Two legal codes - Essay Example

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The code basically consisted of 282 laws and punishments that accompanied certain actions. The code was established by legal experts under the direction of the king…
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Two Legal s Hammurabis which is a law established by a Babylonian king by the Hammurabi s back to 1772 BC. The basically consisted of 282 laws and punishments that accompanied certain actions. The code was established by legal experts under the direction of the king in a bid to create a universal set of laws that would serve the different people that the expanding kingdom hosted (US History par. 1). The Burgundian king, Gundobad established the Burgundian code. Also called the Lex Burgundionum or Lex Gundobada, the code was formulated in 484 AD (Calmette 47). The law code which was improved to benefit the Roman subjects a few years later came to be known as the Lex Romana Burgundinum. This paper will analyze the two law codes and will focus on their similarities and differences.
The Hammurabi law code was based on the presumption of innocence and gives both the accuser and the accused to provide evidence. This is evident in several parts of the code. For example, the third law states, “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” ( par. 65). Another example of the code’s presumption of innocence is in the eleventh law that states, “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” ( par. 65). Apart from the presumption of innocence, the Hammurabi law code had strength in that it considered evidence an important part of judgment. This is evident in many of the laws one of which is the tenth law that states,
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 article. ( par. 65).
The Hammurabi law code characteristically is associated with harsh punishments for those found at fault. In many cases, the death penalty is applied for crimes that would otherwise be punished through less punitive measures. For example, the 11th law dictates that failure to bring a witness when one is claiming for an article is punishable by death. To a great extent, the code was based on the notion of an eye for an eye. In several instants, the law demands payments or retribution in compensation for actions committed by a person against another. One example of this is the 200th law that states, “If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out” ( par. 65). Yet again, it is evident that the law tends to favor the free person over the slave.
The Burgundian code shares a lot of similarities and differences with its Hammurabian counterpart. Like it’s the Hammurabi law code, the Burgundian code was dedicated to preventing intentional harm against other people. Furthermore, the law tended to favor the free person over the slave. This facts are evident in the law that states,
If anyone presumes with boldness or rashness bent on injury to kill a native freeman of our people of any nation or a servant of the king, in any case a man of barbarian tribe, let him make restitution for the committed crime not otherwise than by the shedding of his own… (Drew par. 11)
Although the Hammurabi code relied a lot on the death penalty, the Burgundian code tended to impose punitive fines as opposed to the death penalty as evidenced by the law that stated, “If any Burgundian or Roman shall take away anything, even a young animal, we order him who took it away to pay the price which has been set by us ninefold” (Drew par. 18). It is also evident that the Burgundian code put less emphasis on evidence compared to its counterpart. In conclusion, the two laws have striking differences in as much as they have several similarities. Owing to the “less” punitive punishments prescribed by the Burgundian code, I would prefer to be bound by it.
Works cited
Calmette, Joseph. The Golden Age of Burgundy: The Magnificent Dukes and Their Courts. France: Aes Grands Dues de Bourgogne. 1949. Print.
Drew, Katherine. The Burgundian Code. 1972. Web. Ancient History Sourcebook: Code of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE. 2014. Web.
US History. Hammurabis Code: An Eye for an Eye. 2014. Web. Read More
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