All societies today follow strict rules of conduct to regulate society. These rules of conduct are known as laws. If we did not have these laws, the world would have no order what so ever. We, as Americans, follow our law system very law closely. If an American citizen were to break the law, they would be punished. Depending on the severity of the crime, the person might get a simple slap on the hand, pay a small or large fine, or possibly be thrown in jail. If the crime that the person commits involves killing another person, they might possibly be put to death themselves. Other societies throughout the world follow their own unique law systems. Although the law systems in different societies are unique to their own culture, they are very closely knit because they all share the same purpose. Two of the earliest and most successful written laws are the Code of Hammurabi from the Mesopotamian period and the Twelve Tables of Law from the Roman Republic era. Without these two previous written codes of law, our law systems today might have been completely altered.
The Code of Hammurabi and the Twelve Tables of Law have not been around forever. The Code of Hammurabi dates back to around 1770 BCE. Hammurabi became ruler of a city-state known as Babylon, which, at the time, did not have much power. Hammurabi, with the help of his military, brought “all Babylonia, and some regions beyond, under the control of the city of Babylon” (Saggs 39). After gaining much power and land, Hammurabi decided to construct a written code of laws to regulate his society. It is said that Hammurabi did not create the laws himself; he received the laws from the sun god, Shamash. His main goals for his code of laws was to “make justice visible to the land, to destroy the wicked person and the evil-doer, and the strong might not injure the weak” (Saggs 137). The Twelve Tables were constructed around 450 BC, much later than the Code of Hammurabi.