Earth's Ancient History

A Website dedicated to Ancient Times

This website is completely renovated to the newest PHP protocol

This old HTML website will still stay online for a few months but will not be updated

If you like to go to the new PHP website click HERE

 


Bible search Bible Generations Links Mailinglist New additions Public domain Sitemap

Main Index My Manuscript, Preface Ancient America Ancient Arabia Ancient Atlantis Ancient Babylonia Ancient Egypt Ancient Europe Ancient Greece Ancient India Ancient Persia Ancient Rome Ancient Sumer King James Bible Apocrypha Books Pseudepigrapha Books Islam Judaism Various publications

Laws from Mesopotamia


A Collection of Mesopotamian Laws

c. 2250 - 550 BC

Laws governing private as well as public and political life were written up in Mesopotamia as early as 2250 B.C. Unfortunately, most of these early documents have been preserved in very fragmentary condition, so that only a few phases of early law and procedure are now known to us. The following fragments date from the Akkadian through the Neo-Babylonian periods.


1. BE it enacted forever and for all future days: If a son say to his father, "You are not my father," he [the father] can cut off his [the son's] locks, make him a slave and sell him for money. If a son say to his mother, "You are not my mother," she can cut off his locks, turn him out of town, or (at least) drive him away from home, deprive him of citizenship and of inheritance, but his liberty he loses not. If a father say to his son, "You are not my son," the latter has to leave house and field and he loses everything. If a mother say to her son, "You are not my son," he shall leave house and furniture. If a wife be unfaithful to her husband and then says, "You are not my husband," let her be thrown into the river. If a husband say to his wife, "You are not my wife," he shall as a fine pay one half mana of silver. If some one hires a servant and the latter dies or is rendered useless otherwise (e.g.,by flight, rebellion, or sickness) he shall give to the owner as daily wages ten qa of grain a day.

2. If an overseer or a fisherman ordered to the service of the king does not come, but sends a hireling in his stead, that same overseer or fisherman shall be put to death, and his house shall go into the possession of the hireling.

3. If a man lets out his field to a farmer and he has received the rent for his field, and afterward a flood pours down upon that field, or some animal destroys the harvest of the farmer; in case now the rent of this field is not yet paid, or ______. [The law here no doubt said that, in case of damage by weather or animals, a renter of a field will have certain reduction granted. If he paid in advance, part of the money will be refunded to him, if he pays at the end of the lease, he need not pay the full amount.]

4. When a merchant gives to his clerk grain, wool, oil, or some other merchandise for sale, the clerk shall give a strict account and turn in the money to the merchant: and the merchant shall give to the clerk a receipt for the money paid over to him.

5. When a man has bought a male or female slave, and the sale is fought by a third party (the real owner) and is in consequence thereof declared void, the seller of the slave has to pay for all damages.

6. When in an inclosed yard a disturbance occurs, or again, when a lion kills, his keeper shall pay all damages, and the owner of the yard shall receive the killed animals.

7. When a peasant says to the date-vendor, "All the dates in this garden you may take for your money," that vendor shall not do so; but the dates that grow in the garden shall be and remain the property of the owner, and with these dates he shall pay the vendor for the latter's money and the interests accrued, as the written agreement calls for; but what remains of dates after that shall be and remain the property of the owner.

8. When a shepherd of small cattle, after having driven the herd from pasture, and when the whole troop has passed within the city gates, drives his cattle to another rnan's field (within the city walls), and pastures it there, that shepherd shall take care of the field, which he has given to his flock as pasture, and shall give to the owner of the field for every day the amount of sixty qa.

9. If a man sell a slave girl for money, and another party proves just claims to her, and takes her away from her present owner, the seller shall return the money to the buyer, to exactly the same amount that his receipt calls for; if in the meanwhile she has borne children, he shall in addition pay for each child one half shekel.

10. If a man, after having promised, either verbally or in writing, a certain dowry to his daughter, loses part of his property, he can give his daughter a dowry in accordance with the property as it is now, and neither father-in-law nor son-in-law shall go to law on that account.

11. If a man has given his daughter a dowry, and the dlaughter dies without an issue, the dowry reverts to the house of her father.

12. If a woman, whose dowry her husband has taken charge of, remains childless and loses her husband, her dowry shall be returned to her in full out of the late husband's estate. If her husband during his lifetime has presented her part of his property, she shall retain this also and still receive her own dowry in full. But if she had no dowry, the judge shall examine into the condition of her husband's estate and then give her a proper share in accordance with her late husband's property.


Source:

From: William Muss-Arnolt, "Some Babylonian Laws," in Assyrian and Babylonian Literature: Selected Transactions, With a Critical Introduction by Robert Francis Harper (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1904), pp. 445-447.


Join my mailing list Mailing list Earth-history, or (and) sign my Guestbook

Main Index Bible search Bible Generations Links Mailinglist New additions Public domain Sitemap

Main Index

Sumerian Tablets The Isin King List The Sumerian King list The Tablet of Adapa Akkadian Advice Akkadian Precepts A tigi for Bau to Gudea Adab for Bau to Luma The Cursing of Agade Dumuzid's dream Dumuzid and Enkimdu Dumuzid and Geshtin-ana Enki builds the E-engurra Enki and Ninhursag Enki and Ninmah Enki and the World Order Enlil in the E-kur Enlil and Ninlil Enlil and Sud Enmerkar and En-sughgir-ana Enmerkar and Lord Aratta Ereshkigal The Eridu Genesis The Farmer"s instruction Sumerian Flood Story Gilgamesh and Aga Gilgamesh - Bull of Heaven The Deadth of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh and Enkidu Gilgamesh and Huwawa The Heron and the Turtle The History of the Tummal How Grain came to Sumer A tigii to Inana Inana and Bilulu Inana to the Nether world A balbale to Inana - Dumuzid Inana and Ebih Inana and Enki Inana and Iddin-Dagan A Mythic Narrative Inana Inana and Shu-kale-tuda Inscription Umma and Lagash Instructions of Shuruppag The Lament of Eridug The Lament for Nibru The Lament for Sumer - Urim The Lament for Unug The Lament for Ur The Lament for Urim Letter from Ibbi-Suen Lugulbanda The Marriage of Martu Contracts from Mesopotamia Laws from Mesopotamia The Myth of Etana The Myth of Anzu Nanna-Suen's journey to Nibru Building of Ningirsu's temple Ningishzida to the Netherworld A shir-gida to Nininsina Nininsina and the Gods The exploits of Ninurta Ninurta and the Turtle 3 Ox-drivers from Adab Pabilsaj's journey to Nibru Praise Poem of Shulgi Poem of Utu-Hejal Proverbs from Ki-en-gir Rulers of Lagash The Sargon legend The Shumunda grass Return of Ninurta to Nibru Lugulbanda in the Cave The death of Ur-Nammu Praise poem of Ur-Nammu A tigi to Enlil for Ur-Namma THE TEMPLE HYMNS Sumerian Mythology


Please report broken links to the Webmaster.

Last modified: 2011-10-06

This is copyrighted information presented under the Fair Use Doctrine of the United States Copyright Act (section 107 of title 17) which states: 'the fair use of a copyrighted work...for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.' In practice the courts have decided that anything which does not financially harm the copyright holder is fair use

This is a Non-Profit Web page, 1998-2011 L.C.Geerts The Netherlands all rights reserved.

It is strictly forbidden to publish or copy anything of my book without permission of the author, permission is granted for the recourses, for personal use only.