Code of Hammurabi

This passage discusses the ancient set of laws set up by King Hammurabi of Babylon.

Lexile Level: 850L

Categories: History


The Code of Hammurabi is an ancient set of laws. The code was created in the 18th century B.C. These laws were created under the reign of the Babylonian king, Hammurabi. The code specified almost three hundred laws and punishments for when those laws were broken. Many of the punishments are very harsh compared to today's standards. For example, under the code, if someone made an accusation but could not prove it, they would be killed. The laws are carved on a tall stone in script called cuneiform. Carving the laws in stone was important to show that some laws could not be changed by the king's whim. They were, as we still say, "written in stone." The code was displayed in public so that anyone who could read would know the law. This stone was discovered in the early 20th century in what is now Iran. It is on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.


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