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The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets.
Nearly one-half of the Code deals with matters of contract, establishing, for example, the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, establishing the liability of a builder for a house that collapses, for example, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another.
A third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family relationships such as inheritance, divorce, paternity and sexual behavior. Only one provision appears to impose obligations on an official; this provision establishes that a judge who reaches an incorrect decision is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently. A handful of provisions address issues related to military service.
1. If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.
3. If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.
4. If he satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive the fine that the action produces.
14. If any one steal the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.
21. If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.
22. If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.
151. 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 therefor: if that man, before he married that woman, had a debt, the creditor can not hold the woman for it. But if the woman, before she entered the man's house, had contracted a debt, her creditor can not arrest her husband therefor.
Draco (/ˈdreɪkoʊ/; Greek: Δράκων, Drakōn) (circa 7th century BC) was the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece. He replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood feud by a written code to be enforced only by a court. Known for its harshness, draconian has come to refer to similarly unforgiving rules or laws.
Whether or not it was intentional, when Draco codified the laws, it brought to public attention Athens' outrageous and archaic penalties. Part of the excess was Draco himself.
The story goes that when asked about the harshness of his punishments, Draco said the death penalty was appropriate for stealing even so much as a cabbage. If there had been a worse penalty than death, Draco would gladly have applied it to greater crimes.
As a result of Draco's strict, unforgiving code, the adjective based on the name Draco -- draconian -- refers to penalties considered excessively severe.
"And Draco himself, they say, being asked why he made death the penalty for most offences, replied that in his opinion the lesser ones deserved it, and for the greater ones no heavier penalty could be found."
The constitution featured several major innovations:
Instead of oral laws known to a special class, arbitrarily applied and interpreted, all laws were written, thus made known to all literate citizens (who could make appeal to the Areopagus for injustices): "... the constitution formed under Draco, when the first code of laws was drawn up."
The son of this Alcmaeonides was called Megacles. During the days when Megacles was foremost of the nobility occurred the first effort to turn Athens from an oligarchy to a tyranny. In the year 610 B.C. a young nobleman named Cylon called all the people to aid him in overthrowing the rule of the nobles. The revolt failed; Cylon escaped in secret, and his followers clung to the shrines of the gods for protection. They were deliberately torn thence and murdered by command of Megacles. Because of this insult to the gods, the entire family of Megacles, the Alcmaeonidae, were thereafter regarded as accursed.
Even before this outbreak, the nobles had agreed that somewhat more consideration must be shown to the common folk. The rulers decided that all the cruel laws they had passed whenever the impulse seized them should be arranged in a single plainly stated system; thus, at least, the nobles could no longer twist the laws as they willed; and a poor man might know what the law really was, and so avoid breaking it unconsciously. The man who was summoned thus to "codify" the laws was Draco. So severe were many of the old half-forgotten laws that when they were all thus clearly set forth, men were horrified at their severity. Death was made the penalty for every tiny crime, even the stealing of an apple from an orchard. Draco is said to have declared that the smallest crime deserved death, and that he knew of no severer penalty to attach to greater crimes. Of this grim code of laws men said that they were "written in blood," and the word "draconian" remains in use today as signifying a rule unflinchingly severe.
The laws of Draco did not quiet the tumults in Athens. The friends of Cylon continued to aid the common people, especially in their protests against the "accursed Alcmaeonidae." Supernatural portents were said to betoken the anger of the gods, and threatening ghosts appeared. Disasters overtook the Athenians in a war with the city of Megara. Finally, the Alcmaeonidae were banished in a body. Even the bones of their dead ancestors were exhumed and sent from the country with solemn formalities to avert the wrath of the gods. At the same time another lawmaker, Solon, was authorized to prepare a new set of laws relieving the misery of the poorer classes.
Solon (/ˈsoʊlɒn/ or /ˈsoʊlən/; Ancient Greek: Σόλων, c. 638 BC – 558 BC) was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic, and moral decline in archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet he is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy.
During Solon's time, many Greek city-states had seen the emergence of tyrants, opportunistic noblemen who had grabbed power on behalf of sectional interests. In Sicyon, Cleisthenes had usurped power on behalf of an Ionian minority.
There is consensus among scholars that Solon broadened the financial and social qualifications required for election to public office. The Solonian constitution divided citizens into four political classes defined according to assessable property a classification that might previously have served the state for military or taxation purposes only. The standard unit for this assessment was one medimnos (approximately 12 gallons) of cereals and yet the kind of classification set out below might be considered too simplistic to be historically accurate.
The Areopagus, as viewed from the Acropolis, is a monolith where Athenian aristocrats decided important matters of state during Solon's time.
valued at 500 medimnoi of cereals annually.
eligible to serve as Strategoi (Generals or military governors)
valued at 300 medimnoi production annually.
approximating to the medieval class of knights, they had enough wealth to equip themselves for the Cavalry
valued at a 200 medimnoi production annually.
approximating to the mediaeval class of Yeoman, they had enough wealth to equip themselves for the infantry (Hoplite)
valued 199 medimnoi annually or less
manual workers or sharecroppers, they served voluntarily in the role of batman, or as auxiliaries armed for instance with the sling or as rowers in the Navy.
Two contemporary historians have identified three distinct historical accounts of Solon's Athens, emphasizing quite different rivalries: economic and ideological rivalry, regional rivalry and rivalry between aristocratic clans
"...there was conflict between the nobles and the common people for an extended period. For the constitution they were under was oligarchic in every respect and especially in that the poor, along with their wives and children, were in slavery to the rich...All the land was in the hands of a few. And if men did not pay their rents, they themselves and their children were liable to be seized as slaves. The security for all loans was the debtor's person up to the time of Solon. He was the first people's champion."
Eventually creating democracy and probably the most influential Empire the world has ever seen. There are plenty of threads on the fall of Rome.reply to post by boncho
Okay,I'm confused now. You start off talking about Greece and they're system,then switch to the fall of Rome?? Did I miss something?
This document was as important for that region of Africa as the Magna Carta for Western Europe and from at about the same-time,the Kouroukan Fouga however was formally in oral tradition and then codified in about 1236 the same time of the Magna Carta in 1215, most people would have recognized the Magna Carta as having a great impact on the eventual idea that Man is a free being with formal representation in governing counsel , that idea would take centuries to realize off- course and many found it as a precursor to the US constitution and the parliamentary system in Britain, In the Malian empire a similar document was being put into place.