What was the role of women according to Hammurabi's code?

The role of women according to Hammurabi's code was a subordinate one. For instance, married women essentially belonged to their husbands, as did whatever property they brought with them to the marriage. Women were also controlled by strict laws concerning adultery, under which adulterous women would be tied together with their lovers and drowned.

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Like all ancient laws, the laws contained within the Code of Hammurabi were written by men largely for the benefit of men. As such, women were placed in a subordinate position, lacking in the relative freedoms and responsibilities enjoyed by their menfolk.

In ancient Babylonian society, women were regarded as morally and intellectually inferior to men. Inevitably, this perceived inferiority found its way into the Code of Hammurabi, which to some extent codified certain social mores and practices, many of which involved the subordination of women.

For instance, the Code enshrined in law the social practice of the bride price, by which a bride's family would be compensated for the loss of labor. In effect, a bride would be treated as a piece of property with a specific price attached to her. Indeed, after she got married, the bride would belong to her husband, as if she were his property.

In particular, a married woman's sexuality was her husband's property. Because of this, adultery was...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 856 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 9, 2021