The Code of Hammurabi The first comprehensive set of recorded laws is referred to as the Hammurabic Code. This code was developed by King Hammurabi of Babylon in 1750 BCE. Although some disagree about whether the code represents the first formal set of laws, the code is considered to be the most comprehensive attempt at categorizing behavior. The laws were designed to regu- late not only blatant criminal behavior (e.g., murder, violence) but also business and property transactions (e.g., “If a patri- cian [nobleman] has stolen ox, sheep, pig, or ship, whether from a temple, or a house, he shall pay thirtyfold”), marital relations (e.g., “If a man’s wife be caught lying with another, they shall be strangled and cast into the water”), and also parent-child relationships (e.g., “if a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off”). The laws specific to parent-child relationships are the earli- est laws governing the behavior of juveniles. For example, the laws set forth a clear delinea- tion of parent and child. Children who disobeyed their parents could be abandoned, maimed, or even killed.
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