Ancient Babylonia - The Code of Hammurapi
HAMMURAPI'S CODE OF LAWS
Translated by L. W. King
With commentary from Charles F. Horne, Ph.D. (1915)
The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910
by the Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, M.A. Litt.D.
Part 1 – The Introduction
Part 2 – The Code of Laws
Part 3 - The Epilogue Laws
Part 2 - CODE OF LAWS
- 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.
- If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river
and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take
possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and
he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death,
while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had
belonged to his accuser.
- 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
- If he satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive
the fine that the action produces.
- If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing;
if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault,
then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be
publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to
- If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to
death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to
- If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or
a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass
or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be
put to death.
- If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong
to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold therefor; if they
belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing
with which to pay he shall be put to death.
- If any one lose an article, and find it in the possession of another: if the
person in whose possession the thing is found say "A merchant sold it to me, I
paid for it before witnesses," and if the owner of the thing say, "I will bring
witnesses who know my property," then shall the purchaser bring the merchant
who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner
shall bring witnesses who can identify his property. The judge shall examine
their testimony--both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the
witnesses who identify the lost article on oath. The merchant is then proved to
be a thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost article receives
his property, and he who bought it receives the money he paid from the estate of
- If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the witnesses before whom he
bought the article, but its owner bring witnesses who identify it, then the
buyer is the thief and shall be put to death, and the owner receives the lost
- If the owner do not bring witnesses to identify the lost article, he is an
evil-doer, he has traduced, and shall be put to death.
- If the witnesses be not at hand, then shall the judge set a limit, at the
expiration of six months. If his witnesses have not appeared within the six
months, he is an evil-doer, and shall bear the fine of the pending case.
[editor's note: there is no 13th law in the code, 13 being considered and
unlucky and evil number]
14. If any one steal the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.
15. If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female
slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.
16. If any one receive into his house a runaway male or female slave of the
court, or of a freedman, and does not bring it out at the public proclamation of
the major domus, the master of the house shall be put to death.
17. If any one find runaway male or female slaves in the open country and
bring them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of
18. If the slave will not give the name of the master, the finder shall bring
him to the palace; a further investigation must follow, and the slave shall be
returned to his master.
19. If he hold the slaves in his house, and they are caught there, he shall be
put to death.
20. If the slave that he caught run away from him, then shall he swear to the
owners of the slave, and he is free of all blame.
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
23. If the robber is not caught, then shall he who was robbed claim under oath
the amount of his loss; then shall the community, and . . . on whose ground
and territory and in whose domain it was compensate him for the goods stolen.
24. If persons are stolen, then shall the community and . . . pay one mina of
silver to their relatives.
25. If fire break out in a house, and some one who comes to put it out cast
his eye upon the property of the owner of the house, and take the property of the
master of the house, he shall be thrown into that self-same fire.
26. If a chieftain or a man (common soldier), who has been ordered to go upon
the king's highway for war does not go, but hires a mercenary, if he withholds
the compensation, then shall this officer or man be put to death, and he who
represented him shall take possession of his house.
27. If a chieftain or man be caught in the misfortune of the king (captured in
battle), and if his fields and garden be given to another and he take
possession, if he return and reaches his place, his field and garden shall be returned
to him, he shall take it over again.
28. If a chieftain or a man be caught in the misfortune of a king, if his son
is able to enter into possession, then the field and garden shall be given to
him, he shall take over the fee of his father.
29. If his son is still young, and can not take possession, a third of the
field and garden shall be given to his mother, and she shall bring him up.
30. If a chieftain or a man leave his house, garden, and field and hires it
out, and some one else takes possession of his house, garden, and field and uses
it for three years: if the first owner return and claims his house, garden, and
field, it shall not be given to him, but he who has taken possession of it and
used it shall continue to use it.
31. If he hire it out for one year and then return, the house, garden, and
field shall be given back to him, and he shall take it over again.
32. If a chieftain or a man is captured on the "Way of the King" (in war), and
a merchant buy him free, and bring him back to his place; if he have the means
in his house to buy his freedom, he shall buy himself free: if he have nothing
in his house with which to buy himself free, he shall be bought free by the
temple of his community; if there be nothing in the temple with which to buy him
free, the court shall buy his freedom. His field, garden, and house shall not
be given for the purchase of his freedom.
33. If a . . . or a . . . enter himself as withdrawn from the "Way of the
King," and send a mercenary as substitute, but withdraw him, then the . . . or . .
. shall be put to death.
34. If a . . . or a . . . harm the property of a captain, injure the captain,
or take away from the captain a gift presented to him by the king, then the . .
. or . . . shall be put to death.
35. If any one buy the cattle or sheep which the king has given to chieftains
from him, he loses his money.
36. The field, garden, and house of a chieftain, of a man, or of one subject
to quit-rent, can not be sold.
37. If any one buy the field, garden, and house of a chieftain, man, or one
subject to quit-rent, his contract tablet of sale shall be broken (declared
invalid) and he loses his money. The field, garden, and house return to their
38. A chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent can not assign his tenure of
field, house, and garden to his wife or daughter, nor can he assign it for a
39. He may, however, assign a field, garden, or house which he has bought, and
holds as property, to his wife or daughter or give it for debt.
40. He may sell field, garden, and house to a merchant (royal agents) or to
any other public official, the buyer holding field, house, and garden for its
41. If any one fence in the field, garden, and house of a chieftain, man, or
one subject to quit-rent, furnishing the palings therefor; if the chieftain,
man, or one subject to quit-rent return to field, garden, and house, the palings
which were given to him become his property.
42. If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom,
it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain,
just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field.
43. If he do not till the field, but let it lie fallow, he shall give grain
like his neighbor's to the owner of the field, and the field which he let lie
fallow he must plow and sow and return to its owner.
44. If any one take over a waste-lying field to make it arable, but is lazy,
and does not make it arable, he shall plow the fallow field in the fourth year,
harrow it and till it, and give it back to its owner, and for each ten gan (a
measure of area) ten gur of grain shall be paid.
45. If a man rent his field for tillage for a fixed rental, and receive the
rent of his field, but bad weather come and destroy the harvest, the injury falls
upon the tiller of the soil.
46. If he do not receive a fixed rental for his field, but lets it on half or
third shares of the harvest, the grain on the field shall be divided
proportionately between the tiller and the owner.
47. If the tiller, because he did not succeed in the first year, has had the
soil tilled by others, the owner may raise no objection; the field has been
cultivated and he receives the harvest according to agreement.
48. If any one owe a debt for a loan, and a storm prostrates the grain, or the
harvest fail, or the grain does not grow for lack of water; in that year he
need not give his creditor any grain, he washes his debt-tablet in water and pays
no rent for this year.
49. If any one take money from a merchant, and give the merchant a field
tillable for corn or sesame and order him to plant corn or sesame in the field, and
to harvest the crop; if the cultivator plant corn or sesame in the field, at
the harvest the corn or sesame that is in the field shall belong to the owner of
the field and he shall pay corn as rent, for the money he received from the
merchant, and the livelihood of the cultivator shall he give to the merchant.
50. If he give a cultivated corn-field or a cultivated sesame-field, the corn
or sesame in the field shall belong to the owner of the field, and he shall
return the money to the merchant as rent.
51. If he have no money to repay, then he shall pay in corn or sesame in place
of the money as rent for what he received from the merchant, according to the
52. If the cultivator do not plant corn or sesame in the field, the debtor's
contract is not weakened.
53. If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper condition, and does not
so keep it; if then the dam break and all the fields be flooded, then shall he
in whose dam the break occurred be sold for money, and the money shall replace
the corn which he has caused to be ruined.
54. If he be not able to replace the corn, then he and his possessions shall
be divided among the farmers whose corn he has flooded.
55. If any one open his ditches to water his crop, but is careless, and the
water flood the field of his neighbor, then he shall pay his neighbor corn for
56. If a man let in the water, and the water overflow the plantation of his
neighbor, he shall pay ten gur of corn for every ten gan of land.
57. If a shepherd, without the permission of the owner of the field, and
without the knowledge of the owner of the sheep, lets the sheep into a field to
graze, then the owner of the field shall harvest his crop, and the shepherd, who
had pastured his flock there without permission of the owner of the field, shall
pay to the owner twenty gur of corn for every ten gan.
58. If after the flocks have left the pasture and been shut up in the common
fold at the city gate, any shepherd let them into a field and they graze there,
this shepherd shall take possession of the field which he has allowed to be
grazed on, and at the harvest he must pay sixty gur of corn for every ten gan.
59. If any man, without the knowledge of the owner of a garden, fell a tree in
a garden he shall pay half a mina in money.
60. If any one give over a field to a gardener, for him to plant it as a
garden, if he work at it, and care for it for four years, in the fifth year the
owner and the gardener shall divide it, the owner taking his part in charge.
61. If the gardener has not completed the planting of the field, leaving one
part unused, this shall be assigned to him as his.
62. If he do not plant the field that was given over to him as a garden, if it
be arable land (for corn or sesame) the gardener shall pay the owner the
produce of the field for the years that he let it lie fallow, according to the
product of neighboring fields, put the field in arable condition and return it to
63. If he transform waste land into arable fields and return it to its owner,
the latter shall pay him for one year ten gur for ten gan.
64. If any one hand over his garden to a gardener to work, the gardener shall
pay to its owner two-thirds of the produce of the garden, for so long as he has
it in possession, and the other third shall he keep.
65. If the gardener do not work in the garden and the product fall off, the
gardener shall pay in proportion to other neighboring gardens.
[Here a portion of the text is missing, apparently comprising thirty-four
100. . . . interest for the money, as much as he has received, he shall give a
note therefor, and on the day, when they settle, pay to the merchant.
101. If there are no mercantile arrangements in the place whither he went, he
shall leave the entire amount of money which he received with the broker to
give to the merchant.
102. If a merchant entrust money to an agent (broker) for some investment, and
the broker suffer a loss in the place to which he goes, he shall make good the
capital to the merchant.
103. If, while on the journey, an enemy take away from him anything that he
had, the broker shall swear by God and be free of obligation.
104. If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to
transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant
therefor. Then he shall obtain a receipt form the merchant for the money that
he gives the merchant.
105. If the agent is careless, and does not take a receipt for the money which
he gave the merchant, he can not consider the unreceipted money as his own.
106. If the agent accept money from the merchant, but have a quarrel with the
merchant (denying the receipt), then shall the merchant swear before God and
witnesses that he has given this money to the agent, and the agent shall pay him
three times the sum.
107. If the merchant cheat the agent, in that as the latter has returned to
him all that had been given him, but the merchant denies the receipt of what had
been returned to him, then shall this agent convict the merchant before God and
the judges, and if he still deny receiving what the agent had given him shall
pay six times the sum to the agent.
108. If a tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept corn according to gross
weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the price of the drink is less
than that of the corn, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water.
109. If conspirators meet in the house of a tavern-keeper, and these
conspirators are not captured and delivered to the court, the tavern-keeper shall be put
110. If a "sister of a god" open a tavern, or enter a tavern to drink, then
shall this woman be burned to death.
111. If an inn-keeper furnish sixty ka of usakani-drink to . . . she shall
receive fifty ka of corn at the harvest.
112. If any one be on a journey and entrust silver, gold, precious stones, or
any movable property to another, and wish to recover it from him; if the latter
do not bring all of the property to the appointed place, but appropriate it to
his own use, then shall this man, who did not bring the property to hand it
over, be convicted, and he shall pay fivefold for all that had been entrusted to
113. If any one have consignment of corn or money, and he take from the
granary or box without the knowledge of the owner, then shall he who took corn
without the knowledge of the owner out of the granary or money out of the box be
legally convicted, and repay the corn he has taken. And he shall lose whatever
commission was paid to him, or due him.
114. If a man have no claim on another for corn and money, and try to demand
it by force, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver in every case.
115. If any one have a claim for corn or money upon another and imprison him;
if the prisoner die in prison a natural death, the case shall go no further.
116. If the prisoner die in prison from blows or maltreatment, the master of
the prisoner shall convict the merchant before the judge. If he was a free-born
man, the son of the merchant shall be put to death; if it was a slave, he shall
pay one-third of a mina of gold, and all that the master of the prisoner gave
he shall forfeit.
117. If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and sell himself, his wife, his
son, and daughter for money or give them away to forced labor: they shall work
for three years in the house of the man who bought them, or the proprietor,
and in the fourth year they shall be set free.
118. If he give a male or female slave away for forced labor, and the merchant
sublease them, or sell them for money, no objection can be raised.
119. If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and he sell the maid servant
who has borne him children, for money, the money which the merchant has paid
shall be repaid to him by the owner of the slave and she shall be freed.
120. If any one store corn for safe keeping in another person's house, and any
harm happen to the corn in storage, or if the owner of the house open the
granary and take some of the corn, or if especially he deny that the corn was
stored in his house: then the owner of the corn shall claim his corn before God (on
oath), and the owner of the house shall pay its owner for all of the corn that
121. If any one store corn in another man's house he shall pay him storage at
the rate of one gur for every five ka of corn per year.
122. If any one give another silver, gold, or anything else to keep, he shall
show everything to some witness, draw up a contract, and then hand it over for
123. If he turn it over for safe keeping without witness or contract, and if
he to whom it was given deny it, then he has no legitimate claim.
124. If any one deliver silver, gold, or anything else to another for safe
keeping, before a witness, but he deny it, he shall be brought before a judge, and
all that he has denied he shall pay in full.
125. If any one place his property with another for safe keeping, and there,
either through thieves or robbers, his property and the property of the other
man be lost, the owner of the house, through whose neglect the loss took place,
shall compensate the owner for all that was given to him in charge. But the
owner of the house shall try to follow up and recover his property, and take it
away from the thief.
126. If any one who has not lost his goods state that they have been lost, and
make false claims: if he claim his goods and amount of injury before God, even
though he has not lost them, he shall be fully compensated for all his loss
claimed. (I.e., the oath is all that is needed.)
127. If any one "point the finger" (slander) at a sister of a god or the wife
of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and
his brow shall be marked. (by cutting the skin, or perhaps hair.)
128. If a man take a woman to wife, but have no intercourse with her, this
woman is no wife to him.
129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man,
both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife
and the king his slaves.
130. If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who
has never known a man, and still lives in her father's house, and sleep with her
and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.
131. If a man bring a charge against one's wife, but she is not surprised with
another man, she must take an oath and then may return to her house.
132. If the "finger is pointed" at a man's wife about another man, but she is
not caught sleeping with the other man, she shall jump into the river for her
133. If a man is taken prisoner in war, and there is a sustenance in his
house, but his wife leave house and court, and go to another house: because this
wife did not keep her court, and went to another house, she shall be judicially
condemned and thrown into the water.
134. If any one be captured in war and there is not sustenance in his house,
if then his wife go to another house this woman shall be held blameless.
135. If a man be taken prisoner in war and there be no sustenance in his house
and his wife go to another house and bear children; and if later her husband
return and come to his home: then this wife shall return to her husband, but the
children follow their father.
136. If any one leave his house, run away, and then his wife go to another
house, if then he return, and wishes to take his wife back: because he fled from
his home and ran away, the wife of this runaway shall not return to her husband.
137. If a man wish to separate from a woman who has borne him children, or
from his wife who has borne him children: then he shall give that wife her dowry,
and a part of the usufruct of field, garden, and property, so that she can rear
her children. When she has brought up her children, a portion of all that is
given to the children, equal as that of one son, shall be given to her. She may
then marry the man of her heart.
138. If a man wishes to separate from his wife who has borne him no children,
he shall give her the amount of her purchase money and the dowry which she
brought from her father's house, and let her go.
139. If there was no purchase price he shall give her one mina of gold as a
gift of release.
140. If he be a freed man he shall give her one-third of a mina of gold.
141. If a man's wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave it, plunges into
debt, tries to ruin her house, neglects her husband, and is judicially
convicted: if her husband offer her release, she may go on her way, and he gives her
nothing as a gift of release. If her husband does not wish to release her, and
if he take another wife, she shall remain as servant in her husband's house.
142. If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to
me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and
there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt
attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's
143. If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house,
neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water.
144. If a man take a wife and this woman give her husband a maid-servant, and
she bear him children, but this man wishes to take another wife, this shall not
be permitted to him; he shall not take a second wife.
145. If a man take a wife, and she bear him no children, and he intend to take
another wife: if he take this second wife, and bring her into the house, this
second wife shall not be allowed equality with his wife.
146. If a man take a wife and she give this man a maid-servant as wife and she
bear him children, and then this maid assume equality with the wife: because
she has borne him children her master shall not sell her for money, but he may
keep her as a slave, reckoning her among the maid-servants.
147. If she have not borne him children, then her mistress may sell her for
148. If a man take a wife, and she be seized by disease, if he then desire to
take a second wife he shall not put away his wife, who has been attacked by
disease, but he shall keep her in the house which he has built and support her so
long as she lives.
149. If this woman does not wish to remain in her husband's house, then he
shall compensate her for the dowry that she brought with her from her father's
house, and she may go.
150. If a man give his wife a field, garden, and house and a deed therefor, if
then after the death of her husband the sons raise no claim, then the mother
may bequeath all to one of her sons whom she prefers, and need leave nothing to
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.
152. If after the woman had entered the man's house, both contracted a debt,
both must pay the merchant.
153. If the wife of one man on account of another man has their mates (her
husband and the other man's wife) murdered, both of them shall be impaled.
154. If a man be guilty of incest with his daughter, he shall be driven from
the place (exiled).
155. If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse with
her, but he (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then he shall be
bound and cast into the water (drowned).
156. If a man betroth a girl to his son, but his son has not known her, and if
then he defile her, he shall pay her half a gold mina, and compensate her for
all that she brought out of her father's house. She may marry the man of her
157. If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father, both
shall be burned.
158. If any one be surprised after his father with his chief wife, who has
borne children, he shall be driven out of his father's house.
159. If any one, who has brought chattels into his father-in-law's house, and
has paid the purchase-money, looks for another wife, and says to his
father-in-law: "I do not want your daughter," the girl's father may keep all that he had
160. If a man bring chattels into the house of his father-in-law, and pay the
"purchase price" (for his wife): if then the father of the girl say: "I will
not give you my daughter," he shall give him back all that he brought with him.
161. If a man bring chattels into his father-in-law's house and pay the
"purchase price," if then his friend slander him, and his father-in-law say to the
young husband: "You shall not marry my daughter," the he shall give back to him
undiminished all that he had brought with him; but his wife shall not be married
to the friend.
162. If a man marry a woman, and she bear sons to him; if then this woman die,
then shall her father have no claim on her dowry; this belongs to her sons.
163. If a man marry a woman and she bear him no sons; if then this woman die,
if the "purchase price" which he had paid into the house of his father-in-law
is repaid to him, her husband shall have no claim upon the dowry of this woman;
it belongs to her father's house.
164. If his father-in-law do not pay back to him the amount of the "purchase
price" he may subtract the amount of the "Purchase price" from the dowry, and
then pay the remainder to her father's house.
165. If a man give to one of his sons whom he prefers a field, garden, and
house, and a deed therefor: if later the father die, and the brothers divide the
estate, then they shall first give him the present of his father, and he shall
accept it; and the rest of the paternal property shall they divide.
166. If a man take wives for his son, but take no wife for his minor son, and
if then he die: if the sons divide the estate, they shall set aside besides his
portion the money for the "purchase price" for the minor brother who had taken
no wife as yet, and secure a wife for him.
167. If a man marry a wife and she bear him children: if this wife die and he
then take another wife and she bear him children: if then the father die, the
sons must not partition the estate according to the mothers, they shall divide
the dowries of their mothers only in this way; the paternal estate they shall
divide equally with one another.
168. If a man wish to put his son out of his house, and declare before the
judge: "I want to put my son out," then the judge shall examine into his reasons.
If the son be guilty of no great fault, for which he can be rightfully put out,
the father shall not put him out.
169. If he be guilty of a grave fault, which should rightfully deprive him of
the filial relationship, the father shall forgive him the first time; but if he
be guilty of a grave fault a second time the father may deprive his son of all
170. If his wife bear sons to a man, or his maid-servant have borne sons, and
the father while still living says to the children whom his maid-servant has
borne: "My sons," and he count them with the sons of his wife; if then the father
die, then the sons of the wife and of the maid-servant shall divide the
paternal property in common. The son of the wife is to partition and choose.
171. If, however, the father while still living did not say to the sons of the
maid-servant: "My sons," and then the father dies, then the sons of the
maid-servant shall not share with the sons of the wife, but the freedom of the maid
and her sons shall be granted. The sons of the wife shall have no right to
enslave the sons of the maid; the wife shall take her dowry (from her father), and
the gift that her husband gave her and deeded to her (separate from dowry, or
the purchase-money paid her father), and live in the home of her husband: so long
as she lives she shall use it, it shall not be sold for money. Whatever she
leaves shall belong to her children.
172. If her husband made her no gift, she shall be compensated for her gift,
and she shall receive a portion from the estate of her husband, equal to that of
one child. If her sons oppress her, to force her out of the house, the judge
shall examine into the matter, and if the sons are at fault the woman shall not
leave her husband's house. If the woman desire to leave the house, she must
leave to her sons the gift which her husband gave her, but she may take the dowry
of her father's house. Then she may marry the man of her heart.
173. If this woman bear sons to her second husband, in the place to which she
went, and then die, her earlier and later sons shall divide the dowry between
174. If she bear no sons to her second husband, the sons of her first husband
shall have the dowry.
175. If a State slave or the slave of a freed man marry the daughter of a free
man, and children are born, the master of the slave shall have no right to
enslave the children of the free.
176. If, however, a State slave or the slave of a freed man marry a man's
daughter, and after he marries her she bring a dowry from a father's house, if then
they both enjoy it and found a household, and accumulate means, if then the
slave die, then she who was free born may take her dowry, and all that her
husband and she had earned; she shall divide them into two parts, one-half the master
for the slave shall take, and the other half shall the free-born woman take
for her children. If the free-born woman had no gift she shall take all that her
husband and she had earned and divide it into two parts; and the master of the
slave shall take one-half and she shall take the other for her children.
177. If a widow, whose children are not grown, wishes to enter another house
(remarry), she shall not enter it without the knowledge of the judge. If she
enter another house the judge shall examine the state of the house of her first
husband. Then the house of her first husband shall be entrusted to the second
husband and the woman herself as managers. And a record must be made thereof. She
shall keep the house in order, bring up the children, and not sell the
house-hold utensils. He who buys the utensils of the children of a widow shall lose his
money, and the goods shall return to their owners.
178. If a "devoted woman" or a prostitute to whom her father has given a dowry
and a deed therefor, but if in this deed it is not stated that she may
bequeath it as she pleases, and has not explicitly stated that she has the right of
disposal; if then her father die, then her brothers shall hold her field and
garden, and give her corn, oil, and milk according to her portion, and satisfy her.
If her brothers do not give her corn, oil, and milk according to her share,
then her field and garden shall support her. She shall have the usufruct of field
and garden and all that her father gave her so long as she lives, but she can
not sell or assign it to others. Her position of inheritance belongs to her
179. If a "sister of a god," or a prostitute, receive a gift from her father,
and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that she may dispose of it as
she pleases, and give her complete disposition thereof: if then her father
die, then she may leave her property to whomsoever she pleases. Her brothers can
raise no claim thereto.
180. If a father give a present to his daughter--either marriageable or a
prostitute (unmarriageable)--and then die, then she is to receive a portion as a
child from the paternal estate, and enjoy its usufruct so long as she lives. Her
estate belongs to her brothers.
181. If a father devote a temple-maid or temple-virgin to God and give her no
present: if then the father die, she shall receive the third of a child's
portion from the inheritance of her father's house, and enjoy its usufruct so long
as she lives. Her estate belongs to her brothers.
182. If a father devote his daughter as a wife of Mardi of Babylon (as in
181), and give her no present, nor a deed; if then her father die, then shall she
receive one-third of her portion as a child of her father's house from her
brothers, but Marduk may leave her estate to whomsoever she wishes.
183. If a man give his daughter by a concubine a dowry, and a husband, and a
deed; if then her father die, she shall receive no portion from the paternal
184. If a man do not give a dowry to his daughter by a concubine, and no
husband; if then her father die, her brother shall give her a dowry according to her
father's wealth and secure a husband for her.
185. If a man adopt a child and to his name as son, and rear him, this grown
son can not be demanded back again.
186. If a man adopt a son, and if after he has taken him he injure his foster
father and mother, then this adopted son shall return to his father's house.
187. The son of a paramour in the palace
service, or of a prostitute, can not be demanded back. 188. If an artizan has
undertaken to rear a child and teaches him his craft, he can not be demanded
back. 189. If he has not taught him his craft, this adopted son may return to his
190. If a man does not maintain a child that he has adopted as a son and
reared with his other children, then his adopted son may return to his father's
191. If a man, who had adopted a son and reared him, founded a household, and
had children, wish to put this adopted son out, then this son shall not simply
go his way. His adoptive father shall give him of his wealth one-third of a
child's portion, and then he may go. He shall not give him of the field, garden,
192. If a son of a paramour or a prostitute say to his adoptive father or
mother: "You are not my father, or my mother," his tongue shall be cut off.
193. If the son of a paramour or a prostitute desire his father's house, and
desert his adoptive father and adoptive mother, and goes to his father's house,
then shall his eye be put out.
194. If a man give his child to a nurse and the child die in her hands, but
the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurse another child, then they shall
convict her of having nursed another child without the knowledge of the father
and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.
195. If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
196. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An
eye for an eye ]
197. If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.
198. If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man,
he shall pay one gold mina.
199. If he put out the eye of a man's slave, or break the bone of a man's
slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.
200. If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked
out. [ A tooth for a tooth ]
201. If he knock out the teeth of a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a
202. If any one strike the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall
receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.
203. If a free-born man strike the body of another free-born man or equal
rank, he shall pay one gold mina.
204. If a freed man strike the body of another freed man, he shall pay ten
shekels in money.
205. If the slave of a freed man strike the body of a freed man, his ear shall
be cut off.
206. If during a quarrel one man strike another and wound him, then he shall
swear, "I did not injure him wittingly," and pay the physicians.
207. If the man die of his wound, he shall swear similarly, and if he (the
deceased) was a free-born man, he shall pay half a mina in money.
208. If he was a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a mina.
209. If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he
shall pay ten shekels for her loss.
210. If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.
211. If a woman of the free class lose her child by a blow, he shall pay five
shekels in money.
212. If this woman die, he shall pay half a mina.
213. If he strike the maid-servant of a man, and she lose her child, he shall
pay two shekels in money.
214. If this maid-servant die, he shall pay one-third of a mina.
215. If a physician make a large incision with an operating knife and cure it,
or if he open a tumor (over the eye) with an operating knife, and saves the
eye, he shall receive ten shekels in money.
216. If the patient be a freed man, he receives five shekels.
217. If he be the slave of some one, his owner shall give the physician two
218. If a physician make a large incision with the operating knife, and kill
him, or open a tumor with the operating knife, and cut out the eye, his hands
shall be cut off.
219. If a physician make a large incision in the slave of a freed man, and
kill him, he shall replace the slave with another slave.
220. If he had opened a tumor with the operating knife, and put out his eye,
he shall pay half his value.
221. If a physician heal the broken bone or diseased soft part of a man, the
patient shall pay the physician five shekels in money.
222. If he were a freed man he shall pay three shekels.
223. If he were a slave his owner shall pay the physician two shekels.
224. If a veterinary surgeon perform a serious operation on an ass or an ox,
and cure it, the owner shall pay the surgeon one-sixth of a shekel as a fee.
225. If he perform a serious operation on an ass or ox, and kill it, he shall
pay the owner one-fourth of its value.
226. If a barber, without the knowledge of his master, cut the sign of a slave
on a slave not to be sold, the hands of this barber shall be cut off.
227. If any one deceive a barber, and have him mark a slave not for sale with
the sign of a slave, he shall be put to death, and buried in his house. The
barber shall swear: "I did not mark him wittingly," and shall be guiltless.
228. If a builder build a house for some one and complete it, he shall give
him a fee of two shekels in money for each sar of surface.
229 If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it
properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder
shall be put to death.
230. If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to
231. If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the
owner of the house.
232. If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been
ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and
it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
233. If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet
completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid
from his own means.
234. If a shipbuilder build a boat of sixty gur for a man, he shall pay him a
fee of two shekels in money.
235. If a shipbuilder build a boat for some one, and do not make it tight, if
during that same year that boat is sent away and suffers injury, the
shipbuilder shall take the boat apart and put it together tight at his own expense. The
tight boat he shall give to the boat owner.
236. If a man rent his boat to a sailor, and the sailor is careless, and the
boat is wrecked or goes aground, the sailor shall give the owner of the boat
another boat as compensation.
237. If a man hire a sailor and his boat, and provide it with corn, clothing,
oil and dates, and other things of the kind needed for fitting it: if the
sailor is careless, the boat is wrecked, and its contents ruined, then the sailor
shall compensate for the boat which was wrecked and all in it that he ruined.
238. If a sailor wreck any one's ship, but saves it, he shall pay the half of
its value in money.
239. If a man hire a sailor, he shall pay him six gur of corn per year.
240. If a merchantman run against a ferryboat, and wreck it, the master of the
ship that was wrecked shall seek justice before God; the master of the
merchantman, which wrecked the ferryboat, must compensate the owner for the boat and
all that he ruined.
241. If any one impresses an ox for forced labor, he shall pay one-third of a
mina in money.
242. If any one hire oxen for a year, he shall pay four gur of corn for
243. As rent of herd cattle he shall pay three gur of corn to the owner.
244. If any one hire an ox or an ass, and a lion kill it in the field, the
loss is upon its owner.
245. If any one hire oxen, and kill them by bad treatment or blows, he shall
compensate the owner, oxen for oxen.
246. If a man hire an ox, and he break its leg or cut the ligament of its
neck, he shall compensate the owner with ox for ox.
247. If any one hire an ox, and put out its eye, he shall pay the owner
one-half of its value.
248. If any one hire an ox, and break off a horn, or cut off its tail, or hurt
its muzzle, he shall pay one-fourth of its value in money.
249. If any one hire an ox, and God strike it that it die, the man who hired
it shall swear by God and be considered guiltless.
250. If while an ox is passing on the street (market) some one push it, and
kill it, the owner can set up no claim in the suit (against the hirer).
251. If an ox be a goring ox, and it shown that he is a gorer, and he do not
bind his horns, or fasten the ox up, and the ox gore a free-born man and kill
him, the owner shall pay one-half a mina in money.
252. If he kill a man's slave, he shall pay one-third of a mina.
253. If any one agree with another to tend his field, give him seed, entrust a
yoke of oxen to him, and bind him to cultivate the field, if he steal the corn
or plants, and take them for himself, his hands shall be hewn off.
254. If he take the seed-corn for himself, and do not use the yoke of oxen, he
shall compensate him for the amount of the seed-corn.
255. If he sublet the man's yoke of oxen or steal the seed-corn, planting
nothing in the field, he shall be convicted, and for each one hundred gan he shall
pay sixty gur of corn.
256. If his community will not pay for him, then he shall be placed in that
field with the cattle (at work).
257. If any one hire a field laborer, he shall pay him eight gur of corn per
258. If any one hire an ox-driver, he shall pay him six gur of corn per year.
259. If any one steal a water-wheel from the field, he shall pay five shekels
in money to its owner.
260. If any one steal a shadduf (used to draw water from the river or canal)
or a plow, he shall pay three shekels in money.
261. If any one hire a herdsman for cattle or sheep, he shall pay him eight
gur of corn per annum.
262. If any one, a cow or a sheep . . .
263. If he kill the cattle or sheep that were given to him, he shall
compensate the owner with cattle for cattle and sheep for sheep.
264. If a herdsman, to whom cattle or sheep have been entrusted for watching
over, and who has received his wages as agreed upon, and is satisfied, diminish
the number of the cattle or sheep, or make the increase by birth less, he shall
make good the increase or profit which was lost in the terms of settlement.
265. If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been entrusted, be
guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural increase, or sell them for
money, then shall he be convicted and pay the owner ten times the loss.
266. If the animal be killed in the stable by God ( an accident), or if a lion
kill it, the herdsman shall declare his innocence before God, and the owner
bears the accident in the stable.
267. If the herdsman overlook something, and an accident happen in the stable,
then the herdsman is at fault for the accident which he has caused in the
stable, and he must compensate the owner for the cattle or sheep.
268. If any one hire an ox for threshing, the amount of the hire is twenty ka
269. If he hire an ass for threshing, the hire is twenty ka of corn.
270. If he hire a young animal for threshing, the hire is ten ka of corn.
271. If any one hire oxen, cart and driver, he shall pay one hundred and
eighty ka of corn per day.
272. If any one hire a cart alone, he shall pay forty ka of corn per day.
273. If any one hire a day laborer, he shall pay him from the New Year until
the fifth month (April to August, when days are long and the work hard) six
gerahs in money per day; from the sixth month to the end of the year he shall give
him five gerahs per day.
274. If any one hire a skilled artizan, he shall pay as wages of the . . .
five gerahs, as wages of the potter five gerahs, of a tailor five gerahs, of . . .
gerahs, . . . of a ropemaker four gerahs, of . . .. gerahs, of a mason . . .
gerahs per day.
275. If any one hire a ferryboat, he shall pay three gerahs in money per day.
276. If he hire a freight-boat, he shall pay two and one-half gerahs per day.
277. If any one hire a ship of sixty gur, he shall pay one-sixth of a shekel
in money as its hire per day.
278. If any one buy a male or female slave, and before a month has elapsed the
benu-disease be developed, he shall return the slave to the seller, and
receive the money which he had paid.
279. If any one by a male or female slave, and a third party claim it, the
seller is liable for the claim.
280. If while in a foreign country a man buy a male or female slave belonging
to another of his own country; if when he return home the owner of the male or
female slave recognize it: if the male or female slave be a native of the
country, he shall give them back without any money.
281. If they are from another country, the buyer shall declare the amount of
money paid therefor to the merchant, and keep the male or female slave.
282. If a slave say to his master: "You are not my master," if they convict
him his master shall cut off his ear.
Part 1 – The Introduction
Part 2 – The Code of Laws
Part 3 - The Epilogue Laws