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Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi was a comprehensive set of laws, considered by many scholars to be the oldest laws established; they were handed down four thousand years ago by King Hammurabi of Babylon.

This stele shows King Hammurabi (c. 1780 B.C.) standing before Shamash, a Sumerian sun god associated with justice. The law code is set out in cuneiform writing below the figures.

Although the Code of Hammurabi was essentially humanitarian in its intent and orientation, it contained the "eye for an eye" theory of punishment, which is a barbarian application of the concept of making the punishment fit the crime. The Code of Hammurabi recognized such modern concepts as that of corporate personality.

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