Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Code of Hammurabi” as Want to Read:
The Code of Hammurabi
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Code of Hammurabi

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  899 ratings  ·  82 reviews
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved ancient law code, created circa 1760 BC in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. The stele containing the Code of Hammurabi was discovered in 1901 by the Egyptologist Gustav Jequier, a member of the expedition headed by Jacques de Morgan. The stele was discovered in what is now Khuzestan, Iran (an ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published February 18th 2009 by Wildside Press (first published -1780)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Code of Hammurabi, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Malola You can't. They're using the date of the first translation.
…more
You can't. They're using the date of the first translation.
(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  899 ratings  ·  82 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Code of Hammurabi
Onaiza Khan
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Quite an eye-opener ... this one
P.
The lesson I learned from this surprisingly early system of laws is this: if you do something even vaguely wrong it is likely that you '... shall be put to death.'

No wonder the empire lasted so long. People were shit-scared that their cow might wander into someone else's field!

But jokes aside, this was really enlightening in the sense that I never knew there existed such a well-thought out code of law (albeit a bloody one) to deter theft, vandalism, murder and slander, that hinged above all thi
...more
Vaishali
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-cultures
"So the strong should not harm the weak." - King Hammurabi in the prologue, explaining why he established the world's first law code. A fascinating peek into life at the dawn of civilization. FYI: There is no law #13 !

Some interesting laws:
-------------------------

# 128. If a man takes a woman to wife, but has no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.

# 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 i
...more
Michael Mulligan
A disturbing look into ancient Mesopotamia, through the laws passed by King Hammurabi almost 4000 years ago. I appreciate Judge Judy all the more after reading this. What do we learn from reading these 282 laws? We learn that humanity has changed! I daresay for the better. A lot of the laws are settling property and contract disputes. So the code prescribes price and wage fixing--Adam Smith is still millennia in the future.

You get the classic eye for an eye that appears later in the Jewish holy
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2-asia, non-fiction
Created out of divine authority, world's first code of laws is quite an amusing read.

It surprised me with some of its humane laws:

If a man has incurred a debt and a storm has flooded his field or carried away the crop, or the corn has not grown because of drought, in that year he shall not pay his creditor. Further, he shall post-date his bond and shall not pay interest for that year.

I mean okay there is capital sentence even for such minor crimes as burgalaries and theft but that is to be expec
...more
Sagar
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The strong who harm the weak shall be put to death.
Kendra
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The only truly interesting things about this was its origin. It's the first known code of laws. But other than a few harsh punishments for seemingly minor things, there's not much to marvel at. ...more
Luís
Hammurabi was able to remain in power thanks to his tenacity and great political ability, knowing how to take advantage of the best possible game of skill, through pacts and alliances with contemporary kings. One of his first concerns was the implementation of law and order in the country, foundations that led to the internal unity of his kingdom. With great patience, self-mastery, and much political tact, he builds, through his victories and achievements, piece by piece, his vast empire. The cr ...more
Gordan Karlic
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was awesome.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is the most famous law, but, until I read this I didn't know it had an asterisk (depending on the social position of the person who inflicted the crime).
Also, there is a lot of interesting laws. For example, if a builder builds a house and that housing collapses and kills the owner, the builder will be killed, but if that house kills the owner's son, the builder's sons will be killed. Crazy ass law.
Still, there is a lot of laws that are mo
...more
Zainab Ali
Jan 30, 2018 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
It is not my place to discuss the justice or the harshness of these laws (some of which were pretty harsh, I tell you), but I found this book... satisfying.
Considering its origins and its being the first known code of law in the world, it was very well-ordered and thorough; assaults, murder, theft, slander, trade, land, animals, slaves, hirement, public services, political corruption, marriage, adoption, inheritence and other family affairs... with 282 laws, the code covers all the aspects of li
...more
Justin Benjamin
Nov 09, 2011 rated it liked it
The Code of Hammurabi was a great breakthrough in the criminal justice system, setting a precedent for future refinements in the codes of various cultures. Not only was it uniform in its treatment of all the people of the Babylonian nation, but it recognized the political corruption inherent in offices of authority, and introduced a great deal of measures to prevent abuse of that power, as well as heightened penalties for the privileged classes in violation of the code.

This code is comprehensive
...more
Illiterate
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
The laws focus, as one might guess, on violence, property, sex.
Daniel
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book at least four times and never got back to it. Seeing as we have been deluged lately here in North Carolina, I figured I would tear through it. This is a law book, a book of laws that are still the basis for many laws and rules amongst many cultural variances. There are rules here for how sexual situations should be treated, how a judge should respond to certain things, and many other things you have heard of. Eye for an Eye? Oh yes, mentioned and put in place here. Many other ...more
Anna
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I remember learning about Hammurabi's laws in high school, but we didn't have to read the actual laws. I see now what a good decision that was. Ol' Hammy gets way too specific - this reads like a transcript of every specific case ever brought to court in Sumer. Plus, there's a long intro telling us how the gods picked Hamms as king, and an even longer epilogue full of curses on any future king who changes the laws. Might've been big news at the time, but it's pretty long-winded and narcissistic ...more
Malola
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't give it another rating.

Well, yeah... I can only give it five stars given that it's legal text and not a work of fiction nor a science book.
It's interesting as a document and relic. Cool to know that there are the basis of profesional mala praxis and dolo.
...more
Ady Aouili
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very, VERY interesting !
Darth Casanova
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you don’t read this book, you shall be put to death. 😂
Philothea
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not tried other translations yet, but this is an easy and understandable read for anybody interested in some of the world's oldest recorded laws. I highly recommend this book if you're interested in the evolution of popular morality. The Hammurabi version of "fairness" is extremely interesting too - for example, a poor man is fined less than a rich man in cases of ill fortune or even law breaking (they even paid less for the doctor, erm, bronze lancet treatment), yet if a poor man injures ...more
Samantha
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not a book you would read for enjoyment, but still a good to read if you are majoring in world history or criminal justice. The code is basically an eye for an eye, while someone are pretty much the same now as it was before, I just felt like some crimes deserved more punishment. Like if a son where to hit his father the son would have his fingers cut off, but if a man where to hit a woman which caused a miscarriage he would have to pay her money, which to me that man deserves to have his finger ...more
Grace
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Code of Hammurabi reminds me of some of the laws in the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament of the Bible. There are laws concerning relationships between men, women, and children, as well as payment or restitution for the harming or killing of others. There are also many laws concerning the payments for farming, crops, and trade, and use and care of others animals, servants, and slaves. The Code is missing some text, so we don't have all the laws that were written, but it gives us a good ...more
Sadie
Sep 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
I really hated this book!! In almost EVERY code the penalty is DEATH!! not cool!
Darjeeling
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tough but fair.
Grant Stenger
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating context on one of our earliest legal systems and on human nature more broadly. Super short read––totally worth it.
Jeff DeRosa
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are so many gruesome ways to punish another person. It goes well beyond "eye for an eye" (law 196) and tooth for a tooth" (law 200). This source material provides a glimpse into the value system of the Babylonian dynasty. The fact that laws 66 - 99 are missing is disappointing. This is such an excellent window into the value system of this place at that time; I'm sure we've missed much by not seeing those laws.

The Code of Hammurabi focuses on the following subjects: Slavery (the text stri
...more
Jessie
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a collection of laws, most of which were already in place before Hammurabi unified them into his Code. It must have been progressive for his time, but it doesn't look so dignified today. It is very clear that Abrahamic religious edicts have similar roots with ancient Babylonian law. The Old Testament style and temperament strongly resembles Ancient Akkadian and Sumerian texts, but I'm getting this impression based on English translations. It's interesting and eye-opening to see the threa ...more
Anne
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the oldest deciphered writings still around today, so I was curious to read it. It’s fascinating to read, a bit like the Ten Commandments, except with more death and just horribleness in general. Seriously, so many of the laws end with, “he shall be put to death.” I mean, a bit harsh. However, it’s interesting to see how similar these laws are to many lists of laws around the world (from Ancient China to the Bible), like don’t steal and laws of bequeathing property. This makes for ...more
Arno Mosikyan
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
"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." ...more
Annie Kate
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschool, history
My daughter studied The Code of Hammurabi (not this edition) for homeschool using Omnibus 1 as a guide. It was quite an eye opener for her, and at times she was furious. Comparing Hammurabi's Code to Old Testament laws was a very interesting exercise, too.

I, too, benefited from rereading this and found it more fascinating than the first time.
...more
Fatima M. Nabil
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
One of the oldest law codes in history,it was very cruel,almost everyone shall be put to death! Yet impressively judges were not immune, sometimes they were to be punished if they broke the law.
It gives an idea about the nature of their civilization,& the importance of agriculture & slavery at the time.
K. R. B. Moum
had a quick read, seemed interesting in several ways ... particularly the specific emphasis on certain issues and elaborated guidance of required steps ... almost thought that there is no punishment of dissecting organs ... and then noticed those in the latter ... but it was interesting to find very few references of collaboration with supernatural activities with the judiciary procedure
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Enuma Elish: The Seven Tablets of the History of Creation
  • Oedipus at Colonus (The Theban Plays, #2)
  • Crito
  • The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • The Legend Of Etana
  • Le deuxième sexe I
  • The Epic of Atrahasis
  • Westcar Papyrus
  • Debate Between Bird and Fish
  • Practical Elemental Magick: Working the Magick of Air Fire Water & Earth in the Western Esoteric Tradition
  • Circle of Fire: A practical guide to the symbolism  & practices of modern Wiccan ritual
  • Artemis: Virgin Goddess of the Sun & Moon--A Comprehensive Guide to the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, Her Myths, Powers & Mysteries
  • Rebel Bear (Aloha Shifters: Pearls of Desire, #2)
  • Lure of the Tiger (Aloha Shifters: Jewels of the Heart, #4)
  • Lure of the Bear (Aloha Shifters: Jewels of the Heart Book 3)
  • Lure of the Wolf (Aloha Shifters: Jewels of the Heart #2)
See similar books…
12 followers
Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; died c. 1750 BCE) was the sixth king of Babylon (that is, of the First Babylonian Dynasty) from 1792 BCE to 1750 BCE middle chronology (1728 BCE – 1686 BCE short chronology). He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit ...more

Related Articles

Danielle Evans was just 26 when she released her short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self in 2010, a multi-award-winning...
15 likes · 1 comments
“When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunnaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak, so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

...When Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I did right and righteousness in . . . , and brought about the well-being of the oppressed.

[The oldest known written code of laws from around 1772 BCE]”
16 likes
“To bring about the rule of righteousness in the land so that the strong shall not harm the weak.” 5 likes
More quotes…