Hammurabis Code and the Babylonian Economy

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The portrait of the earliest civilizations is often embedded in the earliest historical relics. Hammurabi's Code, regarded as the earliest set of law established by mankind, becomes a living description of Babylon in the 1780 BC. This set of law does not only give us a glimpse of their early judicial system but reveals other significant social aspects, most notably its economic condition.


The Code showed the importance of agriculture as the major livelihood of the citizens. It should be noted that various laws mention major crops such as corn, grains, and wool. The heavy punishment to be administered to anyone stealing and causing poor harvest indicates the importance of these commodities. It is also notable that the agricultural economy of Babylon is supported by quite complicated infrastructures to ensure a good harvest. The Hammurabi's Code mentions the presence of dams and dikes which prevents flooding agricultural areas.
Animal husbandry is another major livelihood during the Babylonian Empire. It should be noted that the Code set out provisions regarding the robbery of major livestock. Within that civilization, it is remarkable how the citizens were able to raise a number of animals such as cattle, sheep, ass, pig, or goat. The importance of animal husbandry in the economy cannot be overestimated. For an individual steal any of the aforementioned animals and has nothing to pay for it, he will need to give his life as a payment.
Though the above two industries represents the two major activities in the Babylonian economy, it should be noted that the civilization also features extensive trading network, ...
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