HIS World Civilization Discussions

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Topic 1: Law Code of Hammurabi

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The code was written by King Hammurabi around 1750 BCE, a time when civilization was growing and changing rapidly (Jarus, 2022). A civilization under this dynamic prompted leaders who oversee these citizens, needed to take specific measures that would maintain peace and order in their community. Thus, the creation and implementation of the code of Hammurabi and its 282 laws.

 

The code and its laws were written in a cause-effect format. Each law was written in such a way that it gave clear description on the consequences that would happen should certain applicable acts and events take place and/or are committed. To point out, this format is also what this code is known for, “an eye for an eye”. The laws written in this code pioneered the concepts of being “guilty until proven innocent” and “retaliatory justice” (Andrews, 2018), which are still being used in modern law. Taking this concept into consideration, it made sense why the first few laws discussed the consequences of false accusation and the inability to prove a crime. If the claim cannot be proven or is proven to be false, then the punishment cannot take place. The rest of the laws went into specific punishments against known crimes such as theft, adultery, murder, etc.

 

One of the major concerns in these laws were how most of the punishments in them result to harsh penalties that inflict physical damage to the convicted, with some laws going straight for the extreme punishment of death. The harshness  of the punishments implies how these laws were made to ensure that its citizens would follow it, even if it meant that they follow them out of fear. Laws were supposedly made to maintain peace and order, but these laws seemed to have been made to benefit people who belong in a better half of the society than the other.

 

Sources:

 

Jarus, O. (2022).  Code of hammurabi: Ancient babylonian laws. Live Science.  https://www.livescience.com/39393-code-of-hammurabi.html

 

Andrews, E. (2018).  8 things you may know know about hammurabi’s code. History.  https://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-hammurabis-code

Reply to Thread

 

 

Hammurabi the king and ruler of Babylon, he started his rain in 1792 BC ruling for 43 years. Some may call Hammurabi the founder of rules due to his idea of bringing most of the cities of Mesopotamia under one law with one set of rules being his. This can definitely be seen as a positive thing seeing as how before that each of the cities had their own set of rules and laws that people would unconsciously break and get in trouble for just for simply not knowing they even existed. Hammurabi created the Hammurabi’s code which were a set of laws adding up to a total of 282 and was written on an 8 foot stone stab. The main idea of the stone stab was to make sure everyone knew what the laws were and what the punishment for breaking them would be.

How is the Code organized?

The Code was organized by individual rights, property rights, trade, family offenses, and labor matters.

Why do you think some laws are first?

Thinking back to the stone stab, I would presume it’d only makes sense to put the most important laws first due to perhaps people not reading the full thing or getting lost in the middle somewhere. If the more important laws are places first they can be easier to see by the eye and therefor remembered more often making it more than likely not broken as likely as other laws.

What do the laws tell you about the nature of early urban life?

The laws tell me that urban life was still underdeveloped yet at the same time shows proof of evolving. To explain, there were a lot of laws that were unjust, and the whole “eye for an eye” being taken very much literally makes it that much worse. Sure that can work, but in very few cases would that be helpful because now a lot of innocent people are being taken advantage of and one is too many as is. Now going on to the  evolving point, these set of laws had the right idea when they were founded, they wanted to bring everyone together under one set of rules that sets aside all confusion and excuses of crimes, In return you get a more structured and all in all successful society. Later on they do develop into laws we see today and become the “founding idea” if you will.

What seem to be major concerns?

Once again the major concern I saw was the eye for an eye part of the structure of the law being taken literal. The example of used of the house that the builder built getting destroyed and killing the son of the home owner due to supposed unproven a job done incorrectly therefor giving the homeowner permission to kill the builder’s son is a perfect example of my point. No where in that story is there any justice for anyone, all this does is kill off a young kid’s future that has done nothing wrong his whole life over an angry, lost, unrational decision of a father who lost his son.

Do the laws seem just? Why or why not?

A simple answer to this is no, at least in today’s society’s standards. However if we truly give it a moment’s thought and think about how the lifestyle was in the urban life, these set of laws and rules were as just as they could of been. It was definitely and improvement of the chaos spread among the people and the confusion that was there none stop, these laws helped bring order and a decent amount of justice. One can even say they had their heart in the right place but could not yet bring them to their full potential.

 

Topic 2: Classical Greece

 

Classical Greece

Who do you think were the intended audiences of Pericles’ Funeral Oration and Xenophon’s description of the Spartan state?

Xenophon’s portrayal of the Spartan state and Pericles’ Funeral Oration may have been intended for two different audiences. The Athenians heard Pericles’ Funeral Oration amid the Peloponnesian War to honor the dead soldiers and feel pride in their democratic government (Fordham University, 2019a). In contrast, Xenophon, an Athenian military historian, commended the Spartan administration and military training system in his book The Polity of the Spartans.

How might their purpose and intended audience affect their tone?

The tone of each exertion may have been altered by the context in which it was made. The purpose of Pericles’ speech was to build enthusiasm and instill trust in Athenian democracy. Therefore, he focused on the positive aspects of Athenian society while glossing over its flaws. However, the work of Xenophon was written in praise of the Spartan system, and as such, it gave a favorable portrayal of Spartan culture and administration.

Can we take these accounts at face value? Why or why not?

Since both books were written several decades after the events discussed, they might have been influenced by prejudices and contain inaccuracies. Though they shed light on the worldviews of ancient Athenians and Spartans, they should not be accepted as accounts of face value (Fordham University, 2019b). Additional analysis and research of many primary and secondary sources are required to grasp the represented civilizations.

What else would you like to know from the author?

Additionally, I would like to hear from the documents authors about their inspirations for composing the works, where they found their material, and how much governmental, social, and cultural issues of the present day played a role in shaping the content of their writing. The author’s biographies, histories, and cultural settings are all things I am curious about learning more about.

References

Fordham University. (2019a).  Thucydides (c.460/455-c.399 BCE): Pericles’ Funeral Oration from the Peloponnesian War (Book 2.34-46). Fordham.edu; Paul Halsall.  https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/pericles-funeralspeech.asp

Fordham University. (2019b).  Xenophon (c.428-c.354 BCE): The Polity of the Spartans, c. 375 BCE. Fordham.edu; Paul Halsall.  https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/xeno-sparta1.asp

 

 

Who do you think were the intended audiences of Pericles’ Funeral Oration and Xenophon’s description of the Spartan state?

I believe that Pericle’s Funeral Oration was intended not only for the family members who had lost a loved one on the battlefield, but also for the entire state to hear. It is a mourning speech to pay respect to the ones who have died for the people. This speech goes on the lift up the spirits and motivate the troops that still have to go into battle. Pericles goes on to say that the lives of these men will not be taking in vain and that comfort is needed, not condolences. Xenophon’s description of the spartan state was designed to inform any type of audience that wanted to learn about how Lycurgos raised and trained the spartan men. This passage goes on to explain what an average life would look like in order for a spartan boy to earn his rite of passage into adulthood.

 

How might their purpose and intended audience affect their tone?

Since Pericles knew that he would be talking to people that were sad and mourning, I believe that he delivered this speech with a more comfort but still passionate tone. He had to let the audience know that he cared but he also wanted to motivate them. Xenophon’s tone was more of a neutral and informative tone. This passage was not a speech or sermon, this passage was just more of an informative article.

 

Can we take these accounts at face value? Why or why not?

Since none of us were there during this time, I don’t think that we can these accounts at face value. The truth is that we can only assume from what we read and I don’t believe that is enough.

 

What else would you like to know from the author?

I would like to know what their thoughts are on all of this. Do they feel the same way? Would they have answered these discussion questions the same way I did?

 

References:

Reilly, K. (2022). The Human Journey: A Concise Introduction to World History, Prehistory to 1450 (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Thucydides (c.460/455-c.399 BCE): Pericles’ Funeral Oration from the Peloponnesian War (c. 430 BCE) –  http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/ancient/pericles-funeralspeech.asp

Xenophon (c.428-c.354 BCE): The Polity of the Spartans, c. 375 BCE –  http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/ancient/xeno-sparta1.asp

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