensive criminal code was the Tang Code, created in 624 CE in the Tang Dynasty.

The following is a list of ancient legal codes in chronological order

 


 








  Code of Urukagina

Reforms of Urukagina

Reforms of Urukagina (LINK)

Primary publication RIME 1.09.09.01 (Reforms of Urukagina) composite
Author(s) Frayne, Douglas R.
Publication date 2007
Period ED IIIb (ca. 2500-2340 BC)
Dates referenced Urukagina_l.00.00.00
Remarks composite text
Material composite
Language Sumerian
Genre Royal/Monumental
Sub-genre composite
UCLA Library ARK 21198/zz002csx5k

 



Urukagina (Ruler of Lagash)

Urukagina (Ruler of Lagash) (W)


Urukagina
 
   

Uru-ka-ginaUru-inim-gina, or Iri-ka-gina (Sumerian𒌷𒅗𒄀𒈾 URU-KA-gi.na; c. 24th century BC, short chronology) was a ruler (ensi) of the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia. He assumed the title of king, claiming to have been divinely appointed, upon the downfall of his corrupt predecessor, Lugalanda.

He is best known for his reforms to combat corruption, which are sometimes cited as the first example of a legal code in recorded history. Although the actual text has not been discovered, much of its content may be surmised from other references to it that have been found. In it, he exempted widows and orphans from taxes; compelled the city to pay funeral expenses (including the ritual food and drink libations for the journey of the dead into the lower world); and decreed that the rich must use silver when purchasing from the poor, and if the poor does not wish to sell, the powerful man (the rich man or the priest) cannot force him to do so.

He also participated in several conflicts, notably a losing border conflict with Uruk. In the seventh year of his reign, Uruk fell under the leadership of Lugal-Zage-Si, énsi of Umma, who ultimately annexed most of the territory of Lagash and established the first reliably documented kingdom to encompass all of Sumer. The destruction of Lagash was described in a lament (possibly the earliest recorded example of what would become a prolific Sumerian literary genre), which stressed that “the men of Umma ... committed a sin against Ningirsu. ... Offence there was none in Urukagina, king of Girsu, but as for Lugal-Zage-Si, governor of Umma, may his goddess Nisaba make him carry his sin upon his neck" (alternatively – "may she carry his sin upon her neck"). Lugal-Zage-Si himself was soon defeated and his kingdom was annexed by Sargon of Akkad.



Fragment of an inscripted clay cone of Urukagina (or Uruinimgina), lugal (prince) of Lagash. The inscription reads: "He [Uruinimgina] dug (…) the canal to the town-of-NINA. At its beginning, he built the Eninnu-(E-ninnu or Temple-Ninnu); at its ending, he built the Esiraran".

 

 

 



📙 Urukagina (Praise poem of Urukagina)

Urukagina (W)

Praise poem of Urukagina

Some insight into Sumerian values can be gained from praise poems written for kings. While the kings may not always live up to this praise they show the type of achievements that they wished to be remembered by. Extracts below praise Urukagina who appears as a social reformer, getting rid of gross abuses of power that had taken hold in Lagash.

 

  1. Since time immemorial, since life began, in those days, the head boatman appropriated boats, the livestock official appropriated asses, the livestock official appropriated sheep, and the fisheries inspector appropriated.... The shepherds of wool sheep paid a duty in silver on account of white sheep, and the surveyor, chief lamentation-singer, supervisor, brewer and foremen paid a duty in silver on account of young lambs. . . These were the conventions of former times!
  2. When Ningirsu, warrior of Enlil, granted the kingship of Lagash to Urukagina, selecting him from among the myriad people, he replaced the customs of former times, carrying out the command that Ningirsu, his master, had given him.
  3. He removed the head boatman from control over the boats, he removed the livestock official from control over asses and sheep, he removed the fisheries inspector from control....
  4. He removed the silo supervisor from control over the grain taxes of the guda-priests, he removed the bureaucrat responsible for the paying of duties in silver on account of white sheep and young lambs, and he removed the bureaucrat responsible for the delivery of duties by the temple administrators to the palace.
  5. The... administrators no longer plunder the orchards of the poor. When a high quality ass is born to a shublugal, and his foreman says to him, "I want to buy it from you"; whether he lets him buy it from him and says to him "Pay me the price I want!," or whether he does not let him buy it from him, the foreman must not strike at him in anger.
  6. When the house of an aristocrat adjoins the house of a shublugal, and the aristocrat says to him, "I want to buy it from you"; whether he lets him buy it from him, having said to him, "Pay me the price I want! My house is a large container—fill it with barley for me!," or whether he does not let him buy it from him, that aristocrat must not strike at him in anger.
  7. He cleared and cancelled obligations for those indentured families, citizens of Lagash living as debtors because of grain taxes, barley payments, theft or murder.
  8. Urukagina solemnly promised Ningirsu that he would never subjugate the waif and the widow to the powerful.



Excerpt of some regulations from the Reform document

  • From the border territory of Ningirsu to the sea, no person shall serve as officers.
  • For a corpse being brought to the grave, his beer shall be 3 jugs and his bread 80 loaves. One bed and one lead goat shall the undertaker take away, and 3 ban (18 l.) of barley shall the person(s) take away.
  • When to the reeds of Enki a person has been brought, his beer will be 4 jugs, and his bread 420 loaves. One barig (36 l.) of barley shall the undertaker take away, and 3 ban of barley shall the persons of ... take away. One woman's headband, and one sila (1 l.) of princely fragrance shall the eresh-dingir priestess take away. 420 loaves of bread that have sat are the bread duty, 40 loaves of hot bread are for eating, and 10 loaves of hot bread are the bread of the table. 5 loaves of bread are for the persons of the levy, 2 mud vessels and 1 sadug vessel of beer are for the lamentation singers of Girsu. 490 loaves of bread, 2 mud vessels and 1 sadug vessel of beer are for the lamentation singers of Lagash. 406 loaves of bread, 2 mud vessels, and 1 sadug vessel of beer are for the other lamentation singers. 250 loaves of bread and one mud vessel of beer are for the old wailing women. 180 loaves of bread and 1 mud vessel of beer are for the men of Nigin.
  • The blind one who stands in ..., his bread for eating is one loaf, 5 loaves of bread are his at midnight, one loaf is his bread at midday, and 6 loaves are his bread in the evening.
  • 60 loaves of bread, 1 mud vessel of beer, and 3 ban of barley are for the person who is to perform as the sagbur priest, king, or god.

 



The Reforms of Urukagina

The Reforms of Urukagina (W)



Artifact: Clay cone
Provenience: Girsu, modern Tello
Period: ED IIIb (ca. 2500-2340)
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris
Text genre, language: Royal inscription; Sumerian

Description: Preserved on two complete cones and one cone fragment, the text of the so-called Reforms of UruKAgina details the transgressions of former times and the new regulations of UruKAgina. The reforms are particularly concerned with the governance of the land of the gods and rules relating to burials. The text has been seen as a forerunner to the later law-codes but is probably better seen as a royal inscription with a particular focus on the role of the king as protector of the weak.

Lineart: Sollberger, E. Corpus des inscriptions "royales" pre- sargoniques de Lagas (Geneve 1956) (=CIRPL), Ukg 04 cone B.

Edition(s): Frayne, Douglas R. Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Early Periods. 2007. RIME 1.09.09.01, ex. 01.


Urukagina (LINK)
Urukagina: Ruler Of Sumerian City Of Lagash And His Reforms To Combat Corruption

Urukagina (or Uruinimgina), an illegitimate and controversial claimant to power, ruled only some years (c.2352 - 2342 BC or c. 2700 BC, in older chronologies). He was the last king of the first dynasty of Lagash and he came to power divinely  – as he claimed -  when Ningirsu, warrior of Enlil, granted him the kingship of Lagash.


Fragment of an inscription of Urukagina; it reads as follows: "He [Uruinimgina] dug (…) the canal to the town-of-NINA. At its beginning, he built the Eninnu; at its ending, he built the Esiraran."
 
   

Urukagina’ s reign was in time when the political and economical situation in Lagash was unstable, after the downfall of his corrupt predecessor, Lugalanda. In Sumer there was at the time political chaos and economic crisis, and wars only worsened the situation.

The city of Lagash was nearly paralyzed by a corrupt civil bureaucracy and tax money went directly to private pockets of the richest people. Civil inspectors often confiscated the property they inspected. If a man divorced his wife, he paid a tax; if a perfumer made an oil preparation, he paid a tax; if a man died – he also paid tax, sometimes well over half his estate went to the palace, along with a series of “gifts” for the bureaucratic administrators.

As S.N. Kramer states in his book “The Sumerians”, by 2400 BC, “debtors and tax resistors languished in prisons beside common criminals…” It was time to change this situation with a series of rulers and lawgivers such as Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi.

For now, it was Urukagina, who had to react.

The citizens of Lagash decided to overthrow the rulers and install the reformer king they trusted, namely, king Urukagina, who reformed the tax system, curtailed the corruption and terrible abuses of ordinary people by officials.

He cancelled the taxes, fired the all corrupted tax collectors.

He also stopped at least temporarily the devastating influence of the powerful priests.

As Paul Kriwaczek points out in his great book “Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization”,

“… the priesthood was not innocent of corruption either. A priest could enter a poor man’s garden and cut down his trees or take away his fruit at will. Nothing was as certain as death and taxes.

When a citizen died, the bereaved had to pay for the privilege of burying the body: seven jars of beer and 420 loaves of bread; the priest got one-half gur — over 60 liters — of barley, a garment, a bed and a stool; the assistant priest received 12 gallons of barley. Urukagina claimed to have put an end to all this…”

While Urukagina focused on his reforms, known to us today from six inscriptions (three of them are almost identical), the kingdom of Lagash was systematically attacked by its deadly enemies in Umma and its king Lugalzagesi. Urukagina was not interested in wars outside Sumer and those at home, which resulted in weakening of Lagash and its ability to maintain its borders and protect the people.

Urukagina — considered by many, the first reformer in the history of humanity and the leader of the social movement —  ruled only for eight years in the late twenty-fourth century BC, before he was thrown out of the throne by the Umma king, Lugalzagesi, who sacked Lagash, burned down the city’s holy temples and massacred his people.


Urukagina Liberty cone
 
   

“... The ruler of Umma has set fire to the temple of Antasurra; he has carried away the silver and the lapis lazuli… He has shed blood in the temple of the goddess Nanshe; he has carried away the precious metal and the precious stones… The Man of Umma, by despoiling Lagash, has commited a sin against the god Ningirsu ...

May the hand that he dared to raise against Ningirsu be cut off. There was no fault in Urukagina, King of Lagash. May Nisaba, the goddess of Lugalzagesi, ruler of Umma, make him bear his mortal sin upon his neck…” — (Kriwaczek, P., Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization)

These were seemingly prophetic words; as according to later Babylonian versions of Sargon's inscriptions, Sargon of Akkad captured Lugalzagesi  after destroying the walls of Uruk, and led him in a neck-stock to Enlil's temple in Nippur.

 

It is believed that the ruler, Urukagina fled to the town of Girsu, and not much more is known about him. It’s not known for certain how he died and it is also unclear whether he was really a good person and righteous ruler.

“Was the return of property to the temple really an attempt to re-establish the role of the priesthood in Lagash society or was it that, by appointing himself and his family to positions within the temple hierarchy, as he did, Urukagina managed to feather his own nest while giving the appearance of altruism and generosity? Kriwaczek asks in his book.

Was Urukagina’s only intention to help poor and unfairly treated people of Lagash? Was it right that

“…the blind one who stands in ..., his bread for eating is one loaf, 5 loaves of bread are his at midnight, one loaf is his bread at midday, and 6 loaves are his bread in the evening and

“…60 loaves of bread, 1 mud vessel of beer, and 3 ban of barley are for the person who is to perform as the sagbur priest…”?

Can we say that his reforms were true or rather false? Did he perhaps give an appearance of generosity for his own benefit?

Particularly his two decrees that survived are interesting. The first of them published and translated by Samuel Kramer in 1964, states that Urukagina abolished the former custom of polyandry (marriage that includes more than two partners) in his country, on pain of the woman taking multiple husbands being stoned with rocks upon which her crime is written.

Another Urukagina’s decree makes us wonder, too. It states that “if a woman says [text illegible…] to a man, her mouth is crushed with burnt bricks.” No comparable decrees from Urukagina, addressing penalties for adultery by men, have survived

Many researchers have suggested that this may be the first written evidence of patriarchal silencing of women.

Written by – A. Sutherland



(LINK: AncientPages.com)




 


 







  Code of Ur-Nammu

📙 Code of Ur-Nammu

Code of Ur-Nammu (W)

Ur Nammu code, Istanbul.
 
   

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known law code surviving today. It is from Mesopotamia and is written on tablets, in the Sumerian language c. 2100-2050 BC.

The first copy of the code, in two fragments found at Nippur, was translated by Samuel Kramer in 1952. These fragments are held at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Owing to its partial preservation, only the prologue and 5 of the laws were discernible.

Further tablets were found in Ur and translated in 1965, allowing some 30 of the 57 laws to be reconstructed. Another copy found in Sippar contains slight variants.

The preface directly credits the laws to king Ur-Nammu of Ur (2112–2095 BC). The author who had the laws written onto cuneiform tablets is still somewhat under dispute. Some scholars have attributed it to Ur-Nammu's son Shulgi.

Although it is known that earlier law-codes existed, such as the Code of Urukagina, this represents the earliest extant legal text. It is three centuries older than the Code of Hammurabi. The laws are arranged in casuistic form of IF (crime) THEN (punishment — a pattern followed in nearly all later codes. For the oldest extant law-code known to history, it is considered remarkably advanced because it institutes fines of monetary compensation for bodily damage as opposed to the later lex talionis (‘eye for an eye’) principle of Babylonian law. However, murder, robbery, adultery and rape were capital offenses.

The code reveals a glimpse at societal structure during the "Sumerian Renaissance". Beneath the lugal ("great man" or king), all members of society belonged to one of two basic strata: the "lu" or free person, or the slave (male, arad; female geme). The son of a lu was called a dumu-nita until he married, becoming a "young man" (gurus). A woman (munus) went from being a daughter (dumu-mi) to a wife (dam), then if she outlived her husband, a widow (nu-ma-su), who could remarry.


UR-NAMMU’S CODE OF LAWS

The prologue, typical of Mesopotamian law codes, invokes the deities for Ur-Nammu's kingship, Nanna and Utu, and decrees "equity in the land".

... After An and Enlil had turned over the Kingship of Ur to Nanna, at that time did Ur-Nammu, son born of Ninsun, for his beloved mother who bore him, in accordance with his principles of equity and truth... Then did Ur-Nammu the mighty warrior, king of Ur, king of Sumer and Akkad, by the might of Nanna, lord of the city, and in accordance with the true word of Utu, establish equity in the land; he banished malediction, violence and strife, and set the monthly Temple expenses at 90 gur of barley, 30 sheep, and 30 sila of butter. He fashioned the bronze sila-measure, standardized the one-mina weight, and standardized the stone weight of a shekel of silver in relation to one mina... The orphan was not delivered up to the rich man; the widow was not delivered up to the mighty man; the man of one shekel was not delivered up to the man of one mina.


One mina ( 1/60 of a talent ) was made equal to 60 shekels ( 1 shekel = 8.3 grams, or 0.3 oz.) . Among the surviving laws are these:


UR-NAMMU’S CODE OF LAWS (LINK)

 

  1. If a man commits a murder, that man must be killed.
  2. If a man commits a robbery, he will be killed.
  3. If a man commits a kidnapping, he is to be imprisoned and pay 15 shekels of silver.
  4. If a slave marries a slave, and that slave is set free, he does not leave the household.
  5. If a slave marries a native (i.e. free) person, he/she is to hand the firstborn son over to his owner.
  6. If a man violates the right of another and deflowers the virgin wife of a young man, they shall kill that male.
  7. If the wife of a man followed after another man and he slept with her, they shall slay that woman, but that male shall be set free. (§4 in some translations)
  8. If a man proceeded by force, and deflowered the virgin female slave of another man, that man must pay five shekels of silver. (5)
  9. If a man divorces his first-time wife, he shall pay (her) one mina of silver. (6)
  10. If it is a (former) widow whom he divorces, he shall pay (her) half a mina of silver. (7)
  11. If the man had slept with the widow without there having been any marriage contract, he need not pay any silver. (8)
  12. [—]
  13. If a man is accused of sorcery he must undergo ordeal by water; if he is proven innocent, his accuser must pay 3 shekels. (10)
  14. If a man accused the wife of a man of adultery, and the river ordeal proved her innocent, then the man who had accused her must pay one-third of a mina of silver. (11)
  15. If a prospective son-in-law enters the house of his prospective father-in-law, but his father-in-law later gives his daughter to another man, the father-in-law shall return to the rejected son-in-law twofold the amount of bridal presents he had brought. (12)
  16. If [text destroyed...], he shall weigh and deliver to him 2 shekels of silver.
  17. If a slave escapes from the city limits, and someone returns him, the owner shall pay two shekels to the one who returned him. (14)
  18. If a man knocks out the eye of another man, he shall weigh out ½ a mina of silver. (15)
  19. If a man has cut off another man's foot, he is to pay ten shekels. (16)
  20. If a man, in the course of a scuffle, smashed the limb of another man with a club, he shall pay one mina of silver. (17)
  21. If someone severed the nose of another man with a copper knife, he must pay two-thirds of a mina of silver. (18)
  22. If a man knocks out a tooth of another man, he shall pay two shekels of silver. (19)
  23. [—]
  24. [text destroyed...] If he does not have a slave, he is to pay 10 shekels of silver. If he does not have silver, he is to give another thing that belongs to him. (21)
  25. If a man's slave-woman, comparing herself to her mistress, speaks insolently to her, her mouth shall be scoured with 1 quart of salt. (22)
  26. If a slave woman strikes someone acting with the authority of her mistress, [text destroyed...]
  27. [—]
  28. If a man appeared as a witness, and was shown to be a perjurer, he must pay fifteen shekels of silver. (25)
  29. If a man appears as a witness, but withdraws his oath, he must make payment, to the extent of the value in litigation of the case. (26)
  30. If a man stealthily cultivates the field of another man and he raises a complaint, this is however to be rejected, and this man will lose his expenses. (27)
  31. If a man flooded the field of a man with water, he shall measure out three kur of barley per iku of field. (28)
  32. If a man had let an arable field to a(nother) man for cultivation, but he did not cultivate it, turning it into wasteland, he shall measure out three kur of barley per iku of field. (29)

 



Foundation Tablet of Ur-Nammu

Foundation Tablet of Ur-Nammu (LINK)


Foundation Tablet of Ur-Nammu

The cuneiform inscriptions on this tablet mention the name of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur and founder of the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur. From the temple of Inanna at Uruk, southern Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. Neo-Sumerian period, 2112-2095 BCE.

 








  Hammurabi’s Code of Laws

📙 Hammurabi’s Code of Laws (1-282)

Hammurabi’s Code of Laws (1-282) (LINK)

HAMMURABI’S CODE OF LAWS


1. If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.

2. If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

3. If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.

4. If he satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive the fine that the action produces.

5. If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.

6. If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.

7. If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.

8. If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold therefor; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death.

9. If any one lose an article, and find it in the possession of another: if the person in whose possession the thing is found say "A merchant sold it to me, I paid for it before witnesses," and if the owner of the thing say, "I will bring witnesses who know my property," then shall the purchaser bring the merchant who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner shall bring witnesses who can identify his property. The judge shall examine their testimony — both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the witnesses who identify the lost article on oath. The merchant is then proved to be a thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost article receives his property, and he who bought it receives the money he paid from the estate of the merchant.

10. If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the witnesses before whom he bought the article, but its owner bring witnesses who identify it, then the buyer is the thief and shall be put to death, and the owner receives the lost article.

11. If the owner do not bring witnesses to identify the lost article, he is an evil-doer, he has traduced, and shall be put to death.

12. If the witnesses be not at hand, then shall the judge set a limit, at the expiration of six months. If his witnesses have not appeared within the six months, he is an evil-doer, and shall bear the fine of the pending case.

[editor's note: there is no 13th law in the code, 13 being considered and unlucky and evil number]

14. If any one steal the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.

15. If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.

16. If any one receive into his house a runaway male or female slave of the court, or of a freedman, and does not bring it out at the public proclamation of the major domus, the master of the house shall be put to death.

17. If any one find runaway male or female slaves in the open country and bring them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of silver.

18. If the slave will not give the name of the master, the finder shall bring him to the palace; a further investigation must follow, and the slave shall be returned to his master.

19. If he hold the slaves in his house, and they are caught there, he shall be put to death.

20. If the slave that he caught run away from him, then shall he swear to the owners of the slave, and he is free of all blame.

21. If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.

22. If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.

23. If the robber is not caught, then shall he who was robbed claim under oath the amount of his loss; then shall the community, and . . . on whose ground and territory and in whose domain it was compensate him for the goods stolen.

24. If persons are stolen, then shall the community and . . . pay one mina of silver to their relatives.

25. If fire break out in a house, and some one who comes to put it out cast his eye upon the property of the owner of the house, and take the property of the master of the house, he shall be thrown into that self-same fire.

26. If a chieftain or a man (common soldier), who has been ordered to go upon the king's highway for war does not go, but hires a mercenary, if he withholds the compensation, then shall this officer or man be put to death, and he who represented him shall take possession of his house.

27. If a chieftain or man be caught in the misfortune of the king (captured in battle), and if his fields and garden be given to another and he take possession, if he return and reaches his place, his field and garden shall be returned to him, he shall take it over again.

28. If a chieftain or a man be caught in the misfortune of a king, if his son is able to enter into possession, then the field and garden shall be given to him, he shall take over the fee of his father.

29. If his son is still young, and can not take possession, a third of the field and garden shall be given to his mother, and she shall bring him up.

30. If a chieftain or a man leave his house, garden, and field and hires it out, and some one else takes possession of his house, garden, and field and uses it for three years: if the first owner return and claims his house, garden, and field, it shall not be given to him, but he who has taken possession of it and used it shall continue to use it.

31. If he hire it out for one year and then return, the house, garden, and field shall be given back to him, and he shall take it over again.

32. If a chieftain or a man is captured on the "Way of the King" (in war), and a merchant buy him free, and bring him back to his place; if he have the means in his house to buy his freedom, he shall buy himself free: if he have nothing in his house with which to buy himself free, he shall be bought free by the temple of his community; if there be nothing in the temple with which to buy him free, the court shall buy his freedom. His field, garden, and house shall not be given for the purchase of his freedom.

33. If a . . . or a . . . enter himself as withdrawn from the "Way of the King," and send a mercenary as substitute, but withdraw him, then the . . . or . . . shall be put to death.

34. If a . . . or a . . . harm the property of a captain, injure the captain, or take away from the captain a gift presented to him by the king, then the . . . or . . . shall be put to death.

35. If any one buy the cattle or sheep which the king has given to chieftains from him, he loses his money.

36. The field, garden, and house of a chieftain, of a man, or of one subject to quit-rent, can not be sold.

37. If any one buy the field, garden, and house of a chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent, his contract tablet of sale shall be broken (declared invalid) and he loses his money. The field, garden, and house return to their owners.

38. A chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent can not assign his tenure of field, house, and garden to his wife or daughter, nor can he assign it for a debt.

39. He may, however, assign a field, garden, or house which he has bought, and holds as property, to his wife or daughter or give it for debt.

40. He may sell field, garden, and house to a merchant (royal agents) or to any other public official, the buyer holding field, house, and garden for its usufruct.

41. If any one fence in the field, garden, and house of a chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent, furnishing the palings therefor; if the chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent return to field, garden, and house, the palings which were given to him become his property.

42. If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field.

43. If he do not till the field, but let it lie fallow, he shall give grain like his neighbor's to the owner of the field, and the field which he let lie fallow he must plow and sow and return to its owner.

44. If any one take over a waste-lying field to make it arable, but is lazy, and does not make it arable, he shall plow the fallow field in the fourth year, harrow it and till it, and give it back to its owner, and for each ten gan (a measure of area) ten gur of grain shall be paid.

45. If a man rent his field for tillage for a fixed rental, and receive the rent of his field, but bad weather come and destroy the harvest, the injury falls upon the tiller of the soil.

46. If he do not receive a fixed rental for his field, but lets it on half or third shares of the harvest, the grain on the field shall be divided proportionately between the tiller and the owner.

47. If the tiller, because he did not succeed in the first year, has had the soil tilled by others, the owner may raise no objection; the field has been cultivated and he receives the harvest according to agreement.

48. If any one owe a debt for a loan, and a storm prostrates the grain, or the harvest fail, or the grain does not grow for lack of water; in that year he need not give his creditor any grain, he washes his debt-tablet in water and pays no rent for this year.

49. If any one take money from a merchant, and give the merchant a field tillable for corn or sesame and order him to plant corn or sesame in the field, and to harvest the crop; if the cultivator plant corn or sesame in the field, at the harvest the corn or sesame that is in the field shall belong to the owner of the field and he shall pay corn as rent, for the money he received from the merchant, and the livelihood of the cultivator shall he give to the merchant.

50. If he give a cultivated corn-field or a cultivated sesame-field, the corn or sesame in the field shall belong to the owner of the field, and he shall return the money to the merchant as rent.

51. If he have no money to repay, then he shall pay in corn or sesame in place of the money as rent for what he received from the merchant, according to the royal tariff.

52. If the cultivator do not plant corn or sesame in the field, the debtor's contract is not weakened.

53. If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper condition, and does not so keep it; if then the dam break and all the fields be flooded, then shall he in whose dam the break occurred be sold for money, and the money shall replace the corn which he has caused to be ruined.

54. If he be not able to replace the corn, then he and his possessions shall be divided among the farmers whose corn he has flooded.

55. If any one open his ditches to water his crop, but is careless, and the water flood the field of his neighbor, then he shall pay his neighbor corn for his loss.

56. If a man let in the water, and the water overflow the plantation of his neighbor, he shall pay ten gur of corn for every ten gan of land.

57. If a shepherd, without the permission of the owner of the field, and without the knowledge of the owner of the sheep, lets the sheep into a field to graze, then the owner of the field shall harvest his crop, and the shepherd, who had pastured his flock there without permission of the owner of the field, shall pay to the owner twenty gur of corn for every ten gan.

58. If after the flocks have left the pasture and been shut up in the common fold at the city gate, any shepherd let them into a field and they graze there, this shepherd shall take possession of the field which he has allowed to be grazed on, and at the harvest he must pay sixty gur of corn for every ten gan.

59. If any man, without the knowledge of the owner of a garden, fell a tree in a garden he shall pay half a mina in money.

60. If any one give over a field to a gardener, for him to plant it as a garden, if he work at it, and care for it for four years, in the fifth year the owner and the gardener shall divide it, the owner taking his part in charge.

61. If the gardener has not completed the planting of the field, leaving one part unused, this shall be assigned to him as his.

62. If he do not plant the field that was given over to him as a garden, if it be arable land (for corn or sesame) the gardener shall pay the owner the produce of the field for the years that he let it lie fallow, according to the product of neighboring fields, put the field in arable condition and return it to its owner.

63. If he transform waste land into arable fields and return it to its owner, the latter shall pay him for one year ten gur for ten gan.

64. If any one hand over his garden to a gardener to work, the gardener shall pay to its owner two-thirds of the produce of the garden, for so long as he has it in possession, and the other third shall he keep.

65. If the gardener do not work in the garden and the product fall off, the gardener shall pay in proportion to other neighboring gardens.

[Here a portion of the text is missing, apparently comprising thirty-four paragraphs.]

100. . . . interest for the money, as much as he has received, he shall give a note therefor, and on the day, when they settle, pay to the merchant.

101. If there are no mercantile arrangements in the place whither he went, he shall leave the entire amount of money which he received with the broker to give to the merchant.

102. If a merchant entrust money to an agent (broker) for some investment, and the broker suffer a loss in the place to which he goes, he shall make good the capital to the merchant.

103. If, while on the journey, an enemy take away from him anything that he had, the broker shall swear by God and be free of obligation.

104. If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefor. Then he shall obtain a receipt form the merchant for the money that he gives the merchant.

105. If the agent is careless, and does not take a receipt for the money which he gave the merchant, he can not consider the unreceipted money as his own.

106. If the agent accept money from the merchant, but have a quarrel with the merchant (denying the receipt), then shall the merchant swear before God and witnesses that he has given this money to the agent, and the agent shall pay him three times the sum.

107. If the merchant cheat the agent, in that as the latter has returned to him all that had been given him, but the merchant denies the receipt of what had been returned to him, then shall this agent convict the merchant before God and the judges, and if he still deny receiving what the agent had given him shall pay six times the sum to the agent.

108. If a tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept corn according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the price of the drink is less than that of the corn, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water.

109. If conspirators meet in the house of a tavern-keeper, and these conspirators are not captured and delivered to the court, the tavern-keeper shall be put to death.

110. If a "sister of a god" open a tavern, or enter a tavern to drink, then shall this woman be burned to death.

111. If an inn-keeper furnish sixty ka of usakani-drink to . . . she shall receive fifty ka of corn at the harvest.

112. If any one be on a journey and entrust silver, gold, precious stones, or any movable property to another, and wish to recover it from him; if the latter do not bring all of the property to the appointed place, but appropriate it to his own use, then shall this man, who did not bring the property to hand it over, be convicted, and he shall pay fivefold for all that had been entrusted to him.

113. If any one have consignment of corn or money, and he take from the granary or box without the knowledge of the owner, then shall he who took corn without the knowledge of the owner out of the granary or money out of the box be legally convicted, and repay the corn he has taken. And he shall lose whatever commission was paid to him, or due him.

114. If a man have no claim on another for corn and money, and try to demand it by force, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver in every case.

115. If any one have a claim for corn or money upon another and imprison him; if the prisoner die in prison a natural death, the case shall go no further.

116. If the prisoner die in prison from blows or maltreatment, the master of the prisoner shall convict the merchant before the judge. If he was a free-born man, the son of the merchant shall be put to death; if it was a slave, he shall pay one-third of a mina of gold, and all that the master of the prisoner gave he shall forfeit.

117. If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and sell himself, his wife, his son, and daughter for money or give them away to forced labor: they shall work for three years in the house of the man who bought them, or the proprietor, and in the fourth year they shall be set free.

118. If he give a male or female slave away for forced labor, and the merchant sublease them, or sell them for money, no objection can be raised.

119. If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and he sell the maid servant who has borne him children, for money, the money which the merchant has paid shall be repaid to him by the owner of the slave and she shall be freed.

120. If any one store corn for safe keeping in another person's house, and any harm happen to the corn in storage, or if the owner of the house open the granary and take some of the corn, or if especially he deny that the corn was stored in his house: then the owner of the corn shall claim his corn before God (on oath), and the owner of the house shall pay its owner for all of the corn that he took.

121. If any one store corn in another man's house he shall pay him storage at the rate of one gur for every five ka of corn per year.

122. If any one give another silver, gold, or anything else to keep, he shall show everything to some witness, draw up a contract, and then hand it over for safe keeping.

123. If he turn it over for safe keeping without witness or contract, and if he to whom it was given deny it, then he has no legitimate claim.

124. If any one deliver silver, gold, or anything else to another for safe keeping, before a witness, but he deny it, he shall be brought before a judge, and all that he has denied he shall pay in full.

125. If any one place his property with another for safe keeping, and there, either through thieves or robbers, his property and the property of the other man be lost, the owner of the house, through whose neglect the loss took place, shall compensate the owner for all that was given to him in charge. But the owner of the house shall try to follow up and recover his property, and take it away from the thief.

126. If any one who has not lost his goods state that they have been lost, and make false claims: if he claim his goods and amount of injury before God, even though he has not lost them, he shall be fully compensated for all his loss claimed. (I.e., the oath is all that is needed.)

127. If any one "point the finger" (slander) at a sister of a god or the wife of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and his brow shall be marked. (by cutting the skin, or perhaps hair.)

128. If a man take a woman to wife, but have no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.

129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slaves.

130. If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father's house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.

131. If a man bring a charge against one's wife, but she is not surprised with another man, she must take an oath and then may return to her house.

132. If the "finger is pointed" at a man's wife about another man, but she is not caught sleeping with the other man, she shall jump into the river for her husband.

133. If a man is taken prisoner in war, and there is a sustenance in his house, but his wife leave house and court, and go to another house: because this wife did not keep her court, and went to another house, she shall be judicially condemned and thrown into the water.

134. If any one be captured in war and there is not sustenance in his house, if then his wife go to another house this woman shall be held blameless.

135. If a man be taken prisoner in war and there be no sustenance in his house and his wife go to another house and bear children; and if later her husband return and come to his home: then this wife shall return to her husband, but the children follow their father.

136. If any one leave his house, run away, and then his wife go to another house, if then he return, and wishes to take his wife back: because he fled from his home and ran away, the wife of this runaway shall not return to her husband.

137. If a man wish to separate from a woman who has borne him children, or from his wife who has borne him children: then he shall give that wife her dowry, and a part of the usufruct of field, garden, and property, so that she can rear her children. When she has brought up her children, a portion of all that is given to the children, equal as that of one son, shall be given to her. She may then marry the man of her heart.

138. If a man wishes to separate from his wife who has borne him no children, he shall give her the amount of her purchase money and the dowry which she brought from her father's house, and let her go.

139. If there was no purchase price he shall give her one mina of gold as a gift of release.

140. If he be a freed man he shall give her one-third of a mina of gold.

141. If a man's wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave it, plunges into debt, tries to ruin her house, neglects her husband, and is judicially convicted: if her husband offer her release, she may go on her way, and he gives her nothing as a gift of release. If her husband does not wish to release her, and if he take another wife, she shall remain as servant in her husband's house.

142. If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house.

143. If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water.

144. If a man take a wife and this woman give her husband a maid-servant, and she bear him children, but this man wishes to take another wife, this shall not be permitted to him; he shall not take a second wife.

145. If a man take a wife, and she bear him no children, and he intend to take another wife: if he take this second wife, and bring her into the house, this second wife shall not be allowed equality with his wife.

146. If a man take a wife and she give this man a maid-servant as wife and she bear him children, and then this maid assume equality with the wife: because she has borne him children her master shall not sell her for money, but he may keep her as a slave, reckoning her among the maid-servants.

147. If she have not borne him children, then her mistress may sell her for money.

148. If a man take a wife, and she be seized by disease, if he then desire to take a second wife he shall not put away his wife, who has been attacked by disease, but he shall keep her in the house which he has built and support her so long as she lives.

149. If this woman does not wish to remain in her husband's house, then he shall compensate her for the dowry that she brought with her from her father's house, and she may go.

150. If a man give his wife a field, garden, and house and a deed therefor, if then after the death of her husband the sons raise no claim, then the mother may bequeath all to one of her sons whom she prefers, and need leave nothing to his brothers.

151. If a woman who lived in a man's house made an agreement with her husband, that no creditor can arrest her, and has given a document therefor: if that man, before he married that woman, had a debt, the creditor can not hold the woman for it. But if the woman, before she entered the man's house, had contracted a debt, her creditor can not arrest her husband therefor.

152. If after the woman had entered the man's house, both contracted a debt, both must pay the merchant.

153. If the wife of one man on account of another man has their mates (her husband and the other man's wife) murdered, both of them shall be impaled.

154. If a man be guilty of incest with his daughter, he shall be driven from the place (exiled).

155. If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse with her, but he (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then he shall be bound and cast into the water (drowned).

156. If a man betroth a girl to his son, but his son has not known her, and if then he defile her, he shall pay her half a gold mina, and compensate her for all that she brought out of her father's house. She may marry the man of her heart.

157. If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father, both shall be burned.

158. If any one be surprised after his father with his chief wife, who has borne children, he shall be driven out of his father's house.

159. If any one, who has brought chattels into his father-in-law's house, and has paid the purchase-money, looks for another wife, and says to his father-in-law: "I do not want your daughter," the girl's father may keep all that he had brought.

160. If a man bring chattels into the house of his father-in-law, and pay the "purchase price" (for his wife): if then the father of the girl say: "I will not give you my daughter," he shall give him back all that he brought with him.

161. If a man bring chattels into his father-in-law's house and pay the "purchase price," if then his friend slander him, and his father-in-law say to the young husband: "You shall not marry my daughter," the he shall give back to him undiminished all that he had brought with him; but his wife shall not be married to the friend.

162. If a man marry a woman, and she bear sons to him; if then this woman die, then shall her father have no claim on her dowry; this belongs to her sons.

163. If a man marry a woman and she bear him no sons; if then this woman die, if the "purchase price" which he had paid into the house of his father-in-law is repaid to him, her husband shall have no claim upon the dowry of this woman; it belongs to her father's house.

164. If his father-in-law do not pay back to him the amount of the "purchase price" he may subtract the amount of the "Purchase price" from the dowry, and then pay the remainder to her father's house.

165. If a man give to one of his sons whom he prefers a field, garden, and house, and a deed therefor: if later the father die, and the brothers divide the estate, then they shall first give him the present of his father, and he shall accept it; and the rest of the paternal property shall they divide.

166. If a man take wives for his son, but take no wife for his minor son, and if then he die: if the sons divide the estate, they shall set aside besides his portion the money for the "purchase price" for the minor brother who had taken no wife as yet, and secure a wife for him.

167. If a man marry a wife and she bear him children: if this wife die and he then take another wife and she bear him children: if then the father die, the sons must not partition the estate according to the mothers, they shall divide the dowries of their mothers only in this way; the paternal estate they shall divide equally with one another.

168. If a man wish to put his son out of his house, and declare before the judge: "I want to put my son out," then the judge shall examine into his reasons. If the son be guilty of no great fault, for which he can be rightfully put out, the father shall not put him out.

169. If he be guilty of a grave fault, which should rightfully deprive him of the filial relationship, the father shall forgive him the first time; but if he be guilty of a grave fault a second time the father may deprive his son of all filial relation.

170. If his wife bear sons to a man, or his maid-servant have borne sons, and the father while still living says to the children whom his maid-servant has borne: "My sons," and he count them with the sons of his wife; if then the father die, then the sons of the wife and of the maid-servant shall divide the paternal property in common. The son of the wife is to partition and choose.

171. If, however, the father while still living did not say to the sons of the maid-servant: "My sons," and then the father dies, then the sons of the maid-servant shall not share with the sons of the wife, but the freedom of the maid and her sons shall be granted. The sons of the wife shall have no right to enslave the sons of the maid; the wife shall take her dowry (from her father), and the gift that her husband gave her and deeded to her (separate from dowry, or the purchase-money paid her father), and live in the home of her husband: so long as she lives she shall use it, it shall not be sold for money. Whatever she leaves shall belong to her children.

172. If her husband made her no gift, she shall be compensated for her gift, and she shall receive a portion from the estate of her husband, equal to that of one child. If her sons oppress her, to force her out of the house, the judge shall examine into the matter, and if the sons are at fault the woman shall not leave her husband's house. If the woman desire to leave the house, she must leave to her sons the gift which her husband gave her, but she may take the dowry of her father's house. Then she may marry the man of her heart.

173. If this woman bear sons to her second husband, in the place to which she went, and then die, her earlier and later sons shall divide the dowry between them.

174. If she bear no sons to her second husband, the sons of her first husband shall have the dowry.

175. If a State slave or the slave of a freed man marry the daughter of a free man, and children are born, the master of the slave shall have no right to enslave the children of the free.

176. If, however, a State slave or the slave of a freed man marry a man's daughter, and after he marries her she bring a dowry from a father's house, if then they both enjoy it and found a household, and accumulate means, if then the slave die, then she who was free born may take her dowry, and all that her husband and she had earned; she shall divide them into two parts, one-half the master for the slave shall take, and the other half shall the free-born woman take for her children. If the free-born woman had no gift she shall take all that her husband and she had earned and divide it into two parts; and the master of the slave shall take one-half and she shall take the other for her children.

177. If a widow, whose children are not grown, wishes to enter another house (remarry), she shall not enter it without the knowledge of the judge. If she enter another house the judge shall examine the state of the house of her first husband. Then the house of her first husband shall be entrusted to the second husband and the woman herself as managers. And a record must be made thereof. She shall keep the house in order, bring up the children, and not sell the house-hold utensils. He who buys the utensils of the children of a widow shall lose his money, and the goods shall return to their owners.

178. If a "devoted woman" or a prostitute to whom her father has given a dowry and a deed therefor, but if in this deed it is not stated that she may bequeath it as she pleases, and has not explicitly stated that she has the right of disposal; if then her father die, then her brothers shall hold her field and garden, and give her corn, oil, and milk according to her portion, and satisfy her. If her brothers do not give her corn, oil, and milk according to her share, then her field and garden shall support her. She shall have the usufruct of field and garden and all that her father gave her so long as she lives, but she can not sell or assign it to others. Her position of inheritance belongs to her brothers.

179. If a “sister of a god,” or a prostitute, receive a gift from her father, and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that she may dispose of it as she pleases, and give her complete disposition thereof: if then her father die, then she may leave her property to whomsoever she pleases. Her brothers can raise no claim thereto.

180. If a father give a present to his daughter — either marriageable or a prostitute (unmarriageable) — and then die, then she is to receive a portion as a child from the paternal estate, and enjoy its usufruct so long as she lives. Her estate belongs to her brothers.

181. If a father devote a temple-maid or temple-virgin to God and give her no present: if then the father die, she shall receive the third of a child's portion from the inheritance of her father's house, and enjoy its usufruct so long as she lives. Her estate belongs to her brothers.

182. If a father devote his daughter as a wife of Mardi of Babylon (as in 181), and give her no present, nor a deed; if then her father die, then shall she receive one-third of her portion as a child of her father's house from her brothers, but Marduk may leave her estate to whomsoever she wishes.

183. If a man give his daughter by a concubine a dowry, and a husband, and a deed; if then her father die, she shall receive no portion from the paternal estate.

184. If a man do not give a dowry to his daughter by a concubine, and no husband; if then her father die, her brother shall give her a dowry according to her father's wealth and secure a husband for her.

185. If a man adopt a child and to his name as son, and rear him, this grown son can not be demanded back again.

186. If a man adopt a son, and if after he has taken him he injure his foster father and mother, then this adopted son shall return to his father's house.

187. The son of a paramour in the palace service, or of a prostitute, can not be demanded back.

188. If an artizan has undertaken to rear a child and teaches him his craft, he can not be demanded back.

189. If he has not taught him his craft, this adopted son may return to his father's house.

190. If a man does not maintain a child that he has adopted as a son and reared with his other children, then his adopted son may return to his father's house.

191. If a man, who had adopted a son and reared him, founded a household, and had children, wish to put this adopted son out, then this son shall not simply go his way. His adoptive father shall give him of his wealth one-third of a child's portion, and then he may go. He shall not give him of the field, garden, and house.

192. If a son of a paramour or a prostitute say to his adoptive father or mother: "You are not my father, or my mother," his tongue shall be cut off.

193. If the son of a paramour or a prostitute desire his father's house, and desert his adoptive father and adoptive mother, and goes to his father's house, then shall his eye be put out.

194. If a man give his child to a nurse and the child die in her hands, but the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurse another child, then they shall convict her of having nursed another child without the knowledge of the father and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.

195. If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.

196. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An eye for an eye ]

197. If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.

198. If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina.

199. If he put out the eye of a man's slave, or break the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.

200. If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out. [A tooth for a tooth]

201. If he knock out the teeth of a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a gold mina.

202. If any one strike the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.

203. If a free-born man strike the body of another free-born man or equal rank, he shall pay one gold mina.

204. If a freed man strike the body of another freed man, he shall pay ten shekels in money.

205. If the slave of a freed man strike the body of a freed man, his ear shall be cut off.

206. If during a quarrel one man strike another and wound him, then he shall swear, "I did not injure him wittingly," and pay the physicians.

207. If the man die of his wound, he shall swear similarly, and if he (the deceased) was a free-born man, he shall pay half a mina in money.

208. If he was a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a mina.

209. If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.

210. If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.

211. If a woman of the free class lose her child by a blow, he shall pay five shekels in money.

212. If this woman die, he shall pay half a mina.

213. If he strike the maid-servant of a man, and she lose her child, he shall pay two shekels in money.

214. If this maid-servant die, he shall pay one-third of a mina.

215. If a physician make a large incision with an operating knife and cure it, or if he open a tumor (over the eye) with an operating knife, and saves the eye, he shall receive ten shekels in money.

216. If the patient be a freed man, he receives five shekels.

217. If he be the slave of some one, his owner shall give the physician two shekels.

218. If a physician make a large incision with the operating knife, and kill him, or open a tumor with the operating knife, and cut out the eye, his hands shall be cut off.

219. If a physician make a large incision in the slave of a freed man, and kill him, he shall replace the slave with another slave.

220. If he had opened a tumor with the operating knife, and put out his eye, he shall pay half his value.

221. If a physician heal the broken bone or diseased soft part of a man, the patient shall pay the physician five shekels in money.

222. If he were a freed man he shall pay three shekels.

223. If he were a slave his owner shall pay the physician two shekels.

224. If a veterinary surgeon perform a serious operation on an ass or an ox, and cure it, the owner shall pay the surgeon one-sixth of a shekel as a fee.

225. If he perform a serious operation on an ass or ox, and kill it, he shall pay the owner one-fourth of its value.

226. If a barber, without the knowledge of his master, cut the sign of a slave on a slave not to be sold, the hands of this barber shall be cut off.

227. If any one deceive a barber, and have him mark a slave not for sale with the sign of a slave, he shall be put to death, and buried in his house. The barber shall swear: "I did not mark him wittingly," and shall be guiltless.

228. If a builder build a house for some one and complete it, he shall give him a fee of two shekels in money for each sar of surface.

229 If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

230. If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to death.

231. If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the owner of the house.

232. If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.

233. If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.

234. If a shipbuilder build a boat of sixty gur for a man, he shall pay him a fee of two shekels in money.

235. If a shipbuilder build a boat for some one, and do not make it tight, if during that same year that boat is sent away and suffers injury, the shipbuilder shall take the boat apart and put it together tight at his own expense. The tight boat he shall give to the boat owner.

236. If a man rent his boat to a sailor, and the sailor is careless, and the boat is wrecked or goes aground, the sailor shall give the owner of the boat another boat as compensation.

237. If a man hire a sailor and his boat, and provide it with corn, clothing, oil and dates, and other things of the kind needed for fitting it: if the sailor is careless, the boat is wrecked, and its contents ruined, then the sailor shall compensate for the boat which was wrecked and all in it that he ruined.

238. If a sailor wreck any one's ship, but saves it, he shall pay the half of its value in money.

239. If a man hire a sailor, he shall pay him six gur of corn per year.

240. If a merchantman run against a ferryboat, and wreck it, the master of the ship that was wrecked shall seek justice before God; the master of the merchantman, which wrecked the ferryboat, must compensate the owner for the boat and all that he ruined.

241. If any one impresses an ox for forced labor, he shall pay one-third of a mina in money.

242. If any one hire oxen for a year, he shall pay four gur of corn for plow-oxen.

243. As rent of herd cattle he shall pay three gur of corn to the owner.

244. If any one hire an ox or an ass, and a lion kill it in the field, the loss is upon its owner.

245. If any one hire oxen, and kill them by bad treatment or blows, he shall compensate the owner, oxen for oxen.

246. If a man hire an ox, and he break its leg or cut the ligament of its neck, he shall compensate the owner with ox for ox.

247. If any one hire an ox, and put out its eye, he shall pay the owner one-half of its value.

248. If any one hire an ox, and break off a horn, or cut off its tail, or hurt its muzzle, he shall pay one-fourth of its value in money.

249. If any one hire an ox, and God strike it that it die, the man who hired it shall swear by God and be considered guiltless.

250. If while an ox is passing on the street (market) some one push it, and kill it, the owner can set up no claim in the suit (against the hirer).

251. If an ox be a goring ox, and it shown that he is a gorer, and he do not bind his horns, or fasten the ox up, and the ox gore a free-born man and kill him, the owner shall pay one-half a mina in money.

252. If he kill a man's slave, he shall pay one-third of a mina.

253. If any one agree with another to tend his field, give him seed, entrust a yoke of oxen to him, and bind him to cultivate the field, if he steal the corn or plants, and take them for himself, his hands shall be hewn off.

254. If he take the seed-corn for himself, and do not use the yoke of oxen, he shall compensate him for the amount of the seed-corn.

255. If he sublet the man's yoke of oxen or steal the seed-corn, planting nothing in the field, he shall be convicted, and for each one hundred gan he shall pay sixty gur of corn.

256. If his community will not pay for him, then he shall be placed in that field with the cattle (at work).

257. If any one hire a field laborer, he shall pay him eight gur of corn per year.

258. If any one hire an ox-driver, he shall pay him six gur of corn per year.

259. If any one steal a water-wheel from the field, he shall pay five shekels in money to its owner.

260. If any one steal a shadduf (used to draw water from the river or canal) or a plow, he shall pay three shekels in money.

261. If any one hire a herdsman for cattle or sheep, he shall pay him eight gur of corn per annum.

262. If any one, a cow or a sheep . . .

263. If he kill the cattle or sheep that were given to him, he shall compensate the owner with cattle for cattle and sheep for sheep.

264. If a herdsman, to whom cattle or sheep have been entrusted for watching over, and who has received his wages as agreed upon, and is satisfied, diminish the number of the cattle or sheep, or make the increase by birth less, he shall make good the increase or profit which was lost in the terms of settlement.

265. If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been entrusted, be guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural increase, or sell them for money, then shall he be convicted and pay the owner ten times the loss.

266. If the animal be killed in the stable by God ( an accident), or if a lion kill it, the herdsman shall declare his innocence before God, and the owner bears the accident in the stable.

267. If the herdsman overlook something, and an accident happen in the stable, then the herdsman is at fault for the accident which he has caused in the stable, and he must compensate the owner for the cattle or sheep.

268. If any one hire an ox for threshing, the amount of the hire is twenty ka of corn.

269. If he hire an ass for threshing, the hire is twenty ka of corn.

270. If he hire a young animal for threshing, the hire is ten ka of corn.

271. If any one hire oxen, cart and driver, he shall pay one hundred and eighty ka of corn per day.

272. If any one hire a cart alone, he shall pay forty ka of corn per day.

273. If any one hire a day laborer, he shall pay him from the New Year until the fifth month (April to August, when days are long and the work hard) six gerahs in money per day; from the sixth month to the end of the year he shall give him five gerahs per day.

274. If any one hire a skilled artizan, he shall pay as wages of the . . . five gerahs, as wages of the potter five gerahs, of a tailor five gerahs, of . . . gerahs, . . . of a ropemaker four gerahs, of . . .. gerahs, of a mason . . . gerahs per day.

275. If any one hire a ferryboat, he shall pay three gerahs in money per day.

276. If he hire a freight-boat, he shall pay two and one-half gerahs per day.

277. If any one hire a ship of sixty gur, he shall pay one-sixth of a shekel in money as its hire per day.

278. If any one buy a male or female slave, and before a month has elapsed the benu-disease be developed, he shall return the slave to the seller, and receive the money which he had paid.

279. If any one by a male or female slave, and a third party claim it, the seller is liable for the claim.

280. If while in a foreign country a man buy a male or female slave belonging to another of his own country; if when he return home the owner of the male or female slave recognize it: if the male or female slave be a native of the country, he shall give them back without any money.

281. If they are from another country, the buyer shall declare the amount of money paid therefor to the merchant, and keep the male or female slave.

282. If a slave say to his master: “You are not my master,” if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear.

 



📙 Hammurabi’s Code of Laws (SINIFLANDIRILMIŞ)

Hammurabi’s Code of Laws (SINIFLANDIRILMIŞ)

HAMMURABI’S CODE OF LAWS

Introduction

The Babylonian King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE) succeeded in conquering neighboring states in Mesopotamia and establishing a stable empire. In part he achieved this stability by means of a set of laws that he drew up. He stated specifically that he wished by these laws that the strong should not oppress the weak and that the widow and orphan should get justice. There were other sets of laws before this, specific to the various city states that began to emerge after the rise of Summer in 4,000 BCE. The Code of Hammurabi is special because it is the largest collection of laws that has survived from second millennium BCE—engraved on a monument of black diorite nearly eight feet high. The code was important at the time because it was the basis for consolidating the rule of law throughout an empire. It is important here because it reveals the way human rights were beginning to emerge in Babylonia as Hammurabi sought to protect all classes of Babylonian society. It also shows that many of today’s problems also existed in Babylon.

There are three classes referred to in the code: (1) men or persons, who are property owners and the wealthy and upper classes; (2) freemen, who are poor men, serfs, or retainers, but able to own property and slaves; and (3) slaves. There was also a class of public servant that received subsidies from the government; these are referred to as officer, constable, or tax gatherer.

When a large number of laws are specified in writing, the variability of human judgment (exercising both good and bad effects) is replaced by a more rigid code that fails to recognize exceptions or special circumstances. The problem this causes of reconciling humane judgment and prescriptions of law remains. Note that the Code starts by imposing the severest penalty for claiming something is true when there is no evidence to justify that claim.

The Hammurabbi Code has been constructed for a state that has various levels of society, an administrative system, a system of irrigated farming, an empire and military that includes mercenaries, extensive financial and trade networks, and medical and construction activities in which damages from injuries are to be compensated. These and other features suggest a sophisticated society. Extracts from the code are given here.

 



 


Contents

Introduction
Witnesses and Judges
Theft
Sons
Officers
Fields and Production
Trade
Wine Selling
Debt
Marriage
Battery
Physicians
Construction
Hired Property
Rural Crimes
Slaves

 

Witnesses and Judges

1      If a man bring an accusation against a man, and charge him with a capital crime, but cannot prove it, he, the accuser, shall be put to death. 1

2      If a man charge a man with sorcery, and cannot prove it, he who is charged with sorcery shall go to the river; into the river he shall throw himself and if the river overcome him, his accuser shall take to himself his house and goods. If the river show that man to be innocent and he come forth unharmed, he who charged him with sorcery shall be put to death. He who threw himself into the river shall take to himself the house of his accuser. 2

3      If a man, in a case pending judgment, bear false witness, or do not establish the testimony that he has given, if that case be a case involving life, that man shall be put to death. 3

4      If a man in a case bear witness for grain or money (as a bribe), he shall himself bear the penalty imposed in that case. 4

5      If a judge pronounce a judgment, render a decision, deliver a verdict duly signed and sealed and afterward alter his judgment, they shall call that judge to account for the alteration of the judgment which he had pronounced, and he shall pay twelve-fold the penalty which was in said judgment; and, in the assembly, they shall expel him from his seat of judgment, and he shall not return, and with the judges in a case he shall not take his seat. 5

Theft

6      If a man purchase silver or gold, manservant or maidservant, ox, sheep, or ass, or anything else from a man’s son, or from a man’s servant without witnesses or contracts, or if he receive the same in trust, that man shall be put to death as a thief. 7

7      If a man steal an ox or sheep, ass or pig, or goat—if it be from a temple or a palace, he shall restore thirtyfold; if it be from a freeman, he shall render tenfold. If the thief have nothing wherewith to pay he shall be put to death. 8

8    If a man steal a man’s son, who is a minor, he shall be put to death. 14

9    If a man aid a male or female slave who has fled from the palace or from a freeman, to escape from the city gate, he shall be put to death 15

10    If a man make a breach in a house, they shall put him to death in front of that breach and they shall thrust him therein. 21

11    If a man practice brigandage and be captured, that man shall be put to death. 22

12    If the brigand be not captured, the man who has been robbed shall, in the presence of the god, make an itemized statement of his loss, and the city and the governor, in whose province and jurisdiction the robbery was committed, shall compensate him for whatever was lost. 23 

13    If a fire breaks out in a man’s house and a man who goes to extinguish it cast his eye on the furniture of the owner of the house, and take the furniture of the owner of the house, that man shall be thrown into that fire.  25

 Sons

14    If an officer or a constable, who is in a fortress of the king, be captured and his son be able to conduct the business, they shall give him the field and garden and he shall conduct the business of his father. 28

15    If his son be too young and be not able to conduct the business of his father, they shall give one third of the field and of the garden to his mother, and his mother shall rear him.  29

   
Officers

16    If a governor or a magistrate take the property of an officer, plunder an officer, let an officer for hire, present an officer in a judgment to a man of influence, take the gift which the king has given to an officer, that governor or magistrate shall be put to death. 34

17    If a man buy from an officer the cattle or sheep which the king has given to that officer, he shall forfeit his money.  35

Fields and Production

18    A woman, merchant or other property holder may sell a field, garden or house. The purchaser shall conduct the business of the field, garden or house which he has purchased.  40

19    If a man rent a field for cultivation and do not produce any grain in the field, they shall call him to account, because he has not performed the work required on the field, and he shall give the owner of the field grain on the basis of the yield of adjacent fields.  41

20    If a man owe a debt and the river inundate his field and carry away the produce, or, through lack of water, grain have not grown in the field, in that year he shall not make any return of grain to the creditor, he shall alter his contract-tablet and he shall not pay the interest for that year.  48

21    If a man neglect to strengthen his dike and do not strengthen it, and a break be made in his dike and the water carry away the farmland, the man in whose dike the break has been made shall restore the grain which he has damaged.  53

22    If he be not able to restore the grain, they shall sell him and his goods, and the farmers whose grain the water has carried away shall share (the results of the sale).  54

23    If a man cut down a tree in a man’s orchard, without the consent of the owner of the orchard, he shall pay thirty shekels [one-half pound of silver].  59

24    If a man give his orchard to a gardener to manage, the gardener shall give to the owner of the orchard two-thirds of the produce of the orchard, as long as he is in possession of the orchard; he himself shall take one-third.  64

25    If the gardener do not properly manage the orchard and he diminish the produce, the gardener shall measure out the produce of the orchard on the basis of the adjacent orchards. 65

Trade

26  If a merchant give to an agent grain, wool, oil or goods of any kind with which to trade, the agent shall write down the value and return the money to the merchant. The agent shall take a sealed receipt for the money which he gives to the merchant.  104

27  If the agent be careless and do not take a receipt for the money which he has given to the merchant, the money not receipted for shall not be placed to his account. 105

Wine Selling

28  If a wine-seller do not receive grain as the price of drink, but if she receive money by the great stone, or make the measure for drink smaller than the measure for corn, they shall call that wine-seller into account, and they shall throw her into the water.  108

29  If outlaws collect in the house of a wine-seller, and she do not arrest these outlaws and bring them to the palace, that wine seller shall be put to death.  109

30  If a priestess serving a fertility cult who is not living in a sacred building open a wine shop or enter a wine shop for drink, they shall burn that woman.  110

Debt

31  If a man be on a journey and he give silver, gold, stones or portable property to a man with a commission for transportation, and if that man do not deliver that which was to be transported where it was to be transported, but take it to himself, the owner of the transported goods shall call that man to account for the goods to be transported which he did not deliver, and that  man shall deliver to the owner of the transported goods fivefold the amount given to him.  112

32  If a man hold a debt of  grain or money against a man, and he seize him for debt, and the one seized die in the house of him who seized him, that case has no penalty.  115

33  If a man be in debt and sell his wife, son, or daughter, or bind them over to service, for three years they shall work in the house of their purchaser or master; in the fourth year they shall be given their freedom.  117

34  If a  man give to another silver, gold or anything else on deposit in the presence of witnesses and the latter dispute with him (or deny the deposit), they shall call that man to account and he shall double whatever he has disputed and repay it.  124

Marriage

35  If a man take a wife and do not arrange with her the proper contracts that woman is not a legal wife.  128

36  If the wife of a man be taken lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the water. If the husband would save his wife, or the king would save his male servant, they may.  129

37  If a man force the wife betrothed to another who has not known a male and is living in her father’s house, and he lie in her bosom and they take him, that man shall be put to death and that woman shall go free.  130

38  If the finger have been pointed at the wife of a man because of another man, and she have not been taken in lying with another man, for her husband’s sake she shall throw herself into the river.  132

39  If a man be captured and there be food in his house and his wife go out of her house, she shall protect her body and she shall not enter into another house.  133

40  If that woman do not protect her body and enter into another house, they shall call that woman to account and they shall throw her into the water.  133a

41  If a man be captured and there is no sustenance in his house and his wife enter another house, that woman has no blame.  134

42  If a man would divorce his wife who has not borne him children, he shall give her money to the amount of her marriage settlement and he shall make good to her the dowry which she brought from her father's house, and then may he divorce her.  138

43  If there were no marriage settlement, he shall give her sixty shekels [about one pound of silver] for a divorce.  139

44  If he be a freeman, he shall give her 20 shekels.  140

45  If a woman hate her husband and say, “Thou shall not have me”, they shall inquire into her antecedents for her defects; and if she have been a careful mistress and be without reproach and her husband have been going about and greatly belittling her, that woman has no blame. She shall receive her dowry and shall go to her father’s house.  142

46  If she have not been a careful mistress, have gadded about, have neglected her house and have belittled her husband, that woman shall be thrown into the water.  143

47  If a man give to his wife field, garden, house or goods and he deliver to her a sealed deed, her children cannot make a claim against her after the death of her husband. The mother may will the goods to her child whom she loves, but to a brother she may not. 150

48   If a woman bring about the death of her husband for the sake of another man, they shall impale her. 153

49  If a man have known his daughter, they shall expel that man from the city.  154

50  If a man lie in the bosom of his mother, they shall burn both of them.  157

51  If a man take a wife and she bear him children and that woman die, her father may not lay claim to her dowry. Her dowry belongs to her children.  162

52  If a man present field, garden or house to his favorite son and write for him a sealed deed, when the brothers divide the property after their father’s death, the favorite son shall take the present which his father gave him and the rest shall be divided equally among all the brothers.  165

53  If a man set his face to disinherit his son and say to the judges, “I will disinherit my son”, the judges shall inquire into his antecedents and if the son have not committed a crime sufficiently grave to cut him off from being recognized as a son, the father may not disinherit him.  168

54  If a man’s wife bear him children and his maid servant bear him children, and the father during his lifetime say to the children which the maid servant bore him, “My children”, and reckon them with the children of his wife, after the father dies the children of the wife and the children of the maid servant shall divide the goods of the father’s house equally. The child of the wife shall have the right of choice at the division.  170

55  If a father do not give a dowry to his daughter—a bride or priestess—after her father dies she shall receive as her share in the goods of her father’s house the portion of a son, and she shall enjoy it as long as she lives. After her death it belongs to her brothers.  180

Battery

56  If a son strike his father, they shall cut off his fingers.  195

57  If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye.  196

58  If a man breaks another man’s bone, they shall break his bone.  197

59  If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman, he shall pay sixty shekels [about one pound of silver].  198

60  If one destroy the eye of a man’s slave or break a bone of a man’s slave he shall pay one half of his price.  199

61  If a man knock out a tooth of a man of his own rank, they shall knock out his tooth.  200

62   If one knock out the tooth of a freeman, he shall pay 20 shekels.  201

63  If a man strike the person of a man who is his superior, he shall receive sixty strokes with an ox-tail whip in public.  202

64  If a man strike another man of his own rank, he shall pay sixty shekels.  203

65  If a man strike a man’s daughter and bring about a miscarriage, he shall pay ten shekels for her miscarriage. 209

66  If that woman die, they shall put his daughter to death.  210

67  If, through a blow, he being about a miscarriage to the daughter of a freeman, he shall pay five shekels.  211

68  If that woman die, he shall pay 30 shekels.  212

Physicians

69  If a physician operate on a man for a severe wound with a bronze lancet and save the man’s life; or if he open an abscess of a man with a bronze lancet and save that man’s eye, he shall receive 10 shekels.  215

70  If it be a freeman, he shall receive five shekels.  216

71  If it be a man’s slave, the owner of the slave shall give two shekels to the physician.  217

72  If a physician operate on a man for a severe wound with a bronze lancet and cause the man’s death, or open an abscess of a man with a bronze lancet and destroy the man’s eye, they shall cut off his fingers.  218

73  If a physician set a broken bone for a man or cure his diseased bowels, the patient shall give five shekels to the physician.  221

Construction

74  If a builder build a house for a man and do not make its construction firm, and the house which he has built collapse and cause the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death.  229

75  If it cause the death of a son of the owner of the house, they shall put to death a son of that builder.  230

76  If it destroy property, he shall restore whatever it destroyed, and because he did not make the house which he built firm and it collapsed, he shall rebuild the house which collapsed at his own expense.  232

Hired Property

77  If a man hire his boat to a boatman and the boatman be careless and he sink or wreck the boat, the boatman shall replace the boat for the owner of the boat.  236

78  If a man hire a boatman and a boat and load it with grain, wool, oil, dates, or any other kind of freight, and that boatman be careless and he sink the boat or wreck its cargo, the boatman shall replace the boat which he sank and whatever portion of the cargo he wrecked.  237

79  If a man hire an ox or an ass and a lion kill it in the field, it is the owner’s affair.  244

80  If a man hire an ox and cause its death through neglect or abuse, he shall restore an ox of equal value to the owner of the ox.  245

81  If a bull, when passing through a street, gore a man and bring about his death, this case has no penalty.  250

Rural Crimes

82  If a man steal a watering machine in a field, he shall pay five shekels to the owner.  259

83  If a man steal a watering bucket or a harrow, he shall pay three shekels.  260

84  If a shepherd, to whom oxen or sheep have been given to pasture, have been dishonest or have altered their price, or sold them, they shall call him to account, and he shall restore to their owner oxen and sheep tenfold what he has stolen.  265

Slaves

85  If a male slave say to his master, “You are not my master”, his master shall prove him to be his slave and shall cut of his ear.  282




Source


Adapted from The Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, About 2250 BCE translated by Robert Francis Harper, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1904. The numbers at the end of each paragraph are those in the original.

 



📹 The Law Code Stele of King Hammurabi (VİDEO)

The Law Code Stele of King Hammurabi (LINK)

 



 





  Women’s Lives and Rights in Mesopotamia
  • Mezopotamya’da kadın hakları zamana ve yere göre değişiklikler gösterdi.
  • Kadın ve erkek eşitsizliği zaman içinde büyüdü.
  • Erken dönemlerde kadınlar mülkiyet iyesi olabilir, borç alabilir ve verebilir, ve kendi başlarına iş kurabilirlerdi.
  • İlkin Asur döneminde seçkin kadınların peçe kullanmaları yasa ile zorunlu kılındı.
  • Akadlı Enheduanna tarihin tanıdığı ilk kadın şair idi.

Women’s Lives in Mesopotamia

Women’s Lives in Mesopotamia (LINK)

 
   

In general, women's rights in Mesopotamia were not equal to those of men. But in early periods women were free to go out to the marketplaces, buy and sell, attend to legal matters for their absent men, own their own property, borrow and lend, and engage in business for themselves. High status women, such as priestesses and members of royal families, might learn to read and write and be given considerable administrative authority. Numerous powerful goddesses were worshiped; in some city states they were the primary deities.

Women's position varied between city-states and changed over time. There was an enormous gap between the rights of high and low status women (almost half the population in the late Babylonian period were slaves), and female power and freedom sharply diminished during the Assyrian era. The first evidence of laws requiring the public veiling of elite women come from this period.

 

 



Laws in the Hammurabi Code

Laws in the Hammurabi Code (LINK)

 
   
"If a [woman wine-seller] does not accept [grain] according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the price of the drink is less than that of the corn, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water." (#108). (This refers to a practice known as a trial by ordeal. It was believed that the Euphrates River would act as judge of people accused of various crimes. If, when thrown into the river, the accused person floated, she or he was considered innocent. But if they sank, the river had found them guilty.)

"If conspirators meet in the house of a woman wine-seller, and these conspirators are not captured and delivered to the court, the wine-seller shall be put to death."

"If a 'sister of a god' [nun] open a tavern, or enter a tavern to drink, then shall this woman be burned to death."

"If a married lady who is dwelling in a man's house sets her face to go out of doors and persists in behaving herself foolishly wasting her house and belittling her husband, they shall convict her and, if her husband then states that he will divorce her, he may divorce her; nothing shall be given to her as her divorce-money on her journey." (Law #141.)

"If a married lady is caught lying with another man, they shall bind them and cast them into the water. If her husband wishes to let his wife live, then the king shall let his servant live." (#129)"

"If the husband of a married lady has accused her but she is not caught lying with another man, she shall take an oath by the life of a god and return to her house." (#131)

"If a man wishes to divorce his first wife who has not borne him sons, he shall give her the amount of her purchase money and the dowry which she brought from her father's house, and let her go." (#138)

"If a woman quarrel with her husband, and says: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house." (#142)

 

 



Ancient Tablets, Ancient Graves

Ancient Tablets, Ancient Graves (LINK)

1) Great Death Pit — Sumar. Ur, Early dynastic period, around 2500 BC

The Sumerians believed their kings and queens were divine, and that ordinary humans were created for the service of the gods. At the site of the ancient city-state of Ur, archeologists uncovered sixteen royal graves. That of Queen Shub-ad shows her buried with a fancy head-dress of gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian. She carries an exquisite gold cup in her hand. Buried with her were six men and sixty-eight richly adorned women - mostly ladies in waiting wearing huge gold errings, necklaces of precious stones. gold and silver hair ribbons. Their sleeves, cuffs and bottom hem of their coats were enriched with beads or rings in shell or metal. Slaves and musicians also gave their lives in order to attend to their divine queen after her death.


Pu-Abi (also called Shub-Ad) was an important person in the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (c. 2600 BC).
What we know of her mostly comes from her tomb, which was excavated at Ur between 1926 and 1932. It contained more wealth than any of the other tombs, as well as the skeletons of five soldiers and twenty-three female servants who had been poisoned and buried to serve Pu-Abi in her next life. Symbols on her tomb identify her as both queen and priestess.

Queen Puabi
(LINK: penn.museum)

 
   
The forensic examination of her remains, undertaken by London’s Natural History Museum, indicates that she was roughly 40 years old when she died. She stood just under five feet tall. Her name and title are known from the short inscription on one of three cylinder seals found on her person. The two cuneiform signs that compose her name were initially read as “Shub-ad” in Sumerian. Today, we think they should be read in Akkadian as “Pu-abi” (or, more correctly, “Pu-abum,” meaning “word of the Father”). Her title is “eresh” (sometimes mistakenly read as “nin”), and means “queen.”

 

In early Mesopotamia, women, even elite women, were generally described in relation to their husbands. For example, the inscription on the cylinder seal of the wife of the ruler of the city-state of Lagash (to the east of Ur) reads “Bara-namtara, wife of Lugal-anda, ruler of the city-state of Lagash.” The fact that Puabi is identified without the mention of her husband may indicate that she was queen in her own right. If so, she probably reigned prior to the time of the First Dynasty of Ur, whose first ruler is known from the Sumerian King List as Mesannepada. Inscribed artifacts from the Seal Impression Strata (SIS) layers above the royal tombs at Ur name Mesannepada, King of Kish, an honorific used by rulers claiming control over all of southern Mesopotamia.

This diverse group of objects includes items from Puabi’s dressing table, such as her cosmetics. The semicircular object with carved relief showing a lion attacking a caprid (a sheep or goat) is the lid of a poorly preserved silver box that contained kohl, a black pigment, used to highlight the eyes. The cylinder seal bears the name “Abarage,” whose identity is unknown. Woolley believed Abarage to be Puabi’s husband.

2) Temple of the Goddess Bau: Lagash, ca, 2350 B.C.

Administration of this temple was in the hands of Queen Shagshag. She exercised legal and economic authority over the whole domain of temple, employing about 1000 and 1200 persons year round. She also was the chief priestess. Tablets show that her domestic staff consisted of:

  • 150 slave women: spinners, woolworkers, brewers, millers, and kitchen workers.
  • One female singer, several musicians.
  • 6 women who ground grain for feeding pigs.
  • 15 cooks, and 27 other slaves doing menial work.
  • Brewery: 40 men and 6 females.
  • One wet nurse, one nursemaid.
  • Personal servants for her children and herself.
  • One hairdresser.


Ancient Assyrian Girls

3) Enheduanna. Daughter of King Sargon of Akkad. High-priestess of Moon-God temple. Ur. c. 2300 BC (LINK)


Enheduanna is the first known female poet in history. Her poems of praise to gods and goddesses were highly popular in her time. After her father's death, the new ruler of Ur removed her from her position as high-priestess. She wrote of this injustice:

"Me who once sat triumphant, he has driven out of the sanctuary. Like a swallow he made me fly from the window, My life is consumed. He stripped me of the crown appropriate for the high priesthood. He gave me dagger and sword - 'it becomes you,' he said to me." Enheduanna appealed to the goddess Inanna to redress her injuries: "It was in your service that I first entered the holy temple, I, Enheduanna, the highest priestess. I carried the ritual basket, I chanted your praise. Now I have been cast out to the place of lepers. Day comes and the brightness is hidden around me. Shadows cover the light, drape it in sandstorms. My beautiful mouth knows only confusion. Even my sex is dust."


4) Erishti-Aya: Letters to King Zimri-Lim of the city-state of Mari, Akkadian Dynasty 1750 BC (LINK)


Zimri-Lim was king of Mari in northern Mesopotamia during the time of Hammurabi. Elite women in Mari held relatively equal status with men. They stood in for the king when he was absent, and ruled in city-states that had been conquered. Zimri-Lim had eight daughters. Two he had become priestesses dedicated to certain gods. They became cloistered, like nuns. One, Erishti-Aya, wrote letters home complaining of her life

"Now the daughters of your house...are receiving their rations of grain, clothing, and good beer. But even though I alone am the woman who prays for you, I am not provisioned... Last year you sent me two female slaves and one of those slaves had to go and die! Now you have brought me two more female slaves and of these one slave had to go and die!"

To her mother Erishti-Aya wrote:

"I am a king's daughter! You are a king's wife! Even disregarding the tablets with which your husband and you made me entered the cloister, they (the temple officials) treat well soldiers taken as booty. You, then treat me well!"...."My rations of grain and clothing, with which my father keeps me alive, they once gave me, so let them give me them no lest I starve."


Babylonian woman costume

Women’s legal rights (W)

24th century BC
  • City-state Lagash in Mesopotamia: Some of the laws in the code of Urukagina were: Widows were exempted from taxes, and "When to the reeds of Enki a person has been brought...One woman’s headband, and one sila (1 l.) of princely fragrance shall the eresh-dingir priestess take away." As well, Urukagina greatly expanded the royal "Household of Women" from about 50 persons to about 1500 persons, renamed it the "Household of goddess Bau", gave it ownership of vast amounts of land confiscated from the former priesthood, and placed it under the supervision of his wife, Shasha (or Shagshag). However, Urukagina also seems to have abolished the former custom of polyandry in his country, on pain of the woman taking multiple husbands being stoned with rocks upon which her crime is written. No comparable laws from Urukagina addressing penalties for adultery by men have survived. There is also a statute from Urukagina's time stating that "if a woman says [text illegible...] to a man, her mouth is crushed with burnt bricks." The discovery of these fragments has led some modern critics to assert that they provide "the first written evidence of the degradation of women".

5) Prayer to Goddess Ishtar (LINK)


"Gracious Ishtar, who rules over the universe, Heroic Ishtar, who creates humankind, who walks before the cattle, who loves the shepherd... Without you the river will not open the river which brings us life will not be closed, without you the canal will not open, the canal from which the scattered drink will not be closed... Where you cast your glance, the dead awaken, the sick arise; The bewildered, beholding your face, find the right way..."


6) Letter from Assyrian business woman to her merchant husband. c. 1900 BC (LINK)


"One heavy cloth to Ashur-Malik I gave previously for his caravan trip. But the silver from it he has not yet brought me. ....When you send the purse, include some wool. Wool in the city is costly."


6) Letter from Assyrian business woman to her merchant husband. c. 1900 BC (LINK)


"One heavy cloth to Ashur-Malik I gave previously for his caravan trip. But the silver from it he has not yet brought me. ....When you send the purse, include some wool. Wool in the city is costly."

 








ROTH, MARTHA T. — Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor

ROTH, MARTHA T. — Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor

ROTH, MARTHA T. — Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (1997)
The law collections presented in this volume are compilations, varying in legal and literary sophistication, recorded by scribes in the schools and the royal centers of ancient Mesopotamian and Asia Minor from the end of the third millennium through the middle of the first millennium B.C.E. Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Hittite texts, with accompanying English translations, are included. Some of the collections, like the famous Laws of Hammurabi, achieved a wide audience; others, like the Laws about Rented Oxen, were scribal exercises limited to a local school center. All, however, reflected contemporary legal practice in the scribes' recordings of contracts, administrative documents, and court cases and also provide historians with evidence of abstractions of legal rules from specific cases. In addition to the texts and translations, the volume includes a list of sources, bibliography, glossary, and numerous indexes.
 
 
   
This work contains translations of all the known "law codes" in the Sumerian, Akkadian and Hittite languages. The book has a transliteration of the text on the left hand side of the page and an English translation on the right hand side of the page. Additionally, the book contains very useful glossaries and an excellent bibliography.

The texts included in this volume are: “The Laws of Ur-Nammu", "The Laws of Lipit-Ishtar", "The Laws of Eshunna", "Hammurabi's Law Code", "Middle Assyrian Laws", Middle Assyrian Palace Decrees" and "Hittite Laws" among others.
 

 









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