Law Code of Hammurabi Detail
"The text is written in cuneiform script and the Akkadian language. It is divided into three parts:
- a historical prologue relating the investiture of King Hammurabi in his role as "protector of the weak and oppressed," and the formation of his empire and achievements;
- a lyrical epilogue summing up his legal work and preparing its perpetuation in the future;
- these two literary passages frame a text describing almost three hundred laws and legal decisions governing daily life in the kingdom of Babylon. The legal part of the text uses everyday language and is here simplified, for the king wanted it to be understood by all. However, the legal decisions are all constructed in the same manner: a phrase in the conditional sets out a problem of law or social order; it is followed by a response in the future tense, in the form of the sanction for the guilty party or the settlement of a situation: "Should an individual do such and such a thing, such and such a thing will happen to him or her."
Grouped together in chapters, the issues addressed cover criminal and civil laws. The principal subjects are family law, slavery, and professional, commercial, agricultural and administrative law. Economic measures set prices and salaries. The longest chapter concerns the family, which formed the basis of Babylonian society. It deals with engagement, marriage and divorce, adultery and incest, children, adoption and inheritance, and the duties of children's nurses. Every aspect of each case is addressed, enabling the greatest number of observations to be made."