CLIO 7 (1) - page 16

individual laws has nearly sextupled, from 57 to 282.
Also known as lex talionis (literally ‘the law of retal-
iation’) or ‘an eye for an eye’, though that particu-
lar law is only genuine with law #196, the system
partially maintains the objective of Ur-Nammu,
though introducing a more savage approach. Out
of the 282 laws, 33 demand the execution of the
culprit, many being disproportionate to the crime
being committed. However, as implied by the very
first commandment, guilt is not assumed, follow-
ing the presumption of innocence, a moral theo-
ry merely implies by the preceding constitution.
Other laws cover more particular topics, such as
the mechanism and inheritance of agriculture and
slavery or intricate degrees of family and incest,
but the general pattern of this early code of law is
a vehement (if basic) pursuit for fairness and total
equality. Under the general precedent of innocence
before guilt, the Code punishes those who would
cause harm on others both physically and mentally
in a commensurate manner to their offence, fulfill-
ing a blanket concern for collective and individual
well-being of the people which implies an appre-
ciation from governmental forces of human wants
and rights. Though quite promising by itself, both
class disparity and interpretation of punishment
severely warp the regulations to make them appear
otherwise callous, such as the apparent fixation of
Babylonian society with putting convicts to death.
Whereas a free man would pay 1 gold mina after
striking a man of similar rank, the striking of a supe-
rior would result in a public whipping. Nevertheless,
we can see that benign intent has been integrated
into the previously obstinate form of codified law,
an accommodating structure Ur-Nammu forwent,
exhibiting an emerging sense of ethic-legislative
integration. Perhaps, following the other social dy-
namics, the law could focus less on its preservation,
and more on enhancing and augmenting a human
aspect of itself, an idea reminiscent of where we
began in the Palaeolithic era, though this time was
begot by a communal want for equality, rather than
the need for it. Law with a human face, if you will.
Although each example evinces the distinct
effect a single dynamic shift can have on regulation
in a social structure, a general extrapolation can
be determined as a whole. Seemingly, the more a
Map of Ancient Mesopotamia, circa 2500 BC, encompassing land in modern-dayWest Asia
1...,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,...64
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