World History

Han Fei Tzu’s Memorials and Justinian I’s Code
By Christian Brown

            In the earliest of days, law and religious codes existed throughout Egypt and Mesopotamia that implied acceptable behavior. By the time Common Era begins, civilizations worldwide have had a millennium or more to learn from their mistakes as well as the mistakes of others. While the original codes were presented in a fairly primitive, rigid form and served the purpose of maintaining order and stability within society, the documents emerging from China, Rome, Persia, and others near the start of Common Era take on a different form. They are at times more subject specific and explain the acceptable conduct of just one important situation, such as marriage. Furthermore, these more modern documents are written in a much more objective manner; moreover, rather than demanding that the people sacrifice a goat, it may just be suggested or recorded as a viable tactic used at some point in the past. This metamorphosis does not necessarily speak to the development of human intellectual thought, but it does illustrate the change in nature of relationship between educated code-writers and the common citizen. No longer is the code written in a form that deceives the people to behave for the gods, rather the author has analyzed the past and rationalized a set of suggested directions for the present. Although supernatural beings are still mentioned and inevitably incorporated into some of these writings, they are no longer the primary focus nor are they the source of the overlying message. Two prime examples of texts produced near the beginning of Common Era that fit this format are Han Fei Tzu’s Memorials and Justinian I’s Code. Despite their shift to modern formats, these two documents do exhibit major differences as well. While Memorials and Code both warn against taboos while discriminating against women, Memorials is far more objective and descriptive than Code.
            First, let us examine some commonalities between Memorials, which emerged from China around 230 BCE, and Code, which emerged from the Byzantine Empire around 550 CE. The most transparent similarity between these texts is that both express taboos and warn against them in some way. For instance, Memorials states that if a ruler is greedy and fond of grain, the ruin of an empire or political entity is possible (Kishlansky, Memorials, 96). Clearly, Han Fei Tzu has a knowledge of rulers of the past and has noticed a pattern within them; when a ruler keeps too much of the food or profits for himself, the state is not stable. Similarly, Code states that if a woman lives as a concubine with anyone other than her patron that she lacks the character of the mother of the household (Kishlanksy, Code, 117). Just as Han Fei Tzu noticed a pattern between greedy rulers and political collapse, Justinian I noticed a pattern between actions of the concubine affecting the collapse of a marriage or even a household. What is a household in this time in history if not a microcosm of a regime? The husband is the ruler, the mother the provider and redistributor of collected goods, and the children the laborers, subjects, and future rulers or providers themselves. Justinian I is saying that just as a misbehaved ruler can start down a slippery slope to the collapse of his state, a misbehaved concubine can start down a slippery slope to the collapse of her household.
            Another striking similarity between Memorials and Code is their reference to females and their implications of their capabilities and societal-worth. Both seem to consider women as irrational burdens to a household or society that need not be educated because they do not retain the capacity to learn as men. For example, Han Fei Tzu writes, “If words of maids and concubines are followed…then ruin is possible” (Kishlansky, Memorials, 97). This statement makes it clear how men and rulers should consider the wishes and suggestions of their wives or concubines. Han Fei Tzu suggests that a ruler taking advice from or taking action in order to please his wife is dangerous enough to collapse an entire state system. This speaks load and clear about what Chinese civilization thought about women at that time and how dangerous their ignorance could be. Justinian I’s Code also expresses this gender discrimination when it discusses providing for other family members. In addition to caring for fathers and paternal relatives, the document states that a judge will determine whether the maternal line must be provided for or not (Kishlansky, Code, 118). In a world in which women are forced to be dependent upon men, the law is still unclear about who should provide for them. Furthermore, the men in a woman’s family must be forced by a judge to feed that woman, rather than feeding her based on love or respect. Clearly, the women in this society are nothing more than a burden of dependence due to their inability to be educated.  
            While similarities between these two documents can be found, they are from two completely different parts of the world with nearly seven centuries between them; moreover, there is a multitude of differences between Memorials and Code. First, Memorials is much more objective than Code. This is particularly interesting because most people would consider objective, unbiased thought to be more progressive, yet it is notable in the document from 230 BCE but not notable in Code, written 700 years later. Han Fei Tzu achieves such objectivity by never making any specific claims and never directly instructing the actions of anyone. He simply observes states of the past, records patterns associated with their collapse, and puts these recordings down in a document so that citizens and rulers alike can read through and see how likely it is for their state system to fail in the near future. There are two major considerations that make this document so objective. First, Han Fei Tzu never states that ruin will follow something, only that when something exists or occurs that ruin is possible. Second, he never states whether ruin is good or bad. Should Han Fei Tzu define ruin as bad and then go on to recite all things that make ruin possible, then it could be argued that he is listing instructions for rulers in a sarcastic way. However, the fact the he does not define the nature of ruin eliminates the chance of this accusation. For instance, Han Fei Tzu warns that if chief vassals gain too much power and begin administering state affairs on their own authority, then ruin is possible (Kishlanksy, Memorials, 98). He did not say that over-powerful chief vassals will definitely lead to ruin, nor did he say that ruin is a negative thing; he simply observed a correlation between powerful chief vassals and political collapse and reiterated this message to the king and the people. In contrast, Justinian I does not hesitate to give an order or two. For instance, Justinian I writes that a woman accused of adultery cannot marry during the lifetime of her husband, even before conviction (Kishlanksy, Code, 117). The difference here is clear; Justinian is not objectively stating that remarrying within their husband’s lifetime could lead to some event, he is using prudence and realizing that bad things have happened in that situation before thus he forbids it with a law. Similarly, he states, “An emancipated son can marry without his father’s consent, and any son he has will be his heir” (Kishlansky, Code, 117). Again, Justinian I is not objectively suggesting that an emancipated son may take a wife without paternal consent, he is stating it clearly in written law that no father can deny consent to an emancipated son and no emancipated son need consult their father. Perhaps the explanation for two differences lies within the societal position that each author filled; Han Fei Tzu was only a prince under a king and thus probably took a more humble approach to recording the patterns he observed while Justinian I was emperor and was probably more comfortable and justified in giving commands.
            Finally, Han Fei Tzu’s Memorials and Justinian I’s Code differ in that Memorials covered all of the various aspects that could affect a king’s regime including politics, religion, social behavior, international relations, and economics. In contrast, Code considers marriage and divorce but rarely considers any outside issues. For example, Han Fei Tzu states that if a state’s ministers are more powerful than the ruler; moreover, if religion is brought to politics in place of a weak king, then ruin is possible (Kishlansky, Memorials, 95). Then, in the very next line, Han Fei Tzu jumps from religious cues that an empire is failing to international affairs. He states that if a ruler disregards defense works within the boundaries and relies on foreign friendship and support, then ruin is possible (Kishlansky, Memorials, 95). Han Fei Tzu even gets down to the attitudes of the people involved. For instance, he states that a ruler needs to be humble at times to prevent ruin but if the queen is humble while the concubine is noble, then ruin is possible (Kishlansky, Memorials, 96, 98). While Memorials is far more descriptive and inspects the very attitudes of the humans involved, Code simply lists the laws of marriage and what should occur if they are broken. Moreover, Justinian I did not take the time to inspect failed marriages and divorce on a level that incorporates the humility or selfishness of husbands or wives. For example, he writes that things done or said in anger are not effective in initiating divorce until these actions or words persist to represent their considered opinion as whole (Kishlansky, Code, 118). Notice that Justinian I talk about the effect that anger has upon a marriage or how it can lead to ruin, he simply defines how divorce can occur legally. In short, Code was written as a reference for the citizens so that they would know how to marry and divorce and under what circumstances while Memorials goes a bit deeper to investigate nearly invisible things that can rot a kingdom from the inside out.
            In conclusion, Memorials and Code can both be used to find the best course of action, whether it is for a ruler or citizen, and both express gender discrimination. However, Memorials is far more objective than Code and covers a broader range of materials while investigating them all on a deeper level than Code. Han Fei Tzu, while impressing the modern world with his unbiased approach to writing, still emphasizes the short-comings of women and implies that a ruler’s wife is just that, a wife. She is not to a consultant and her wishes are not to be considered when making a decision for the state. This contrasts with the modern world in which a candidate’s wife must show that she is strong, well-educated, and stable so that the people will feel comfortable that their ruler can consult and confide in her. Justinian I proves that the status of women has not improved by the 6th century CE when he inadvertently shows his audience that men must bicker between one another in the presence of a judge to decide who should bear the burden of feeding these uneducated creatures known as women. Finally, Han Fei Tzu provides a warning list for the collapse of a political system and gets down to the attitudes of the people involved in order to list possible ways to prevent the ship from sinking. On the contrary, Justinian I in his Code has essentially accepted the fact that the marriage ship is going to sink from time to time and has published a handbook on standard sinking procedure, if you will. At the end of the day, both documents were helpful to people in their time as well as to historians today assigned the task of analyzing past civilizations with minimal clues. When these documents were written, they were not censored for readers of the 21st century; moreover, these documents have not been elaborated to impress anyone or preserve the integrity of these ancient civilizations. It is texts like these that give historians a fly-on-the-wall perspective into what society was really like.

Literature Cited
Mark Kishlansky, compil., Memorials (Boston, MA, 2007), 95-98.
Mark Kishlansky, compil., Code (Boston, MA, 2007), 116-119.

Law of Greece and Rome

By Delaney Howson

            On The Laws and Politics were two pieces of writing from the philosophers Aristotle and Cicero.  These writings and opinions were separated by over 200 years, but their purpose was to discuss how law should be established in order to govern the people and create a great city.  The difference between these pieces of writing from Greece and Rome was their decision to use civil law or natural law to govern the people.  In our world today we are punishable by civil law, but use natural law as a way to keep ourselves in control where civil law does not apply.  For this time however, bringing civil and natural law together did not seem feasible and was thought to cause to much confusion for the people. 
            Politics by Aristotle works to establish laws for the government based upon rule and reason.  Aristotle, of Greece, was the first philosopher to explore the basic forms of government and to discuss their inherent strengths and weaknesses. [1]  This piece of work from the Sources of World History works to lay out how to become a great state, by establishing laws and limits to make sure the city is well defined.  Aristotle believes that through civil law and well-defined plans a city can become great.
The first main point that Aristotle establishes is the point of citizenship.  “For all of the states which appear well governed, we find not one where the rights of a citizen are laid open to the entire multitude.” [2] Aristotle believes that a city should include slaves, sojourners and foreigners.  If every person were to be a citizen, every person would have equal rights, creating a lack of contrast between the people.  This civil law that Aristotle establishes needed to be put in place because he believed that a large population did not always mean that the city would be great.  As a city could become to big with too many citizens Aristotle encourages, through civil law, the definition of a citizen to only include a certain group of people.  Aristotle was establishing the civil laws in order to make Greece a great state, with great cities, not just average ones.
 The second main point that Aristotle establishes is the point of military and city protection.  As Aristotle wrote “one that is too small has not in itself the power of self-defense, but this power is essential to a city; one that is too large is capable of self-defense in what is necessary, in the same way as a nation, but then it is not a city.”[3]  Aristotle establishes that a city with too big of a military is no longer a city, but a nation and one that has a military that is too small is unable to protect its inhabitants.  This theory follows the idea that an empire could get to big for its own good if everything within it grows out of control.  With the establishment of laws to put a set limit on the size of the military, the city avoids getting to strong and powerful for its own good.  The size of the military and how much money and goods put into it is laid out by the governing party.  The planning and precision of the military is important as it makes their strength grow without increasing the size of the military itself. Aristotle uses civil law to ensure that the cities military is big enough to provide protection and give the citizens enough peace of mind to be happy and live free.  
On The Laws by Cicero works to incorporate the viewpoints of Greek philosophy in the Roman world, with the exception that natural law should rule instead of civil law.  As Cicero writes, the true nature of justice must be traced back to the nature of man. [4] This means that the actions of man are what decide the nature of justice.  Man is encouraged to do what is right in the eyes of God and the idea of what is right and wrong will govern mans actions.  This piece of writing looks more at the natural code of law.  Each person is taught what is right and wrong, based on what actions are defined as good or bad.  Actions of a person are judged by their own self-conscious and then they are punishable by their God and themselves. 
The main point that Cicero discusses in his writing is that there is no better connection than that between God and man.  He writes, “Man is born for justice, and that law and equity have not be established by opinion, but by nature.”[5] The relationship that a man has with God allows him to establish his own good and right laws.  With God, natural law is created, which guides man to act the right way and do the right thing.  Also, Cicero says states that men by nature love justice and equity.[6] Cicero has the idea that men are born with good intentions and that it is “not like a good man to make a mistake.”[7] Justice is brought upon a man by themselves verses a justice system because men are inherently born good and will strive not to make mistakes. This idea directly contrasts with Aristotle’s opinion, as he believes man should be governed by civil law, which applies a set of rules for which a citizen must follow. Aristotle’s opinion may seem harsh in the way that a punishment is set forth for breaking a law, but Cicero’s opinion may not be instilled in all men and chaos could ensue as there is no set rules for those men that might have bad instincts.
The second point that Cicero brings up is that the definition given to man can be applicable to the whole human race.[8]   This statement gives the idea to the reader that every person is created equal, with equal rights and equal opportunity.  The problem with the definition given by Cicero is that not all men are created the same way.  Cicero fails to define the boundaries of man, as his natural law says there is no dissimilarity among men. The lack of definition of man could give anyone the opinion that they could rule the great city or take over another place when they do not have any capabilities to do so. This idea is completely different than Aristotle’s as his writings say that there is division between men and that everyone is different.  Aristotle does not give the definition of man, but outlines that there must be a definition of a citizen, where some are excluded to create separation.  As state earlier a great city must have slaves, sojourners and foreigners along with citizens.  This separation allows leaders to emerge and the weak to fall off.  Aristotle’s civil law works to create a great city based on laws and boundaries, while Cicero’s natural law works to trust the good of man to create a great city.
Based on the points discussed by Aristotle and Cicero, the planning and development of the Greece Empire in Aristotle’s mind is to be exact, while Cicero believes that the good of people will rule the Roman Empire.  Aristotle establishes civil law.  A city must establish points such as size, citizenship, military and most importantly a civil and criminal court. [9] Aristotle does not disprove the theory that all men are good, but he applies a back up to the fact that some men will not be good.  He uses civil law to guide the citizens and establish rules to create a great city.  Cicero, as a true philosopher, believes in the good of man.  He has the idea that all men are inherently born to do the right thing and that those who make mistakes are unjust and wicked.[10]  Cicero believes that the most important relationship man can have is that with God and that the definition of man can be applicable to the whole human race. Cicero has the opinion that natural law should govern the people of Rome after seeing how civil law governed the people of Greece in Aristotle’s time, about 200 years earlier.  These philosophers had the same idea of wanting to create great cities, but had different ideas on how they should be governed.  Aristotle wanted Greece to be run based on civil law, while Cicero wanted Rome to be run based on natural law. 

Kishlansky, Mark. On The Laws: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth,
Kishansky, Mark. Politics: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth, 2007.

[1] Mark, Kishlansky. Politics: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth, 2007. 62-64.
[2] IBID, 63.
[3] Kishlansky. Politics. 63.
[4] Mark, Kishlansky. On The Laws: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth, 2007. 100-103.
[5] Kishlansky. On The Laws. 102.
[6] IBID, 103.
[7] IBID, 103.
[8] Kishlansky. On The Laws. 102.
[9] Kishlansky. Politics. 64.
[10] Kishlansky. On The Laws. 101.

The Codes of the Ancient World 
By Delaney Howson

The Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead were two very influential social codes of ancient civilization.  These codes may have occurred in different time periods, but their overall purpose to control was the same. The Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead were completely different social codes in their appearance, but there underlying messages managed to work in the same way by keeping the citizens of Mesopotamia and Egypt under control.  To our world today, these codes may seem harsh and unreasonable, but in these ancient civilizations they were a way of life that everyone chose to adhere to or face the consequences.
The Code of Hammurabi was a legal code from the 18th Century BCE and was the first law code in western history. [1] The basis of the Code of Hammurabi was to unify the citizens of Mesopotamia who were located along the Euphrates River.  Since this was a legal code, if the rules that were established within it were broken, the person at fault was summoned to the river.  If they survived the river, they were considered not guilty, if they died then the accused was considered guilty.  This code was put in place to protect and keep the civilians of Mesopotamia under control. 
The Book of the Dead was a social code that determined a person’s fate in the afterlife.  This code was from the 16th Century BCE and was 200 chapters in length.  According to the Egyptians, evil will not follow them if they follow this social code. [2] The basis of the code was to ensure that a person had a good afterlife.  If they followed the rules they would be accepted by the heavens.  An Egyptians status once they were accepted was determined by how well they followed the rules.  Many of the laws in this code showed the respect level that the Egyptians carried for one another.  For instance one code that stood out among the rest was that civilians were not able to wade in the water, which was probably due to the fact that the water was for drinking. [3]  With this specific law code, the encouragement for respect was shown and strived for among the citizens.
The highlighted similarity between the Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead is that they both work to keep the citizens under control.  The laws and ideas proposed encourage good behavior and respect or else there will be specific consequences.  The first law that is similar in both codes is the law to treat all cattle with respect as they are feeding the population.  Specifically in The Book of the Dead its citizens are not allowed to mistreat their cattle or force the cattle from where they graze. [4] A law similar to this was also stated in the Code of Hammurabi and if found to be guilty, the accused has to pay for what they have stolen at an increased rate or be put to death. The penalty in the Code of Hammurabi is strict to encourage the stealing of cattle not to happen.  Both The Book of the Dead and the Code of Hammurabi place high importance on their animals for survival and this is shown in their presence in the laws that the citizens abide by.
The interesting thing about the law of how cattle should be handled from both of the codes is that the church is mentioned.  The power of the gods over the people of Egypt and Mesopotamia is taken very seriously.  This is seen several times in all of the laws that are mentioned.  In the Code of Hammurabi, the laws are longer because each of them has a separate punishment if the crime is committed towards the church.  In The Book of the Dead, the laws are shorter, but laws are repeated when they could involve the church.  Although these two codes are not religious in nature, the religious aspect of life in Egypt and Mesopotamia is seen and shows how much control the gods have over the citizens and how this control works to keep the citizens from acting out. 
The second similar law that was noticed between both of the codes was the respect level given to boys and girls.  As children are immature and physically smaller than the adults, these laws seem to have been put in place to protect them from being taken advantage of.  In the Code of Hammurabi the rule that protects young girls says that her father is not allowed to have intercourse with her.[5]  In today’s society, this law would seem to be accustom to everyone, but in Mesopotamia and earlier civilizations this way of thinking was not established. In The Book of the Dead the rule that protects children states that a person will not have intercourse with a boy.[6] Again this rule protects a child from being taking advantage of.  The laws in both of these codes work to control the citizens, by providing them with an unpleasant outcome if the laws are broken. 
The main difference between the Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead is seen in the way the laws are written.  The laws in the Code of Hammurabi are much longer and drawn out.  This forces the reader to look for the true meaning of the law and find out exactly what they are not supposed to do.  The laws in The Book of the Dead are short and to the point.  What a person is not to do is right in front of them with no searching required to find the meaning.  These two codes in general are very similar with their basic rules.  The codes work to make the citizens of Egypt and Mesopotamia respect the earth, the food, property, and the other citizens.  By getting the citizens to respect all these elements of their society, the codes have control over the citizen’s actions.
The second difference that is seen between the codes is the way the laws are enforced.  In the Code of Hammurabi, if the laws are broken severe punishment is given to the one who has committed the crime.  These punishments range from having to pay a certain amount, to being thrown into a river and seeing if the citizen can survive.  In The Book of the Dead the punishment is not seen until the accused dies.  Whether the person follows the rules or not determines their well being in the afterlife.  This type of punishment is interesting because it is all self-motivated. If a person in Egypt chooses to follow this code it signifies that they want a good afterlife.  The difference in the two codes does not change the fact that the Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead have control over the lives of those in Mesopotamia and Egypt.  Even though Egypt does not punish those that break the laws, they are fearful of being mistreated in the afterlife, so they abide by the laws anyways. 
In today’s society, as we read the Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead, the initial reaction is to think that these laws are silly and that most of them are naturally engrained in our minds.  To the people of Egypt and Mesopotamia; these laws were put in place because the thought of being violent towards one another or hurting a child was something that could happen.  The Code of Hammurabi and The Book of the Dead may seem quite different in their appearance, but as one looks deeper into each of the laws, they see that these codes had the same basis and many of the same laws.  The overall theme of control was prevalent in these two codes and this was achieved by having a punishment offered to those who chose to break the laws. Although the punishments, especially in the Code of Hammurabi, seem harsh they worked to keep the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia controlled.  The codes worked to establish control within these growing civilizations and to ensure that property, the earth, the food and other people were treated with respect. 

Kishlansky, Mark. The Book of the Dead: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth,
Kishansky, Mark. The Code of Hammurabi: Sources of World History. Massachusetts:
Wadsworth, 2007.

[1] Mark, Kishlansky. Code of Hammurabi: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth, 2007. 29-32.
[2] Mark, Kishlansky. The Book of the Dead: Sources of World History. Massachusetts: Wadsworth, 2007. 33-36.
[3] Kishlansky. The Book of the Dead. 35.
[4] IBID, 33.
[5] Kishlanksy. Code of Hammurabi. 32.
[6] Kishlansky. The Book of the Dead. 33.

In Favor of a Tiger
By Tawni Miller

“…a woman, though born like a mouse may, it is feared, become a tiger,” this statement is made by Pan Chao in her written work, Lessons for Women. [1] When one thinks of a woman who is “like a mouse,” qualities like quiet, small and defenseless come to mind. Then one may, in contrast, assign qualities like fierce, strong, and independent to a woman in the likeness of a tiger. The United States culture we are submerged in today would most certainly be in favor of the latter. However, it is clear that in the context of this quote independent women were something to be “feared.”  History shows us that fear is, more often than not, a reaction to something unfamiliar. Indeed, many ancient societies were unaccustomed to the thought of powerful females. This paper will discuss four documents: Precepts of Social Life, Code, Lessons for Women, and The Republic, which demonstrate to what degree women were estranged to independence. These documents, although differing in origin and intent, all portray cultural concepts that oppress the female sex through their objectification and slander of mental ability.
Precepts of Social Life is, more or less a conduct book. It was written by YUAN TS’AI around the year 1178 C.E. in Asia. It is clearly intended to encourage men to take care of women. In a positive light this book does attempt to sympathize with women. However, the author’s view of women is condescending and is extremely misguided. He discusses the importance of mental support for a woman to be provided by her son or grandson as she ages and the difficulties she faces when attempting to handle her finances without help. It is evident that he is proud of himself for defending these frail women he describes.[2]  
The Code of Justinian I was introduced by Byzantine emperor, Justinian I, in 529 C.E and was enforced until 565C.E. Justinian, himself, was born a peasant, but his uncle after working his way up in the military was eventually made emperor. This uncle had no heir and decided Justinian would fill this role.  Justinian, after inheriting the role of emperor, focused on two goals. These goals were to expand his borders and reform the civil administration. He was most successful in reforming the civil administration. A great deal of contradicting laws existed when Justinian took over and Code was written in order to eliminate these contradictions.  The excerpt present in Mark A. Kishlansky’s Sources of World History deals specifically with laws regarding women in relations to marriage, divorce, and adultery.[3]
Lessons for Women was written by Pan Chao around the year 99C.E. in China. It was written as a letter intended for not only her daughters’ eyes but as a message to all women of her time. Out of all four of the documents discussed in this paper, Lessons for women is the most shocking, simply because its oppressive content was written by a woman. She is, by far, the most severe on her sex. Her writing goes so far as to justify the physical abuse of a wife. She describes in detail the proper place of a woman, the ideal traits one should possess, and also how to instill this understanding into young girls. She glorifies the image of a woman with limited opinions and wit.[4] This is particularly ironic, when one considers the literary education she received and how well this piece of work is organized.[5]
The Republic was written by Plato around 327 B.C. in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon. These two Greek philosophers are meant to be discussing the make –up of a perfect government. This specific piece of The Republic addresses the education of women. Questions were addressed, which concerned which subjects they were to be educated in and to what extent. These issues were broken down through the use of argumentative rhetoric. Greece is well-known for having a patriarchal society. So, it is not surprising that this document is based in the idea that women could not excel in activities which were generally associated with men, such as music and military.[6] The conclusion that women should be educated to the same extent as men, however, is very progressive for this time in Greece.[7]
The most noticeable differences between these documents are related to their origin and tone. It should be fairly easy with the information provided in this paper, to ascertain that these documents come from three separate cultures and were all four written at differing times in history. Also, the tone and/or purpose of the documents vary, as well.  Lessons for Women and Precepts of Social Life are both written for the purpose of instructing individuals on how to behave socially. While, The Code is a piece of legislation and The Republic is a philosophical argument. Simply based on this knowledge, one would believe them to have very little in common. This assumption is incorrect because they all share similar views on women.
It is important to note a few differences in the cultural views of these documents concerning a divorced woman’s right to remarry and the education of women. Code does not completely deprive a woman of the right to remarry. As long as she did not commit adultery, she is free to remarry whenever she pleases. However, if she did commit adultery she is not allowed to remarry as long as her ex-husband is alive.[8] Although this may be viewed by people of the twenty first century as restrictive, Chao’s work, Lessons for Women, references a legal document, to which the reader was to abide by, denied a woman the right to ever remarry.[9] An education was also a right of which women were deprived. Actually, The Republic, Precepts of Social Life, and Lessons for Women claim to support education for females. The reasons for this tend to differ, and in one case does not seem to be presented in the document at all. Plato’s work argues that when women are educated in Mathematics and Reading they are better prepared to handle family finances.[10] The Republic decides that their education would lead to societies reaching their full potential.[11] Finally, Chao hints at support for women’s education and then later contradicts herself by insisting that “womanly words” should not be clever or opinionated.[12]  This raises the question as to why one would need an education if they did not intend to use it?
            As previously mentioned there are two themes these articles share, one of which is the objectification of women through an emphasis on their physical appearance, physical ability and sexuality. Chao, specifically, addresses the importance of physical beauty as a quality of the perfect female.[13] Code and Precepts of Social Life both demonstrate how a woman’s identity was directly tied to both with whom she is having sexual relations and the result of those relations: her children. The Code of Justinian I labels women with relations to their marital status and with whom they are having sexual relations. Those having sex with their husbands are considered wives. Those who had sex with someone other than their husband are adulterers. Those not having sex with anyone are daughters, and those having sex with a married man are concubines.[14] While, Ts’ai puts the financial wellbeing of woman under the responsibilities of their parents, husbands, sons, and grandsons.[15] The Republic spends the majority of the excerpt wrestling with the fact that women are physically weaker than men and how the same education can be justified if physical differences result in separate skills. [16] These separate roles were often closely tied to the woman’s ability to bare children. This resulted in here caring for the children and minding jobs in the home sphere. Consequently, they were seen by Plato as possessing a natural talent for chores like making pancakes and preserving fruits.[17] However, physical capabilities do not account for all the areas in which women were underestimated.
Code and Pretenses of Social Life both, through the depiction of women as emotionally frail or mentally unstable, slander their mental ability. TS’AI, as good as his intentions may have been, portrayed females as incapable of coping with aging, as well as their finances.[18] He explains that because they need to rely on someone else to provide for them as they get older, ageing can result in a great deal of stress.[19] Not many would find that sort of situation stress free, but it is the condescending tone he uses when describing these “helpless” wives and mothers that is particularly insulting.[20] Not once does TS’AI suggest that a change be made to this social system that does not readily allow a woman the independence to support herself. The notion that a woman is more susceptible to mental illness was implied in Code, when the question as to whether or not a crazy woman can decide to divorce her husband is posed. The answer given was that of course she would not able to do so because she was not in proper mental health. It is important to note that an example of a man being mentally unwell is not given.[21] From this we can conclude a bias is present in that it is a more popular notion that the woman would be the one to go mad.
Finally, the necessity and ability of the educated women is grossly underestimated, by both Plato and Chao. Plato, through the voices of Socrates and Glaucon, although in favor of the education of women, clearly states that they would never parallel men in intellectual areas such as music.[22] Today this notion of males be intellectually superior is all but forgotten. Now that the same educational opportunities are being provided to women today, at least here in the US, it is clear that Plato was incorrect in his assumption. Chao, also, plays a part in this misunderstanding of opportunity which would develop out of equal opportunity education. As mentioned before, she did pose a question as to why women were not to be educated to the same extent as men, but she, like Plato, did not anticipate equal understanding of material. This is evident when she refers to herself as being, “by nature stupid.”[23] She goes on to discuss Yen Tau, a holy man, who was praised by Confucius for not making the same mistake twice and then remarks, “(In comparison to him) a woman is the more likely (to make mistakes.)”[24] She obviously views her sex as inferior in all capabilities.
The belittlement of the female mind and emphasis placed on a female’s body resulted from patriarchal cultural concepts, which had a clear impact on the authors of all four of these documents regardless of difference in origin and purpose. What led to this secondary status of women? It may be the case that the view of women as caregivers was unjustly equivocated to emotional weakness and therefore tied to dependency. Whatever the reason, the notion was not an unpopular one and is clearly present in the different cultures represented by these four documents. They should serve as a reminder to women who are now allowed equal education and opportunity of just how valuable it is. Let them appreciate the opportunity to become a woman who is in the likeness of a tiger, rather than a mouse.


Kishlansky, Mark A. Sources of World History : Readings for World Civilizations. California: Wadsworth, 2012. 57-61, 116-119, 158-163, 179-181.


[1] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History: Readings for World Civilization, California: Wadsworth, 2012, 160.
[2] Ibid, 179.
[3] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 116.
[4] Ibid, 161.
[5] Ibid, 158.
[6] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 58.
[7] Ibid, 57.
[8] Ibid, 117.
[9] Ibid, 161.
[10] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 180.
[11] Ibid, 60.
[12] Ibid, 160.
[13] Ibid, 163.
[14] Ibid, 116-119.
[15] Ibid, 180.
[16] Ibid, 58-59.
[17] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 60.
[18] Ibid, 179-180.
[19] Ibid, 180.
[20]  Ibid, 179.
[21] Ibid, 118.
[22] Ibid, 58.
[23] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 158.
[24] Ibid, 162.

Legislation and Divine Inspiration: the Code of Hammurabi and the Book of the Dead

By Tawni Miller
What is the relationship between religious and legal laws? There are several answers to this question. However, the one this paper will be exploring is in regards to what is encouraged and what is considered taboo according to two ancient texts. These two documents are the Egyptians’ Book of the Dead and the Mesopotamians’ Code of Hammurabi. Both of these texts give modern day historians an idea of what was of regular social occurrence in these civilizations. The content of these writings differ in many aspects, some as a result of cultural differences and others because one is a religious document, while the other is a piece of legislation. When comparing the Code of Hammurabi to the Book of the Dead, similarities can be recognized between their laws, no matter the difference in context and source of the consequences, they both demonstrate common values and means of fulfillment.
Before looking at the content of these documents, it is appropriate to understand some of their history. The Code of Hammurabi was written in Mesopotamia in the 18th century B.C.E. It is a legal document which was issued by King Hammurabi, who is well known as the king who united the Mesopotamian Kingdom. This text includes laws concerning trade, burglary, sexual relations, etc. Also, included is the appropriate consequence for the violation of one of these laws, most of which are death. The Code of Hammurabi is often considered the first law code in western history. Most of the Kings of Mesopotamia issue similar codes when they come to power; this is simply the oldest surviving one.[1]
The Book of the Dead was assembled around 16th century B.C.E. in Egypt.  It contains both prayers and spells concerning the dead. Some of its ideas date back as far as 2400 B.C.E. It includes details for burial, as well as, information used by the dead individual. A copy of this text is meant to be buried with the body to serve as a guide to the afterlife. Although it is intended to be used by the dead, it contains the popular ideal of how individuals are to live their lives. A great deal of this can be determined by what the book considers “sins.”[2]
Some differences in these laws are the result of problems unique to each civilization. It is simple to recognize what laws are present in one of these documents, but are not in the other. For example, in the Book of the Dead, sexual relations with small boys and the pollution of the Nile are addressed, while there is not mention of these in the Code of Hammurabi.[3] Recognizing this was effortless. However, it is necessary for historians to ask why this is the case. After some thought, It can be concluded that these issues were of greater concern in Egypt than in Mesopotamia. This may be because the sexual molestation of boys is not as common in Mesopotamia and there is more than one water source. The Code of Hammurabi has a few unique laws its self, which addressed the harboring of runaway slaves and incest.[4] Again, from this, it can be discerned that these situations which are of common occurrence in Mesopotamia, are not in Egypt. The mere inclusion of a law speaks to the concerns of the society to which it is applied.
The other differences between these two sets of laws can be attributed to the individual values of these civilizations, and the context in which these guidelines were written. One of the greatest examples of a differing value between ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia concerns money.  The Book of the Dead cautions people about how much emphasis they put on the accumulation of money. Usury is specifically mentioned as being forbidden.[5] While the Code of Hammurabi allows for interest to be collected on loans and does, in fact, include details on how exactly it is to be practiced.[6] This difference can also be attributed to the intention of these laws. The Book of the Dead was written with the intention of producing a functioning society, but also, spiritual pure individuals. If taxation of land is legal and an orderly procedure is regularly carried out, there are no large upsets over such this issue, which could be handled legally by a court. The reason ancient Egyptians do not like such a practice results from them recognizing it as an “evil” practice. They view it as unjust and impure. This is a result of religious values, since they feel it is necessary to be pure in order to be successful in the afterlife. Because the Code of Hammurabi was written in a political context, the morality of the practice would be of little concern. With this distinction in mind, another significant difference can be recognized: the administration of consequences for breaking these laws. The Code of Hammurabi is a legally enforced document. The breaking of these laws will result in a worldly punishment. This is assuming an individual is found guilty by the court. Both of these aspects differ from a religious document like the Book of the Dead. When one of these spiritual laws is broken, the guilty individual will not receive a physical punishment. Instead they deal with a delayed consequence in the next life. There is no escaping their punishment, it is inevitable. It is not difficult to see, both systems of punishment affectively enforce order with fear.
Present in the Code of Hammurabi and the Book of the Dead are rules rooted in similar values. These texts forbid murder, lying, and stealing, while encouraging patriotism.[7] Murder, although its definition may vary culturally, is, for the most part, viewed negatively. These two civilizations are no exception. This is result of the value of human life. Another value shared by the Egyptians and Mesopotamians is telling the truth. Lying is presented in the Book of the Dead as impure and according to the Code of Hammurabi, a false testimony or accusation is punishable by death.[8] Stealing is forbidden in these texts and the stealing from the Church or of the property of gods is an even greater crime from the perspective of both cultures.[9] A concept that is viewed as positive by these texts was the demonstration of loyalty to one’s homeland. In the Code of Hammurabi there are specific regulations regarding someone who deserts their city.[10] They may lose their wife, which at the time was considered a man’s property. Simultaneously, the Book of the Dead emphasizes the relationship between an individual and their local god.[11]
The most important similarity between these two sources is that they both rely on social pressure to enforce their ideals. The ideas presented in the Book of the Dead are part of the religious beliefs in ancient Egypt. It provided a moral standard, which others were expected to live by.  Like religious groups do today, the Egyptians would hold one another responsible for living moral lives. If one does not live this way, one will likely be socially ostracized. The Mesopotamians risked the loss of even more than their reputations, if they did not abide by the laws in the Code of Hammurabi. They risked being put to death by the court. However, it is the general public that reported the crimes committed in Mesopotamia, so there is still a form of social pressure involved.
There is a likeness in both the underlying principles and the execution of the laws of the Code of Hammurabi and the Book of the Dead, despite their contrasting view points and implication of punishment. These civilizations are in two separate locations and the Mesopotamians are not functioning under the rule of King Hammurabi until two centuries after the Egyptians put together the Book of the Dead. Somehow, there are still many similarities in the values of these people. Two similarities between religious and legal laws, which are now clear, are the necessity of peer pressure and fear of consequence.

Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World Hirstoy: Readings for World Civilization (California: Wadsworth, 2007) 29.

[1] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History: Readings for World Civilization, California: Wadsworth, 2007, 29.
[2] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 33.
[3] Ibid, 33, 35.
[4] Ibid ,30, 32.
[5] Ibid, 24.
[6] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 30.
[7]Ibid, 30, 31, 34, 35.
[8] Mark A. Kishlansky, Sources of World History, 30, 34.
[9] Ibid, 30, 34.
[10] Ibid, 30.
[11] Ibid, 34.

She’s the Man?
Mark Stublefield

            Women were rarely the topic of interest in the ancient world. Great men are often read about conquering cities, discovering new lands, and uniting empires. Women, on the other hand, only came in at the end of these stories, greeting their brave husbands, sons, and brothers back home. However, two pieces of literature that discuss women and their roles have withstood the test of time and have made it to the present. The first piece is Plato’s well known, The Republic. Plato (428-347 B.C.E.) was a member of a wealthy Athenian family. He was a student of the philosopher Socrates, whose ideas and teaching account for the bulk of Plato’s writings. The Republic, which is considered one of the most important philosophical writings of the Western world at that time, takes the form of a dialogue about how to obtain a perfect society that would be ruled by a philosopher-king who always strives to achieve the Good. One particular section of The Republic documents a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon that presents Plato’s ideas about the proper education of women in the republic.[1] The second piece is Lessons for Women by Pan Chao (ca. 45-116 C.E.). Pan was born into a very important Chinese family who served the courts of the Chinese rulers for generations. Although her father was a scholar, she was educated and trained by her mother in her literary pursuits. Lessons for Women mostly espoused traditional Confucian views, but was presented in a practical form. The work was probably written for her daughters, although Pan Chao hoped it would reach a wider audience.[2] While examining these two writings about women and their role in society, the authors have differing views on the education of women and the social statuses compared to men, but concur on the fact that their roles are equally as important although Plato argues for equality and Pan argues for the traditional inequality of women.
            In The Republic, Plato argues that in order for women to have the same responsibilities and duties as men, they must be educated the same way as men. Plato poses a question and an analogy by asking if dogs are divided into males and females or do they both share equally in the hunting and the keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs or do they leave the males the entire care of the flock and leave the females home under the idea that the bearing and upraising of puppies is enough labor for them.[3] Plato says humans obviously use male and female dogs equally to hunt or keep watch with, in fact, while male dogs typically rely on their strength and agility, female dogs use their stealth to gain an upper hand. So in order for women to assume the same responsibilities of men she must be educated the same way. Although, in Plato’s day, it would have been very unusual at first, the benefits of a women obtaining an education would be numerous. To relate it to modern times, women getting an education in ancient Greece would be like women doing their husband’s or son’s job when they went to fight in World War I. It seemed strange to many at first, but the war might not have been won if it wasn’t for the women’s increased labor on the home front.
            In Lessons for Women, Pan Chao states that a woman’s job in the First Century was to oversee and take care of the household. Although Pan was educated, it was an informal at-home education by her mother. Pan describes how a female was to act according to Chinese tradition. On the third day after birth a baby girl was to be placed below a bed, be given a potsherd in which to play with and have her birth announced to her ancestors.[4] Each one of these actions represented an act of humility. Pan explains that being placed below the bed meant that a girl should always humble herself among others, especially men. The potsherd symbolized that her primary goal was to be industrious. To be announced before the ancestors meant that she should continue the practice of the observance of worship in the home. Pan does not believe women are limited to the home, but that is what women were to do so men could address more important matters and not worry about what happens at home.
            Historically, women have often been perceived inferior to all men regardless of status, but Plato argues that if a woman is the wife of a guardian (aristocracy) and a guardian herself, she is superior to men from lower classes due to the fact that the Greek social structure is class-based. He states the same education that makes a man a good guardian will make a woman a good guardian because their original nature is the same. Since guardians have been brought up better and received a better education than lower class workers such as cobblers, guardians are superior to cobblers, man or woman.[5] This would have been a very bold statement at the time of Plato, but it also made the people of Greece think. The ideas that Plato presents here in The Republic and in his other writing were revolutionary in Ancient Greece.
            Pan Chao never discusses how a woman may be superior to a man, but how a woman should always serve the man, mainly her husband. Serving her husband in a wifely way not only includes the daily house chores and such, but also acting like a woman. Pan gives four “womanly qualifications” that would show humbleness and obedience towards a woman’s husband. The qualifications a woman was to have are womanly virtue, womanly words, womanly bearing and womanly work.[6] These traits meant that a woman was to exhibit modesty, avoid vulgar language, to be clean and bathe regularly and to have whole-hearted devotion to household work. Many of these qualifications would describe a typical “housewife” in modern-day America. Men in Ancient China did not want their wives going out dressed scandalous, using bad language, and unclean and neither do men today.
            Amid all the differences, Plato and Pan Chao did agree on one aspect in their writing and that was despite all the physical differences between males and females, the independent role of each sex in society is vital to the flow of everyday human life. Plato says even though males and females are of different natures, women fall along the same natural lines as men. In The Republic, Plato sarcastically asks if it would be acceptable for only a bald man to be a cobbler and not a hairy man just because they are from different natures.[7] He states that just because these men are different in appearance they should have equal rights to achieve the same pursuits. Therefore, since men and women are of different natures, they should be able to obtain the same pursuits because they are from the same natural lines. Pan Chao in her writings says that men and women are not of the same nature, so they have different characteristics, but because of the Yin and Yang duality, men and women should respect each other.[8] It took both men and women working together in Ancient China to perform their duties such as raising and educating their children. Pan Chao realized that even though women were considered inferior to men, without the woman’s help, the men could not achieve the great things the did. Lessons for Women was written according to Ancient Chinese tradition, but it shows everything that the women were responsible for “behind the scenes.” However, even in the slightest similarity, Plato’s and Pan’s views still differ. Plato believed that women should be educated so they would be seen as equals to man, but Pan, realizing the significance of the woman’s role, still believed that the woman was inferior to the man.
            The philosophical writings of Plato and the traditional works of Pan Chao show the differing outlooks on women in their respective cultures and overall in the Ancient World. Plato was centuries ahead of his time in his Western teachings and philosophies, while Pan Chao was holding on to the past in the deep tradition of China. The innovative philosophy of Plato was evident of the class-based social structure of Greece, but the conservative views of Pan went along with China’s family-based social structure known as familial piety. Both writings have affected the way women are viewed in our society today, while it is disappointing that years later some women are still fighting for equality.

Work Cited
Kishlansky, Mark. Sources of World History, Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012.

[1] Mark Kishlansky. Sources of World History, Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012. 57.
[2] Ibid., 158.
[3] Ibid., 58
[4] Ibid., 159.
[5] Ibid., 61
[6] Ibid., 161
[7] Ibid., 59.
[8] Ibid., 160.

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