Literature Study GuidesCode Of Hammurabi

Code of Hammurabi | Study Guide


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Course Hero. "Code of Hammurabi Study Guide." February 24, 2020. Accessed September 30, 2023.


Course Hero, "Code of Hammurabi Study Guide," February 24, 2020, accessed September 30, 2023,




Year Written

c. 1750 BCE


Primary Source



At a Glance

  • The Code of Hammurabi is a set of laws decreed by King Hammurabi, the ruler of Babylonia from about 1792 to 1750 BCE.
  • Babylonia (in what is now Iraq) was located in Mesopotamia, the ancient region located primarily between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
  • Hammurabi expanded Babylonia from a handful of city-states into a vast empire. His intention was to be a just ruler and improve his subjects' lives through the building of public works and the establishment of a code of laws.
  • The Code of Hammurabi includes 282 laws that address ordinary legal situations and prescribe penalties. The punishments are often harsh and vary based on the perpetrator's social status.
  • The laws cover a range of topics including murder, theft, assault, divorce, inheritance, taxes, lending, and commercial practices.
  • Hammurabi had the laws inscribed on stelae, or tall stone pillars, and displayed in public places to inform his subjects.
  • Hammurabi's kingdom collapsed after his death, but his code survived as a model for laws in other cultures and time periods.


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