A history of ancient Babylon (Babylonia) including its cities, laws, kings and legacy to civilization

Main Babylonian Page

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Hammurabi

Code Of Hammurabi

A Brief Overview of Babylonia

The Last Kings of Babylonia

Care to express an opinion on a current or past historical event?

Need to ask a question from our many visitors?

Just visit our Forum and leave your message.

Forum

Weekly Poll

Please Help Keep Us On the Web.

We are a Non-Profit Organization and the cost of continuing is becoming more than we can handle.  Therefore, we are asking you to please donate anything you can to help keep us on the web.

Please Help Click Here

 

Map

Babyloniamap.jpg (83915 bytes)

 

Stele of Hammurabi    

babylonia1.jpg (23563 bytes)

babylonia2.jpg (35680 bytes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babylonia, A history of ancient Babylon (Babylonia) including its cities, laws, kings and legacy to civilization.

Part Seven

Hammurabi's Code

Author:      Hammurabi

Date:        2250 B.C.

 

Introduction And Preface

B.C. 2250

 

     The foundation of all law-making in Babylonia from about the middle of

the twenty-third century B.C. to the fall of the empire was the code of

Hammurabi, the first king of all Babylonia.  He expelled invaders from his

dominions, cemented the union of north and south Babylonia, made Babylon the

capital, and thus consolidated an empire which endured for almost twenty

centuries.  The code which he compiled is the oldest known in history, older

by nearly a thousand years than the Mosaic, and of earlier date than the

so-called Laws of Manu.  It is one of the most important historical landmarks

in existence, a document which gives us knowledge not otherwise furnished of

the country and people, the civilization and life of a great centre of human

action hitherto almost hidden in obscurity.  Hammurabi, who is supposed to be

identical with Amraphel, a contemporary of Abraham, is regarded as having

certainly contributed through his laws to the Hebrew traditions.  The

discovery of this code has, therefore, a special value in relation to biblical

studies, upon which so many other important side-lights have recently been

thrown.

 

     The discovery was made at Susa, Persia, in December and January, 1901-2,

by M. de Morgan's French excavating expedition.  The monument on which the

laws are inscribed, a stele of black diorite nearly eight feet high, has been

fully described by Assyriologists, and the inscription transcribed.  It has

been completely translated by Dr. Hugo Winckler, whose translation (in Die

Gesetze Hammurabis, Band IV, Heft 4, of Der Alte Orient) furnishes the basis

of the version herewith presented.  Following an autobiographic preface, the

text of the code contains two hundred and eighty edicts and an epilogue.  To

readers of the code who are familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures many biblical

parallels will occur.

 

Preface

 

     When Anu the Sublime, king of the Anunaki, and Bel [god of the earth],

the Lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to

Marduk [or Merodach, the great god of Babylon] the over-ruling son of Ea [god

of the waters], 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 [Babylon], 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 [the sun-god], and enlighten the

land, to further the well-being of mankind.

 

     Hammurabi, the prince, called of Bel am I, making riches and increase,

enriching Nippur and Dur-ilu beyond compare, sublime patron of E-kur [temple

of Bel in Nippur, the seat of Bel's worship]; who reestablished Eridu and

purified the worship of E-apsu [temple of Ea, at Eridu, the chief seat of Ea's

worship]; who conquered the four quarters of the world, made great the name of

Babylon, rejoiced the heart of Marduk, his lord who daily pays his devotions

in Saggil [Marduk's temple in Babylon]; the royal scion whom Sin made; who

enriched Ur [Abraham's birthplace, the seat of the worship of Sin, the

moon-god]; the humble, the reverent, who brings wealth to Gish-shir-gal; the

white king, heard of Shamash, the mighty, who again laid the foundations of

Sippana [seat of worship of Shamash and his wife, Malkat]; who clothed the

gravestones of Malkat with green [symbolizing the resurrection of nature]; who

made E-babbar [temple of the sun in Sippara] great, which is like the heavens;

the warrior who guarded Larsa and renewed E-babbar [temple of the sun in

Larsa, biblical Elassar, in Southern Babylonia], with Shamash as his helper;

the lord who granted new life to Uruk [biblical Erech], who brought plenteous

water to its inhabitants, raised the head of E-anna [temple of Ishtar-Nana at

Uruk], and perfected the beauty of Anu and Nana; shield of the land, who

reunited the scattered inhabitants of Isin; who richly endowed E-gal-mach

[temple of Isin]; the protecting king of the city, brother of the god Zamama

[god of Kish]; who firmly founded the farms of Kish, crowned E-me-te-ursag

[sister city of Kish] with glory, redoubled the great holy treasures of Nana,

managed the temple of Harsag-kalama [temple of Nergal at Cuthah]; the grave of

the enemy, whose help brought about the victory; who increased the power of

Cuthah; made all glorious in E-shidlam [a temple], the black steer [title of

Marduk] who gored the enemy; beloved of the god Nebo, who rejoiced the

inhabitants of Borsippa, the Sublime; who is indefatigable for E-zida [temple

of Nebo in Babylon]; the divine king of the city; the White, Wise; who

broadened the fields of Dilbat, who heaped up the harvests for Urash; the

Mighty, the lord to whom come sceptre and crown, with which he clothes

himself; the Elect of Ma-ma; who fixed the temple bounds of Kesh, who made

rich the holy feasts of Nin-tu [goddess of Kesh]; the provident, solicitous,

who provided food and drink for Lagash and Girsu, who provided large

sacrificial offerings for the temple of Ningirsu [at Lagash]; who captured the

enemy, the Elect of the oracle who fulfilled the prediction of Hallab, who

rejoiced the heart of Anunit [whose oracle had predicted victory]; the pure

prince, whose prayer is accepted by Adad [god of Hallab, with goddess Anunit];

who satisfied the heart of Adad, the warrior, in Karkar, who restored the

vessels for worship in E-ud-gal-gal; the king who granted life to the city of

Adab; the guide of E-mach; the princely king of the city, the irresistible

warrior, who granted life to the inhabitants of Mashkanshabri, and brought

abundance to the temple of Shidlam; the White, Potent, who penetrated the

secret cave of the bandits, saved the inhabitants of Malka from misfortune,

and fixed their home fast in wealth; who established pure sacrificial gifts

for Ea and Dam-gal-nun-na, who made his kingdom everlastingly great; the

princely king of the city, who subjected the districts on the Ud-kib-nun-na

Canal [Euphrates?] to the sway of Dagon, his Creator; who spared the

inhabitants of Mera and Tutul; the sublime prince, who makes the face of Ninni

shine; who presents holy meals to the divinity of Nin-a-zu, who cared for its

inhabitants in their need, provided a portion for them in Babylon in peace;

the shepherd of the oppressed and of the slaves; whose deeds find favor before

Anunit, who provided for Anunit in the temple of Dumash in the suburb of

Agade; who recognizes the right, who rules by law; who gave back to the city

of Assur its protecting god; who let the name of Istar of Nineveh remain in

E-mish-mish; the Sublime, who humbles himself before the great gods; successor

of Sumula-il; the mighty son of Sin-muballit; the royal scion of Eternity; the

mighty monarch, the sun of Babylon, whose rays shed light over the land of

Sumer and Akkad; the king, obeyed by the four quarters of the world; Beloved

of Ninni, am I.

 

     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.

Hammurabi's Code

Author:      Hammurabi

Date:        2250 B.C.

Code Of Laws: Part II (150-282)

 

Code Of Laws: Part I (1-149)

 

     1. If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he cannot

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 offence

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 judgment.

 

     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 proven 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.

 

[Note: There is no #13 in text.]

 

     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 a runaway male or female slave 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 cannot 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 . . . [from the connection, some man higher in rank

than a chieftain] 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 . . . [same as in 33] 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.

 

     35. The field, garden and house of a chieftain, of a man, or of one

subject to quit-rent, cannot 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 cannot 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 [dry measure] 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 [a symbolic action indicating the inability to pay] 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-five

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 intrust 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 [take an oath] 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 from 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 cannot 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" [one devoted to the temple] 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 intrust 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 intrusted to him.

 

     113. If any one have a 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 cannot 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 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 [delit flagrant is necessary for divorce], 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 [prove her innocence by this test].

 

     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 no 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 [amount formerly

paid to the bride's father] 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 cannot

hold the woman for it.  But if the woman, before she entered the man's house,

had contracted a debt, her creditor cannot 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," then 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 sons, 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 married 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 estate of the house of her

first husband.  Then the house of her first husband shall be intrusted 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 household 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 [connected with the temple

neither can marry] 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 be given to a farmer whom she chooses and the farmer 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 cannot sell or assign it to

others.  Her position of inheritance belongs to her brothers.

 

     179. If a "sister of a god" [whose hire went to the revenue of the

temple, counterpart to the public prostitute], 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 Marduk 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 she shall not have the management thereof.  A wife of

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 then 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 cannot 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,

cannot be demanded back.

 

     188. If an artisan has undertaken to rear a child and teaches him his

craft, he cannot 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 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.

 

     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.

 

     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-hide whip in public.

 

     203. If a free-born man strike the body of another free-born man of 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 physician.

 

     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 freed 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 a 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 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 reerect 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 is 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,

intrust 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 . . . . . [broken off].

 

     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 intrusted 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 and profit which was lost in the

terms of settlement.

 

     265. If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been intrusted, 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 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 artisan, he shall pay as wages of the . .

five gerahs, as wages of the potter five gerahs, of a tailor five gerahs, of .

. . gerahs, . . . of . . . gerahs . . . of . . . gerahs, of a carpenter four

gerahs, of a rope-maker 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 buy 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 he paid before God, and the owner shall give the 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.

 

 

 

Epilogue

 

     Laws of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established.  A righteous

law, and pious statute did he teach the land.  Hammurabi, the protecting king

am I.  I have not withdrawn myself from the men, whom Bel gave to me, the rule

over whom Marduk gave to me, I was not negligent, but I made them a peaceful

abiding place.  I expounded all great difficulties, I made the light shine

upon them.  With the mighty weapons which Zamama and Ishtar intrusted to me,

with the keen vision with which Ea endowed me, with the wisdom that Marduk

gave me, I have uprooted the enemy above and below [in north and south],

subdued the earth, brought prosperity to the land, guaranteed security to the

inhabitants in their homes; a disturber was not permitted.  The great gods

have called me, I am the salvation-bearing shepherd [ruler], whose staff

[sceptre] is straight [just], the good shadow that is spread over my city; on

my breast I cherish the inhabitants of the land of Sumer and Akkad

[Babylonia]; in my shelter I have let them repose in peace; in my deep wisdom

have I inclosed them.  That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to

protect the widows and orphans, I have in Babylon the city where Anu and Bel

raise high their head, in E-Sagil, the Temple, whose foundations stand firm as

heaven and earth, in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all

disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon

my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.

 

     The king who ruleth among the kings of the cities am I.  My words are

well considered; there is no wisdom like unto mine.  By the command of Shamash

[the sun-god], the great judge of heaven and earth, let righteousness go forth

in the land: by the order of Marduk, my lord, let no destruction befall my

monument.  In E-Sagil, which I love, let my name be ever repeated; let the

oppressed, who has a case at law, come and stand before this my image as king

of righteousness; let him read the inscription, and understand my precious

words: the inscription will explain his case to him; he will find out what is

just, and his heart will be glad [so that he will say]:

 

     "Hammurabi is a ruler, who is as a father to his subjects, who holds the

words of Marduk in reverence, who has achieved conquest for Marduk over the

north and south, who rejoices the heart of Marduk, his lord, who has bestowed

benefits forever and ever on his subjects, and has established order in the

land."

 

     When he reads the record, let him pray with full heart to Marduk, my

lord, and Zarpanit, my lady; and then shall the protecting deities and the

gods, who frequent E-Sagil, graciously grant the desires daily presented

before Marduk, my lord, and Zarpanit, my lady.

 

     In future time, through all coming generations, let the king, who may be

in the land, observe the words of righteousness which I have written on my

monument; let him not alter the law of the land which I have given, the edicts

which I have enacted; my monument let him not mar.  If such a ruler have

wisdom, and be able to keep his land in order, he shall observe the words

which I have written in this inscription; the rule, statute and law of the

land which I have given; the decisions which I have made will this inscription

show him; let him rule his subjects accordingly, speak justice to them, give

right decisions, root out the miscreants and criminals from his land, and

grant prosperity to his subjects.

 

     Hammurabi, the king of righteousness, on whom Shamash has conferred right

[or law] am I.  My words are well considered, my deeds are not equaled, to

bring low those that were high, to humble the proud, to expel insolence. If a

succeeding ruler considers my words, which I have written in this my

inscription, if he do not annul my law, nor corrupt my words, nor change my

monument, then may Shamash lengthen that king's reign, as he has that of me,

the king of righteousness, that he may reign in righteousness over his

subjects.  If this ruler do not esteem my words, which I have written in my

inscription, if he despise my curses, and fear not the curse of God, if he

destroy the law which I have given, corrupt my words, change my monument,

efface my name, write his name there, or on account of the curses commission

another so to do, that man, whether king or ruler, patesi [priest-viceroy] or

commoner, no matter what he be, may the great God [Anu], the Father of the

gods, who has ordered my rule, withdraw from him the glory of royalty, break

his sceptre, curse his destiny.  May Bel, the lord, who fixeth destiny, whose

command cannot be altered, who has made my kingdom great, order a rebellion

which his hand cannot control; may he let the wind of the overthrow of his

habitation blow, may he ordain the years of his rule in groaning, years of

scarcity, years of famine, darkness without light, death with seeing eyes be

fated to him; may he [Bel] order with his potent mouth the destruction of his

city, the dispersion of his subjects, the cutting off of his rule, the removal

of his name and memory from the land.  May Belit, the great Mother, whose

command is potent in E-Kur [the Babylonian Olympus], the Mistress, who

hearkens graciously to my petitions, in the seat of judgment and decision

[where Bel fixes destiny], turn his affairs evil before Bel, and put the

devastation of his land, the destruction of his subjects, the pouring out of

his life like water into the mouth of King Bel.  May Ea, the great ruler,

whose fated decrees come to pass, the thinker of the gods, the omniscient, who

maketh long the days of my life, withdraw understanding and wisdom from him,

lead him to forgetfulness, shut up his rivers at their sources, and not allow

corn or sustenance for man to grow in his land.  May Shamash, the great Judge

of heaven and earth, who supporteth all means of livelihood, Lord of

life-courage, shatter his dominion, annul his law, destroy his way, make vain

the march of his troops, send him in his visions forecasts of the uprooting of

the foundations of his throne and of the destruction of his land.  May the

condemnation of Shamash overtake him forthwith; may he be deprived of water

above among the living, and his spirit below in the earth.  May Sin [the

moon-god], the Lord of Heaven, the divine father, whose crescent gives light

among the gods, take away the crown and regal throne from him; may he put upon

him heavy guilt, great decay, that nothing may be lower than he.  May he

destine him as fated, days, months and years of dominion filled with sighing

and tears, increase of the burden of dominion, a life that is like unto death.

May Adad, the lord of fruitfulness, ruler of heaven and earth, my helper,

withhold from him rain from heaven, and the flood of water from the springs,

destroying his land by famine and want; may he rage mightily over his city,

and make his land into flood-hills [heaps of ruined cities].  May Zamama, the

great warrior, the first born son of E-Kur, who goeth at my right hand,

shatter his weapons on the field of battle, turn day into night for him, and

let his foe triumph over him.  May Ishtar, the goddess of fighting and war,

who unfetters my weapons, my gracious protecting spirit, who loveth my

dominion, curse his kingdom in her angry heart; in her great wrath, change his

grace into evil, and shatter his weapons on the place of fighting and war.

May she create disorder and sedition for him, strike down his warriors, that

the earth may drink their blood, and throw down the piles of corpses of his

warriors on the field; may she not grant him a life of mercy, deliver him into

the hands of his enemies, and imprison him in the land of his enemies. May

Nergal, the mighty among the gods, whose contest is irresistible, who grants

me victory, in his great might burn up his subjects like a slender reed-stalk,

cut off his limbs with his mighty weapons, and shatter him like an earthen

image.  May Nin-tu, the sublime mistress of the lands, the fruitful mother,

deny him a son, vouchsafe him no name, give him no successor among men.  May

Nin-karak, the daughter of Anu, who adjudges grace to me, cause to come upon

his members in E-kur, high fever, severe wounds, that cannot be healed, whose

nature the physician does not understand, which he cannot treat with dressing,

which, like the bite of death, cannot be removed, until they have sapped away

his life.

 

     May he lament the loss of his life-power, and may the great gods of

heaven and earth, the Anunnaki altogether inflict a curse and evil upon the

confines of the temple, the walls of this E-barra [the Sun temple of Sippara],

upon his dominion, his land, his warriors, his subjects and his troops.  May

Bel curse him with the potent curses of his mouth that cannot be altered, and

may they come upon him forthwith.

 

Main Page

World History Center