It is not likely that Hammurabi was a grand jurist creating laws then and there, but instead a realist who aimed to document the judicial traditions of his time. Injured parties expected to be retaliated;…
he following rules might broadly be challenged these days but their legitimacy in the distant past was considered as obvious (The Code of Hammurabi, 2010): (1) the sexuality of women should be given up to guarantee legality; (2) the assets of the family should be managed by the male members; and (3) women, particularly divorcees and widows needed the help of society (http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM).
Most women were supposed to marry and raise a family. A reasonable set of love poems would indicate that women did enjoy some authority, but marriage, theoretically, was fixed by their brothers or fathers. As stated in the Hammurabi Code, an agreement was required to perform a marriage. According to the few that exist, the agreements stated primarily what would occur if the matrimony ended through abandonment or divorce, or death, but other passages might let off each from the prenuptial obligations of the other or even oblige the bride to work as a slave to her husband’s mother (Meyers, 1991). The major article to be discussed was the amount of the bride price:
If a woman who lived in a man’s house made an agreement with her husband, that no creditor can arrest her, and has given a document therefore: if that man, before he married that woman, has a debt, the creditor cannot hold the woman for it. But if the woman, before she entered the man’s house, had contracted a debt, her creditor cannot arrest her husband therefore (151).
It is well-known that unsophisticated societies made use of bride price to pay off the family of the bride for labor loss and Israelite culture limited it to a symbolic amount as a sign of engagement. The bride price in Babylonia constantly became piece of the dowry (Meyer, 1991). The bride price, depending on socioeconomic standing, could embody a considerable wealth transfer, possibly several hectares of land and house—however, at the lower socioeconomic hierarchy it might have been little more than a piece of home decoration ...
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