Hammurabi Letter

History Pd. 6


Dear Father,

This is your son, Bonswaga. As you know, I am now settled in Mesopotamia. Hammurabi, the leader here, has made certain laws and rules to follow by, along with severe consequences. This is what I wanted to write to you about. There may be simple laws, and if you do not follow them, there are severe consequences, for example, just to tell if one is innocent or guilty, you must lick a smoldering hot iron spoon!

One law has to do with stealing animals and I quote, “If a man has stolen an ox, a sheep, a pig, or a boat that belonged to a temple or palace, he shall repay thirty times its cost. If it belonged to a private citizen, he shall repay ten times. If the thief cannot pay, he shall be put to death.” Now, to me, that is a very serious consequence.

Another law says, “ If a woman hates her husband and says to him, “You cannot be with me,” the authorities in her district will investigate the case. If she has been chaste and without fault, even though her husband has neglected or belittled her, she will be held innocent and may return to her father’s house… if the woman is at fault, she shall be thrown into the river.” To me, just for not wanting to be with someone, one should not be thrown into the river for such an insignificant thing!

I may wish to come back in the next few months or so, especially if it gets too strict around here. In fact, I am not sure if I am allowed to even write this letter, I might get my fingers chopped off or something, so I must end this letter now.

Your son,