Hammurabi First Class
Ø The law seems to recognize three, defined as
§ Free born
Ø The Britannica article recognizes three, defined as
§ Amelu: Patrician? Includes artisans
§ Muskinu: Landless man?
§ Ardu: Slave
Ø The Britannica isn¹t limited to the code‹lots of other surviving material.
v Making sense of quantities, prices, etc.
§ Different units
· Gur of corn
· Ka of corn
§ Units of weight used as money
· Mina of gold
· Mina of silver
· Mina of money???
· Shekel, Gerah similarly
§ Web search which tells us
· Mina about a pound‹surviving weights!
· 60 shekels to the mina
· 20 Gerah to the shekel, at least in Israel
· gur = aprox 300 liters
· sar = 36 square meters
· gold about 12 times the value of silver by weight
§ Internal consistency
· Some wages are given in gur of corn/year, some in gerah/day
¨ So you can calculate a conversion between them
¨ Assuming how many days people work
¨ And from that to shekels
· Hire of oxen, cart and driver is 180 ka of corn/day
¨ Ox for threshing 20 ka
¨ cart alone is 40 ka
¨ so driver is 100 ka/day
Ø if we assume two oxen
Ø and assume that oxen for threshing cost the same rental as oxen to draw a cart‹which may be wrong
¨ 60 ka/day if four oxen, other assumptions the same
¨ which should be around 60-100 shekels/year, the ordinary wage rate suggested from other sources
· fines in mina and closely related fines in shekels
¨ striking the body of another
Ø 1 gold mina for freeborn striking body of another free born of equal rank
Ø 10 shekels if freed man strikes the body of another freed man
Ø so shekel must be gold shekel, makes it 1/3 instead of 1/36 the amount.
¨ Strike a woman, she loses the child
Ø 10 shekels if a free born woman
Ø 5 shekels if freed
· fines in mina of gold and closely related fines in mina
¨ Accidental death from injury in a quarrel, free born, 1/2 mina
¨ Putting out the eye of a freed man, 1 gold mina
¨ Suggests that ³mina² means gold
¨ Goring ox kills a free born man, 1/2 mina in money
¨ Suggests that that also means gold.
· Mina is always gold unless specified as silver
· Ditto for shekel
§ 1 calculation suggests 60-100 shekels/year, but Š
§ A boat with displacement of 20 tons only two shekels to build?
§ Hire of a boat about a shekel a week!
§ Serious injury (eye or fracture) of a freed man 60 shekels‹fits.
§ Negligently killing a free born man, 30 shekels‹too low.
§ Strikes a woman, she loses her child, 5-10 shekels.
§ If she dies, 20-30 shekels
§ Physician heals a fracture, 2-5 shekels, operation 2-10 shekels
· Depending on rank of patient
· Risk of losing his hands if he kills or blinds the patient
· Or having to replace patient if a slave (or half if lost an eye)
Ø Value of life
§ For upper class, eye for an eye for serious offenses
§ Fines start at 1 mina for freed, 1/2 mina for free born woman
v Analyzing the code
Ø Sort it into criminal, tort, property, family, etc.
Ø Try to make sense of each
Ø Recognizing that our classification may not fit theirs very well.
Ø Death penalty for lots of things
§ Ensnare but not proof‹some sort of false accusation
§ Bring a capital accusation but not prove it
§ Steal the property of temple or court‹or receive the stolen property
· But steal cattle, sheep, ass, pig or goat
¨ from god or court, pay thirty fold
¨ ten fold if a freed man of the king (?)
¨ death if he can¹t pay
§ merchant who sells stolen property
§ or possessor if he can¹t prove he bought it from a merchant
§ or putative owner, if he can¹t prove he owned it!
§ Buying something from someone¹s son or slave without witness or contract, a thief, capital
§ Stealing a minor son
§ Taking someone else¹s slave (court or freed man) outside the city gates
§ Harboring such a slave
§ Breaking into a house
§ Caught committing a robbery.
Ø Trial by ordeal‹leap into the river.
Ø Accuser gets the fine!
Ø Judge who is culpably wrong pays 12 times the fine, is fired