Answers to the discussion questions, and a grading rubric:
Using the Code of Hammurabi, respond to the following questions.
1. Identify three laws in which the main idea relates to economics. Describe the economic
significance of each law.
LAW ECONOMIC ACTIVITY/SIGNIFICANCE
Indicates the prevalence of agriculture in this society, and that damage to one
55 person's property caused by another person's negligence (for example, flooding a
neighbor's field) must be compensated.
Indicates that herding and raising animals were prevalent enough to be addressed in
57 the Code, and that grazing arrangements with neighbors were expected or
compensation would be required.
Law 59 is another example of the type of economic activity that took place during the
59 time of Hammurabi. Orchards were a source of income, and a person who damaged
an orchard had to compensate the owner of the orchard.
2. What can you infer from the Code about the key economic interactions during this period? Use
specifics from the laws in your response.
Several answers are appropriate, as long as the student makes references to specific laws. Economic
interactions can be found in several laws that relate to agriculture and raising animals, as well as to
merchants and the economics of marriage. A student could focus on one area or a combination.
3. Locate laws that indicate that society during the time of Hammurabi was hierarchical. Note the
law number and explain how the law indicates a hierarchical society.
LAW INDICATION OF HIERARCHY
This law shows that the punishment for stealing goods from a Temple or Palace
carried a harsher punishment than thefts from other places. This indicates a
hierarchical society, and that religion and government held a higher place in society
than commerce or farming, for example.
This law (and others) indicate that slavery was prevalent to the degree that it was
17 addressed in the Code. The existence of slavery indicates a hierarchical society,
where slaves were certainly at the bottom of that hierarchy.
Clearly, fathers and sons were not equal in this society. This law states that if a son
195 hits his father, the son would have his hands cut off. No reciprocal law is known to
exist respecting a father's mistreatment of his son.
4. Identify three laws in which there is a relationship between punishment and social class.
LAW PUNISHMENT-SOCIAL CLASS CONNECTION
These two laws provide different punishments for the same action. Physical harm
198/199 done to a freed man is punished with a higher fine than for physical harm done to
If a slave strikes a freed man, the slave will have his ear cut off. The punishment
for the slave is greater than the punishment of a freed man for the same offense.
Other laws indicate that the worst that could happen to a freed man who hit a
slave is a monetary fine paid to the owner of the slave.
5. Identify three laws influenced by gender. Suggest how the consequences were affected by
LAW INFLUENCE OF GENDER
These laws put the burden of proof on the wife, and there are no reciprocal laws
This law states that women alone are punished for not producing children in a
6. Select four laws (not previously addressed) and translate them into language that could easily
be understood in today's society.
127 If you make false claims, you will be punished.
7. Identify any patterns as you read the laws in the Code. What conclusions can be drawn from
Answers will vary, but should indicate an understanding of patterns in the Law by grouping related laws and
drawing conclusions based on the evidence. For example, a student could infer that the laws address issues
that are most common during this era. Additionally, students could include topics that repeatedly or often
surface in the Code; for example, issues related to marriage, dowry, inheritance, slaves, violence, and
8. Suggest problems with the Code of Hammurabi.
Answers will vary, but should address that many of the punishments could not be reversed and might be too
easily meted out. Additionally, students should discuss the difference in punishment based on social class
9. In 8 to 10 sentences, respond to the following question:
Relate the Code of Hammurabi to today's society and hypothesize if this type of system of laws
could be effective or not effective.
Answers will vary, but should include the effectiveness of punishment as a deterrent, the role of juries,
ability to appeal court decisions, and the tolerance of discriminatory laws.
Advanced Proficient Progressing Beginning
Responses are Responses are
Responses are Incomplete
thorough and thorough and
Quality of perfunctory, and responses with
thoughtful and thoughtful but
Written there are many many
have no have some
Response grammatical grammatical
There are no
Documents are signs of
Analysis of analyzed in an Analysis reveals thoughtful
Document insightful and little insight. analysis of
complex manner. documents in
Prior historical No prior historical
Use of Prior historical Little historical
knowledge is used knowledge is
Historical knowledge is used knowledge is used
effectively to used in
Context in the analysis. in responses.
develop analysis. responses.
How to cite this document:
To cite this document, World Book recommends the following format:
Code of Hammurabi. World Book Advanced. Web. 22 June 2012.