RULE OF LAWS


RULE OF LAWS

FERNANDA PIRIE    Book Number: 92404    Product format: Hardback

The oldest laws were created in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq. In the 3rd millennium BCE, the King of Ur ordered his scribes to write out a code of laws on a clay tablet. Several centuries later, warlike leaders in central China inscribed ideograms onto bamboo strips and bronze vessels, which set out long lists of crimes and punishments. Meanwhile Indian scholars were crafting ritual texts based on the ancient wisdom of the Vedas. In the meantime legal techniques travelled, inspiring kings and rulers with quite different ambitions and were also taken up in much more local contexts by princes, counsels, villages and tribesmen. Hindu, Jewish, Islamic and Christian scholars all made detailed and extensive laws as they developed their traditions. The epic story of how humans have used laws to forge civilisations looks at the rise and fall of sophisticated legal systems underpinning ancient empires and also shows how common people - tribal assemblies, merchants, farmers - have called on laws to define their communities, regulate trade, categorise households, levy taxes, raise armies, regulate social behaviour, resolve disputes and resist outsiders. But people have also quoted laws to challenge government decisions, resist abuses of power and seek justice. The US Constitution soon acquired a mythic aura as a symbol of the union's ideals and aspirations. Although legal principals originating in Western Europe now seem to dominate the globe, a more complicated legal reality persists everywhere from the influence of Islamic law across the Middle East to the persistence of traditional codes among nomadic Tibetan yak herders, to the unwritten rules of gangs worldwide. A monumental history subtitled 'A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World'. 570pp from the Oxford University Professor Fernanda Pirie, 16 pages of colour photos.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £11.00


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ISBN 9781541617940
Browse this category: History

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