Consider Ma'at, to which the peasant appeals. Is it the same as the "Right and Justice" that Hammurabi claimed to have established in the land, or was it different?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Ma'at and Hammurabi's Code deal with issues of justice, virtue, and social organization. The term ma'at refers to the concepts of balance, truth, and justice. A number of pyramid texts dated around 2300 BCE seem to emphasize and codify this concept. Those documents have come to be known as the "Ma'at Codes." However, it is not clear that the texts were designed to express law. It could be the case that these codes were more akin to scriptures; that they were aphorisms about how a virtuous person should behave. Hammurabi's code dates to 1771 BCE and is a clear codification of law. In this sense, the two are not the same. Hammurabi's code was the law of the land and breaking that law was punishable. The two "codes" are similar in that they address issues of justice and personal integrity, however they did not serve the same purpose in their respective societies.

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