Doctors in Hammurabi's day might have thought twice before doing surgery on a free Babylonian man. It was worth ten shekels of silver for him if he "made a large incision with a bronze lance and cured a free man, or has opened the abscess (in the eye) with the lance, and saved the eye of the man." If the patient died under the knife, or the eye was put out, the doctor lost both his hands. If the patient was not free, then the malpracticing physician was charged to "render slave for slave." Hammurabi also decreed that house builders who work was shoddy and caused the building to fall and kill its owner were likewise put to death.
The Assyrians, on the other hand, had some of their own "eye-for-an-eye" refinements. Woe to the man who coveted his neighbor's wife:
"If a Senor laid hands on the wife of another Senor, when they have prosecuted him and convicted him, they shall cut off one finger of his. If he has kissed her, they shall draw his lower lip along the blade of an ax and cut it off."
Malicious gossip could be risky, too:
"If a man accuses another man's wife of indecencies, and since he is unable to prove it and prosecute her, they shall flog the man thirty times with staves, and he shall do the work of the king for one month: They shall castrate him, and he shall also pay one talent of blood."
One hopes the final part of this gruesome sentence could be served over time. There were 60 shekels in a mina and 60 minas in a talent. The ancient Sumerian Talent is estimated at about 28.8 kg (about 63.5 lb). Our gossip would have to bleed out nearly eight times to pay one talent of blood.