DBQ - Hammurabi`s Code1

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DBQ - DOCUMENT BASED QUESTIONS
Hammurabi’s Code: Was It Just?
OVERVIEW
HAMMURABI’S CODE: WAS IT JUST?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDALXORbtR4
One of the world’s oldest sets of laws was written by Hammurabi king of
Babylon in the 18th century BCE. Hammurabi’s Code is often studied to
understand the values of ancient Mesopotamia, and also to understand
the concept of justice. This Document Based Question explores the idea
of fairness-what is “just”– by asking you to think about the punishments
and rewards that made up Hammurabi’s Code.
The Documents:
Document A: The Stone Stele (“stee-lee”)
Document B: Epilogue of the Code
Document C: Family Law
Document D: Property Law
Document E: Personal – Injury Law
HOOK EXERCISE:
HAMMURABI’S CODE: WAS IT JUST?
Leaders throughout history have had to
grapple with the task of creating just, or fair,
laws. One such leader was Hammurabi,
whose laws are the subject of this assignment.
Hammurabi’s concern was creating just laws
for the people of Babylonia 4,000 years ago.
HOOK EXERCISE:
HAMMURABI’S CODE: WAS IT JUST?
Task 1: With your group, talk through the two cases below and
discuss the questions that follow. In each case, you will consider
justice in three ways:
Is the outcome fair to the accused?
Is the outcome fair to the victim?
Is the outcome in the best interest of the general society?
Task 2 Pick one rule in your school. Then decide if it is just. Explain.
Is it fair to the rule breaker?
Is it fair to those who are harmed?
Is it fair to the greater school community?
HAMMURABI’S CODE - DBQ TIMELINE
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3500 BCE-Sumerians settle in southern Mesopotamia.
1900 BCE – Warriors from Babylonia conquer Sumer.
1792 BCE – Hammurabi becomes sixth Amorite king of
Babylon.
1750 BCE – End of Hammurabi’s nearly 43 year rule
1600BCE – Assyrian invasion ends rule in Babylonia
323 BCE – Alexander The Great dies in Babylon after
planning to make Babylon the capital of his empire.
BACKGROUND ESSAY QUESTIONS
HAMMURABI’S CODE: WAS IT JUST?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
How many centuries ago did Hammurabi live?
How long did he rule?
From Larsa to Mari, what was the approximate
length of Babylonia from north to south?
What was the estimated population of Babylonia?
Into what three social classes was the population
divided?
In general terms, what is Hammurabi’s Code?
Define these terms:

city-state, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, cuneiform, stele
DBQ KEY TERMS
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City-State: An independent city, sometimes walled, and often including the
territory around it.
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Babylonia: The kingdom ruled by Hammurabi. It included a number of city-states
and was located in Mesopotamia, along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
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Mesopotamia: A region in the Middle East that included modern-day Iraq and
sections of modern-day Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Note: In Greek, Mesopotamia
means “between the rivers.”
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Cuneiform: A kind of writing used in Sumer and Babylonia. Letters were carved
into stone or soft clay with a stylus, which looked a bit like a chopstick.
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Stele: An upright stone slab or pillar, often bearing an inscription
UNDERSTANDING THE QUESTION
HAMMURABI’S CODE: WAS IT JUST?

What is the analytical question asked by this
Document Based Question?
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What terms in the question need to be
defined?
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Rewrite the question in your own words.
DOCUMENT A – ANALYSIS:
THE STONE STELE (“STEE-LEE”)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What kind of writing was used to inscribe the
code on the stele?
The code was divided into what three parts?
From where or whom does Hammurabi get the
laws?
Is there any evidence in this document that can
be used to argue that Hammurabi’s Code was
just?
Is there any evidence in this document that can
be used to argue that Hammurabi’s Code was not
just?
DOCUMENT B – ANALYSIS:
EPILOGUE OF THE CODE
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
According to Hammurabi, what was his purpose
for having written these laws?
Who commanded Hammurabi to create this
monument?
What does Hammurabi threaten will happen to
any future Babylonian king who does not follow
these laws?
How can you use this document to argue that
Hammurabi’s Code was just?
How can you use this document to argue that
Hammurabi’s Code was not just?
DOCUMENT C – ANALYSIS:
FAMILY LAW
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
In Law 129, what does it mean to “bind them and cast
them into the water?”
In Law 168, what does it mean to “disinherit” a son?
Two crimes in the document result in physical
punishment. What are those crimes? How might
Hammurabi argue that the punishments were just?
Hammurabi said that his code was meant to protect the
weak. Is there evidence in this document that the code
did so?
Overall, are these laws regarding family just?
DOCUMENT D – ANALYSIS:
PROPERTY LAW
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
In Law 21, what is the penalty for breaking into a
home?
How might Hammurabi justify harsh punishment?
In Law 23, if the robber is not caught, who
reimburses the victim for his or her loss?
How might Hammurabi have justified reimbursing
the victim?
In Law 48, what is a creditor? Is Law 48 fair to
creditors?
Overall, are these laws regarding property just?
DOCUMENT E – ANALYSIS:
PERSONAL-INJURY LAW
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Examine laws 196 and 199. How do you think
Hammurabi would justify the different punishments for
the same crime?
What is the meaning of “fruit of her womb”?
How might Hammurabi argue that laws 215 and 218
were just?
How could you use these laws about personal injury to
argue that Hammurabi’s Code was not just?
Is justice absolute? That is, is a just punishment in
1800 BCE also a just punishment today? Explain your
thinking.
SHORT-CONSTRUCTED RESPONSES
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You will write 2 paragraphs with a minimum of
5 sentences each. These should include:
- Paragraph 1- “Hammurabi’s Code - Was it Just?” (Fair)
Answer: Yes.
Include an introductory sentence, 3 supporting sentences using
facts from 3 documents and a concluding sentence.
- Paragraph 2 – “Hammurabi’s Code - Was it Just?” (Fair)
Answer: No.
Include an introductory sentence, 3 supporting sentences using
facts from 3 documents and a concluding sentence.
GETTING READY TO WRITE
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Task One: Bucketing
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Look over all the documents and organize them into your final
buckets. Write labels under each bucket and place the letters of the
documents in the buckets where they belong. You can put a
document in more than one bucket. That is called multi-bucketing,
but you need a good reason to do so. Remember, your buckets are
going to become your body paragraphs.
Task Two: Thesis Development and Road Map

On the chicken foot below, write your thesis and your road map.
Your thesis is always an opinion that answers the Document Based
Question. The road map is created from your bucket labels and lists
the topic areas you will examine in order to prove your thesis.
ESSAY OUTLINE
¶ 1 > Intro = Start with a broad topic, and work to a narrowed
“thesis” statement. (3-5 sentences)
¶ 2 > Reason #1 just/not just = Give at least 2 supporting
details with examples for each. (5-7 sentences)
¶ 3 > Reason #2 just/not just = Give at least 2 supporting
details with examples for each. (5-7 sentences)
¶ 4 > Reason #3 just/not just = Give at least 2 supporting
details with examples for each. (5-7 sentences)
¶ 5> Conclusion = Re-state “thesis” statement and main ideas
in a NEW WAY, leave the reader with final message of the
paper. (3-5 sentences)

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