Codex Hammurabi

The oldest laws in the world

In front of the Iraqi embassy is a copy of the stone slab inscribed with the Codex Hammurabi – the oldest legal code in the world. King Hammurabi reigned over Babylon (in present-day Iraq) from 1792 to 1750 BC. One of the 282 laws chiselled into the slab relates to building standards. If a house collapses and kills the owner, the builder of the house is to be put to death. If the owner’s son is killed, the son of the builder is to be executed. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…