WHEN LIFE GENERATES DEATH (LEGALLY)
The Babylonians were a Mesopotamian people; at the age of their maximum expansion, under Hammurabi's dominion (1792-1750 b.C.), they occupated the whole Mesopotamia, the plain where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers flow, the present Iraq. The Babylonian civilization started in the XIX century b.C. and finished in the VI century b.C., when Babylonia became a province of Cyrus's Persian Empire.
Death penalty was still in use among Babylonians, but there was a very important innovation: the appearance of the first written code, the Hammurabi Code. In this code capital punishment is widely provided for crimes such as theft, murder and wrongs at work (i.e.: If a builder builds a house which isn't solid, gives way and kills the householder, this builder must be killed). But it's not rightful though, because a crime against a rich man is considered more serious than a crime against a poor man or a slave.
It is a great achievement, because arbitrariety and subjectivity are deleted, thanks to written laws. But its limit is that it is too circumstantial: in fact it doesn't take a field of similar crimes into consideration, but it lists them in a very precise way.