World City Homework
World City Homework Assignment #2
The society and family life was patriarchal and men had various responsibilities towards their families. The laws concerned instructions on how to deal with issues such as divorce and infidelity in marriage. Women had certain rights and privileges in the home. They were allowed to own property and work on the land. Men who separated from their wives and children had to pay the wife dowry and share part of their fields and property with them. This was done so that the woman can find a way of bringing up her children. Women who had been divorced were allowed to marry the men they wished when they were done bringing up their children. Men who separated from their childless wives had to give them back their dowry and purchase money as well as gifts of release. Women who neglected their husbands and households were punished.
Although the law allowed men to get second wives, priority was often given to the first wife. The laws accorded men many responsibilities towards their wives. They were required to take care of them and provide for them. For instance, men who took other wives were required to continue maintaining their first wives. The laws did not recognize daughters in terms of owning property. Instead, priority was given to the sons in the household. Men could choose to disinherit their children as a way of punishing them for bad behavior. However, judges were involved in making the final decisions concerning such serious issues. Sexual crimes were punished and incest was punishable by death.
The epic of Gilgamesh is a fictitious story detailing different aspects of how the people lived. The story describes the relationships between humans and gods. At the time, gods and humans communicated with each other. People had accepted the presence of supernatural beings in their midst. Although the gods had power, they controlled it most of the times and they did not use it to oppress the humans. Reading the fictitious narrations in the story offers a different perspective of how the people lived. One is able to see how they applied the laws in the land and how they felt about them. The people of Uruk cried out to the gods to end the oppression of Gilgamesh. He took advantage of his strength and authority to oppress the people. The fictitious narrations enable one to see how the law was applied. It is clear from the epic that the laws of the land applied to people differently, since Gilgamesh was able to get away with committing crime and oppressing people.
Legal documents provide instructions of how the people are supposed to live. They act as guidelines on behavior and moral conduct. They do not detail people’s experiences when following the rules. In addition, they do not contain accounts of the consequences of following the written laws. By reading fiction, one gets to read the experiences of the people and their sentiments concerning the established laws. This is not possible in legal documents, as they do not contain people’s personal accounts of their experiences. The fictional accounts also enable one to understand the challenges and difficulties encountered when following laws. They highlight the impossible nature of the law. For instance, the code of Hammurabi considers death as the main form of punishment for many of the crimes committed. However, this would be impossible to achieve in real life considering that many people in the society end up committing crimes that are worthy of death.
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