Hammurabi First Class

v     Classes

Ø     The law seems to recognize three, defined as

§        Free born

§        Freed

§        Slave

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.

Ø     Problems

§        Different units

·        Mina

·        Shekels

·        Gerah

·        Gur of corn

·        Ka of corn

§        Units of weight used as money

·        Mina of gold

·        Mina of silver

·        Mina of money???

·        Mina

·        Shekel, Gerah similarly

Ø     Solutions:

§        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.

§        Conclusion:

·        Mina is always gold unless specified as silver

·        Ditto for shekel

Ø     Wages?

§        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.

v     Criminal

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