The Code of Hammurabi
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Do you know who Hammurabi was? He was the Babylonian king who came up with the first set of laws, designed to be fair, although by today’s standards they are quite harsh. It was Hammurabi who came up with the “eye for an eye” concept, and he meant it quite literally.
As part of our study of Hammurabi and the Babylonians (Chapter 7 in Story of the World, Ancient Times), we made our own family law code stele, a “carved stone” that displays the set of rules that our family goes by, as interpreted by a 7 and 5 year old. It was very interesting to hear what they came up with. But first, we took a look at Hammurabi’s actual code stele, on display at the Louvre in Paris:
Then we made our own. This is one of the suggested activities in the SOTW activity guide. We used red posterboard for one child (because I just found it behind my credenza when I was cleaning) and long pieces of butcher paper for the other kiddo. Have I mentioned how much I love the giant roll of butcher paper that I got at Costco that was super inexpensive?
I had the kids come up with the list of rules together. They needed some prompting: Do we have any rules about how we treat each other? Any rules on how to be safe? Any rules about our belongings? Any rules for when we are eating?
My favorite is the last one: It says “Don’t eat a leaf if someone gives it to you. It could be poison ivy.”
Here is Firefly’s stele. We traced a saucer to round out the top corners. He drew a picture of a Mesopotamian god handing a scroll of laws to him, just like on Hammurabi’s original steles. Firefly is wearing a crown. He also added some other figures: Darth Vader, Combustion Man (?), a soldier and Jabba the Hut’s “monster thing”. Alrighty then.
Their steles are now hanging in their bedrooms.