A Comparative Study of Wage Laws and Medical Crimes in the Code of Hammurabi and Avestaean Texts

Mehrnaz Behroozi, Behrokh Jamali



Fear of illness and the interest in eternal life has been one of the key concerns of human being since the past up to now. The need of all social classes and rulers to medical care services has turned the medical profession to a vital issue for the ruling bodies since time immemorial and for this reason, a certain set of laws have been codified for the protection of the rights of patients and physicians. The monuments remained from the two ancient and neighboring civilizations of Mesopotamia and Iran are an expression of the historical background and lawfulness of the medical profession in this region. The main focus of current research is the differences and similarities of the medical wages and crimes in the Code of Hammurabi and Avestaean texts. Hammurabi, the King of Babylon by codification of certain laws like the right of medication which is referred to as the oldest medical tariff sought to promote the status of the physicians and determined a number of punishments for the medical errors which ranged from fine to mutilation and even the death of the physician. In Ancient Persia medicine was founded on the Zoroastrian doctrines and laid emphasis on the moralism. Avestaean texts refer to the wages and punishments determined for the medical errors based on which most of the punishments were associated with the fine. The library based research shows that the physicians in both civilizations had their own specific rights and social status and were punished by law when they committed medical errors. The Code of Hammurabi is tough on the punishments. The medical laws of Ancient Persia were mostly based on the moral principles. The study of the background of medical laws in ancient civilizations can be seen as an emphasis on the necessity and importance of lawfulness and observation of moral principles in this profession.


Please cite this article as: Jamali B, Behroozi M. A Comparative Study of Wage Laws and Medical Crimes in the Code of Hammurabi and Avestaean Texts. Med Hist J 2018; 10(35): 109-120.


Code of Hammurabi; Avestaean Texts; Medical; Laws; Wage; Crimes

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