Hammurabi Code of Laws
115 - 229
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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, and the owner of the house shall pay its
owner for all of the corn that he took.
- 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.
- 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 safe keeping.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (i.e. probably
by cutting to leave a scar).
- If a man take a woman to wife, but have no intercourse with her,
this woman is no wife to him.
- If a man's wife be surprised (having sex) with another man, both
shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon
his wife and the king his slaves.
- If a man violate the wife (or fiancee) 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.
- 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.
- 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 husband.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If there was no purchase price he shall give her one mina of gold
as a gift of release.
- If he be a freed man he shall give her one-third of a mina of gold.
- 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.
- 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 house.
- If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house,
neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If she have not borne him children, then her mistress may sell her
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 his brothers.
- 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.
- If after the woman had entered the man's house, both contracted a
debt, both must pay the merchant.
- 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.
- If a man be guilty of incest with his daughter, he shall be driven
from the place (exiled).
- If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse
with her, but (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then
he shall be bound and cast into the water (death by drowning).
- 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 heart.
- If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father,
both shall be burned.
- 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.
- 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 brought.
- If a man bring chattels into the house of his father-in-law, and pay
the "purchase price"; 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 filial relation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 them.
- If she bear no sons to her second husband, the sons of her first
husband shall have the dowry.
- 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.
- 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.
- If a widow, whose children are not grown, wishes to enter another
house (i.e. 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.
- 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 brothers.
- 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.
- If a father give a present to his daughter, either marriageable or
a prostitute (i.e. 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.
- 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.
- If a father devote his daughter as a wife of Mardi of Babylon, 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
- 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 estate.
- 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.
- If a man adopt a child and to his name as son, and rear him, this
grown son can not be demanded back again.
- 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
- The son of a paramour in the palace service, or of a prostitute, can
not be demanded back.
- If an artizan has undertaken to rear a child and teaches him his
craft, he can not be demanded back.
- If he has not taught him his craft, this adopted son may return
to his father's house.
- 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 house.
- 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, and house.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
- If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye
shall be put out.
- If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.
- If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a
freed man, he shall pay one gold mina.
- 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.
- If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his
teeth shall be knocked out.
- If he knock out the teeth of a freed man, he shall pay one-third
of a gold mina.
- 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.
- If a free-born man strike the body of another free-born man or
equal rank, he shall pay one gold mina.
- If a freed man strike the body of another freed man, he shall
pay ten shekels in money.
- If the slave of a freed man strike the body of a freed man, his
ear shall be cut off.
- If during a quarrel one man strike another and wound him, then
he shall swear, "I did not injure him wittingly," and pay
- If the man die of his wound, he shall swear similarly, and if
(the deceased) was a free-born man, he shall pay half a mina in money.
- If he was a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a mina.
- If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn
child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.
- If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.
- If a woman of the free class lose her child by a blow, he shall
pay five shekels in money.
- If this woman die, he shall pay half a mina.
- If he strike the maid-servant of a man, and she lose her child,
he shall pay two shekels in money.
- If this maid-servant die, he shall pay one-third of a mina.
- If a physician make a large incision with an operating knife
and cure it, or if he open a tumor with an operating knife, and saves
the eye, he shall receive ten shekels in money.
- If the patient be a freed man, he receives five shekels.
- If he be the slave of some one, his owner shall give the physician
- 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.
- 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.
- If he had opened a tumor with the operating knife, and put out
his eye, he shall pay half his value.
- If a physician heal the broken bone or diseased soft part of
a man, the patient shall pay the physician five shekels in money.
- If he were a freed man he shall pay three shekels.
- If he were a slave his owner shall pay the physician two shekels.
- 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.
- If he perform a serious operation on an ass or ox, and kill it,
he shall pay the owner one-fourth of its value.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.