Right now I’m researching crime and punishment in ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of info from the time period I’m looking at and I really need some examples of more extreme punishments than the Egyptians typically doled out. After all, these are the folks that would banish the worst criminals to the granite quarries at Aswan. That sucks, but I need some evidence of the death penalty. And not just capital punishment- creative capital punishment.

Look no further! Hammurabi’s Code is here!

For those of you who don’t remember good ol’ Hammurabi from high school history, he’s the guy who codified law back in ancient Mesopotamia. Hammurabi was pretty old school when it comes to punishment. The consequence for just about any crime?


Some random examples:

– If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.

– If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.

– If fire break out in a house, and some one who comes to put it out cast his eye upon the property of the owner of the house, and take the property of the master of the house, he shall be thrown into that self-same fire.

Perfect! Okay, maybe not for the poor Mesopotamian being tossed in the fire or buried alive, but perfect hearsay for my little Egyptians. Hammurabi also has some fun laws like using your daughters to pay your debts, but we won’t get into that.

What are you writing or researching this weekend? I hope everyone has a great one!