The Ancient Mesopotamian Law Code of Hammurabi

Code-of-Hammurabi

Dating from 1770 B.C., the most complete of ancient Mesopotamian legal texts is the Code of Hammurabi, a compendium of 282 laws which dictated the rules of commercial interactions and set fines and punishments for those found in violation of these laws. Inscribed upon a phallic piece of black obsidian, Hammurabi’s Code is depicted as receiving these laws from Shamash, the god of the sun, justice, and order, with the primary role of protecting the weak from the strong. It is written and recognized within the Hammurabi Code the first appearance of the biblical punishment of an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Considered by many scientists to be one of the foundational stones of world civilization, the Hammurabi Code is a mixed blessing for women, both protecting women and lowering their social rank as second class citizens. Upon the positive end, the Hammurabi Code recognized women’s basic right to own property, fundamental in its importance as it provided women legal protection in regard to the control of their dowries and inheritance. The Hammurabi Code also forbade arbitrary poor treatment and/or neglect, which meant wives who were ill or barren couldn’t be simply discarded. In divorce, women were permitted to keep their dowries, and in widowhood, women were permitted the opportunity to utilize their husbands estates as their own for the duration of their lives. The Hammurabi Code essentially recognizes Mesopotamian women as distinct persons in a legal sense, rather than property which is how most of the ancient world recognized women. Upon the negative side however, women’s economic and sexual freedoms became severely restricted, forbidden from performing any commercial activity outside of their home and supporting and legalizing the concept of the patriarchy by providing men immense autonomy over the bodies of women, meaning husbands and fathers now owned the sexual reproduction of their wives and daughters which lead to women being executed for adultery, virginity becoming a condition of marriage, and rape not viewed as a violent sexual offense against the female victim, but rather an economic offense against her father as it would cause the father to suffer a severe loss in respect to a daughters bride price as the daughter would be considered a damaged commodity. It’s unclear how these legal mandates and statutes worked at the local level as they are ideals of Mesopotamian culture, but the driving force of these laws and how they are setup and constituted is abundantly clear, allowing male authority and patriarchal notions of male honor, to become sacrosanct

The Ancient Battle of Troy 

Trojan-War

The battle of Troy is suspected to have occurred in modern day Turkey as Troy is considered is by archeologists and scholars to have been a real citadel, and not just an epic iliad of the ancient Greek poet Homer. The Trojan economy was based upon trade, specifically horses and horse breeding which allowed for wealth and military prowess within the walls of Troy, as horses were rarely seen elsewhere in the ancient world. Troy had a large ditch cut around the entire city, similar to a moat but without water. Large fences were placed behind this trench and enormous city walls were erected with only 3 entry points for the entire stronghold. Food stockpiles allowed the Trojans to hold out for longer periods than what would typically have been possible and amphorae were buried all over the Troy, up to the neck of the container, with a rock placed on top to seal it off. The Trojans, as was custom with most ancient people, would not bury their dead within the perimeter of the city unless under significant stress. Militarily speaking, in order to seize a target by assault, a soldier ratio of 3:1 is required but the Greeks did not have this advantage because the Trojan’s and Greek’s were matched evenly in terms of troops. This lack of superiority on either side permitted the Trojan war to last 9 years. The Trojans built their outer walls on a 20 degree slant to protect themselves from siege towers which were essentially mobile ladders with platforms to shoot down from. Troy’s exterior stone walls were 6 meters high with an additional height of 4 meters being added by mud-brick structures which crowned the walls. The Trojan Horse which invaded Troy was most likely was 13′ tall and less than 7′ wide, holding 30 – 40 men. Once Troy was successfully invaded, it was sacked, it’s citizens were pillaged and slaughtered, and its royal family raped and murdered. Even children were not immune to the scourge of this bloody battle as Homer’s iliad speaks of children being thrown to their death from great heights

North American Judicial Rape Cases

court-of-law

In North America, 3 of every 1000 sexual assault accusations result in a conviction, an astounding failure to prosecute threshold of 99.7%. Defence teams often create a plausible scenario in which the accusations against the client could be untrue. If the scenario is false or misleading but still plausible, reasonable doubt has been met and reasonable doubt equates to acquittal. As with any case, the burden of proof lays with the prosecution, and if doubt of any degree can be raised, conviction is nearly impossible if not always impossible

Renaissance Law Regarding Women’s Rights

renaissance-womens-rights

During the Renaissance, rape was not recognized in the contextual mindscape that it is today. Rape was seen as a dishonorable stamp upon the family and the families name of the victim. If rape occurred, it was not uncommon for the offender to marry the victim, therefore making the act acceptable within the eyes of the family, the court, and as was thought at the time, in the eyes of God. Rape of a woman who was no longer a virgin was essentially considered not to be a crime, however rape of a woman who was a virgin, was considered to be very serious until sorted out. It was not uncommon for an aggressor to pay a dowry to the victim and her family so that she could marry another man, if the offender had no interest in marrying said victim. Dowries were considered unideal but an acceptable practice during this period. A daughters virginity being intact was viewed as a significant financial gain towards the women’s family as it was customary to receive a sizeable dowry when she became married. A notable historical example of this ideology is directly correlated to the incredibly talented Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who was raped by a painter her father Orazio who was also a famous painter, commissioned to teach his daughter the art of sketching using proper perspective and dimension