The idea of civilization involves some elements: an urban settlement, a population , certain shared customs and some system of political organization . In order for all this to be coherent and harmonious, it is necessary to establish some kind of legal norm that allows the regulation of life in society . In this sense, the first historical reference of which we have records goes back to the second millennium BC in Mesopotamia, where the Code of Hammurabi was discovered . Code of Hammurabi
Sumerian King Hammurabi names this code as the ruler of Babylon, one of the most important and prosperous cities in Mesopotamia. This king did not go down in history due to the expansion of his empire or for military strategy, but he is known to be the first lawgiver in the history of mankind.
In other words, he was the first government official to write down a set of norms to serve as a reference for the entire society. These laws constitute one of the first legal texts with a historical record. Code of Hammurabi
From this text emanated the precepts that should be complied with by the citizens, as well as the opportune punishments in case the established norms were not complied with. This was a novelty in the context of the ancient world, as there was no written tradition of a legislative or normative type. In this way, from this document onwards, society would not be governed by the unilateral and despotic decisions of any agent.
The text is written on a stele, which contains 282 laws inspired by a deity , Shamash, the god of the sun. Code of Hammurabi
The code establishes precepts of different natures and areas: administrative matters, criminal matters, punishments, penalties and aspects of civil organization.
Details to take into account
- – The text was discovered in the city of Susa as part of a spoils of war in the year 1200 BC.
- – Many of the constitutive principles of current legislation are also found in this historical document.
- – The code is presented in 46 columns of 3600 lines.
- – In turn, the laws aim to harmonize and unify the customs of a vast empire characterized by its heterogeneity.
- – The contents were carved from diorite stone in the shape of a conical column.
- – Nowadays, these archaeological remains are part of the French heritage and are located in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Code of Hammurabi