Law Code of Eshnunna and Mad Dogs

Law Code of Eshnunna Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Archeological Wonders Government Legends and Legendary People Ethics World History

In the ancient town of Eshnunna—a Sumerian (later Akkadian) town and city-state in Mesopotamia identified today as Tell Asmar in Iraq—people had a code of laws which governed them.  

The image, at the top of this page, depicts the two volumes of the Eshnunna Code.  It is online via the University of Saskatchewan.

Scholars believe that the Laws of Eshnunna pre-date the Code of Hammurabi, although they are not sure by how many years.  The likely date for the Eshnunna Code is sometime in the 20th Century B.C.

One of the laws explicitly deals with the subject of mad dogs, verifying that rabies was a problem thousands of years ago.  The law prescribes what the owner of a rabid dog must pay in compensation:

If a dog is mad and the authorities have brought the fact to the knowledge of its owners; if he does not keep it in, it bites a man and caused his death, then the owner shall pay two thirds of a mina (40 shekels) in silver.  If it bites a slave and causes his death he shall pay fifteen shekels of silver.

This map depicts the location of Eshnunna in ancient Mesopotamia.

Click on the top image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image of the "Laws of Eshnunna," online via University of Saskatchewan.


Image of votive statues, found at Eshnunna (moder Tell Amar in Iraq), online via Wikimieda Commons.


Map depicting location of Eshnunna, in ancient Mesopotamia, by "Mapmaster." Online via Wikimedia Commons; license CC BY-SA 4.0


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"Law Code of Eshnunna and Mad Dogs" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 13, 2014. Jun 05, 2020.
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