The History Of Law.
The history of law is closely intertwined with the history of civilisation.
Ever since humans first established complex societies characterised by a social hierarchy, symbolic communication forms (e.g. writing) and separation from the natural environment, an established set of rules used to govern behaviour has existed.
On this journey we shall see clearly evident that the law is a concept a system made by mankind ourselves.
Here’s a timeline of the key developments which brought us to how law is practised today.
30th century BC
Ancient Egyptians established a set of civil codes based on social equality and impartiality.
22nd century BC
The oldest known law code was formulated in Sumer (modern-day Iraq).
Laws of Hammurabai inscription
18th century BC
King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law by inscribing in stone.
Several copies of the code were placed around the Kingdom of Babylon as stone or wooden slabs, for the public to see.
8th century BC
Ancient Greece became the first society based on broad inclusion of its citizens.
This translated to its laws, widely cited as being a major contributor to the development of democracy.
5th century BC – 6th century AD
Roman law was always changing to reflect the dynamic nature of society.
It was hugely influential on European law and still is today, as evidenced by the common use of Latin legal terms.
The Law of the Twelve Tables stood at the foundation of the Constitution of the Roman Republic.
The series of definitions of private rights and procedures was written to stop magistrates applying the law arbitrarily.
The Constitution of the Roman Republic informed public legislation.
Many of its concepts exist today including vetoes and separation of powers ,Voting and systems of governance.
The Romans were the first civilisation to develop a formal class of law professionals known as Jurisconsults.
The profession was heavily regulated by the turn of the Byzantine Empire.
11th century AD
Roman law was rediscovered after much of law code is replaced by custom and case law during the Dark Ages.
The Dark Ages also caused the collapse of the legal profession in Western Europe.
The Royal courts develop common law in England.
A Europe-wide Law Merchant formed allowing merchants to trade according to a common standard.
12th – 13th century AD
Legal profession returned to prominence due to renewed efforts by the church and state to regulate it.
The world’s first university, the University of Bologna, was set up as a law school.
Bologna served as a model for other law schools of the medieval age.
16th century AD
By this time the legal profession could be subdivided into two distinct branches; barristers, and attorneys and solicitors. Despite there being many eminent solicitors, there were also ‘pettifoggers’ and ‘vipers’ disgracing the profession.
18th century AD
Nationalism grew leading to Law Merchant being incorporated into many countries’ local law.
19th century AD
– present Germanic and Napoleonic codes became the most influential and make up the majority of European law today.
The US legal system is largely based on the English common law system.
The Law Society in London was formed to raise the law profession’s reputation and set standards to ensure good practice initially across London, later the whole of the UK, and eventually throughout Europe.
Similar bodies were formed worldwide to regulate the profession.
The Biblical Law.
The Hebrew Bible has 39 books, written over a long period of time, and is the literary archive of the ancient nation of Israel.
It was traditionally arranged in three sections.
The first five books, Genesis to Deuteronomy. They are not ‘law’ in a modern Western sense: Genesis is a book of stories, with nothing remotely like rules and regulations, and though the other four do contain community laws they also have many narratives.
The Hebrew word for Law (‘Torah’) means ‘guidance’ or ‘instruction’, and that could include stories offering everyday examples of how people were meant to live as well as legal requirements.
These books were later called the ‘Pentateuch’, and tradition attributed them to Moses.
Some parts undoubtedly date from that period, but as things changed old laws were updated and new ones produced, and this was the work of later editors over several centuries.
The Bible was the first written book giving the ordained power and authority to the powers that be , kings and systems of governance .
However for these kings and governance to be ordained these forms of governance must follow the law of god .
At no time in history other than in the bible did systems of governance have ordained authority from God to rule over mankind.
Only the bible granted these things to kings and rulers.
The Christian Bible has two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the original Hebrew Bible, the sacred scriptures of the Jewish faith, written at different times between about 1200 and 165 BC. The New Testament books were written by Christians in the first century AD.
One would think that The history of Authority, laws and autonomy begun at the beginning of time .
However when ones looks more closely at history thus is not the case at all.
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian code of law of ancient Mesopotamia, dated to about 1754 BC.
It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world.
The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code.
A partial copy exists on a 2.25-metre-tall stone stele.
However It’s not the earliest known code of laws.
The Code of Hammurabi is often cited as the oldest written laws on record, but they were predated by at least two other ancient codes of conduct from the Middle East.
The earliest, created by the Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu of the city of Ur, dates all the way back to the 21st century B.C., and evidence also shows that the Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin was drawn up nearly two centuries before Hammurabi came to power.
These earlier codes both bear a striking resemblance to Hammurabi’s commands in their style and content, suggesting they may have influenced one another or perhaps even derived from a similar source.
The Code included many bizarre and gruesome forms of punishment.
Hammurabi’s Code is one of the most famous examples of the ancient precept of “lex talionis,” or law of retribution, a form of retaliatory justice commonly associated with the saying “an eye for an eye.”
Under this system, if a man broke the bone of one his equals, his own bone would be broken in return.
Capital crimes, meanwhile, were often met with their own unique and grisly death penalties.
If a son and mother were caught committing incest, they were burned to death; if a pair of scheming lovers conspired to murder their spouses, both were impaled.
Even a relatively minor crime could earn the offender a horrific fate. For example, if a son hit his father, the Code demanded the boy’s hands be “hewn off.”
For crimes that could not be proven or disproven with hard evidence (such as claims of sorcery), the Code allowed for a “trial by ordeal”—an unusual practice where the accused was placed in a potentially deadly situation as a way of determining innocence.
The Code notes that if an accused man jumps into the river and drowns, his accuser “shall take possession of his house.”
However, if the gods spared the man and allowed him to escape unhurt, the accuser would be executed, and the man who jumped in the river would receive his house.
The laws varied according to social class and gender.
Hammurabi’s Code took a brutal approach to justice, but the severity of criminal penalties often depended on the identity of both the lawbreaker and the victim.
While one law commanded, “If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out,” committing the same crime against a member of a lower class was punished with only a fine.
Other rank-based penalties were even more significant.
If a man killed a pregnant “maid-servant,” he was punished with a monetary fine, but if he killed a “free-born” pregnant woman, his own daughter would be killed as retribution. The Code also listed different punishments for men and women with regard to marital infidelity.
Men were allowed to have extramarital relationships with maid-servants and slaves, but philandering women were to be bound and tossed into the Euphrates along with their lovers.
The Code established a minimum wage for workers.
Hammurabi’s Code was surprisingly ahead of its time when it came to laws addressing subjects like divorce, property rights and the prohibition of incest, but perhaps most progressive of all was a stipulation mandating an ancient form of minimum wage.
Several edicts in the Code referenced specific occupations and dictated how much the workers were to be paid. Field laborers and herdsmen were guaranteed a wage of “eight gur of corn per year,” and ox drivers and sailors received six gur.
Doctors, meanwhile, were entitled to 5 shekels for healing a freeborn man of a broken bone or other injury, but only three shekels for a freed slave and two shekels for a slave.
The Code includes one of the earliest examples of the presumption of innocence.
While it’s notorious for its catalogue of barbaric punishments, Hammurabi’s Code also set several valuable legal precedents that have survived to this day.
The compendium is among the earliest legal documents to put forth a doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty.”
In fact, the Code places the burden of proof on the accuser in extreme fashion when it says, “If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.”
The Code also includes a modern take on judicial procedures.
For example, when two parties had a dispute, legal protocol allowed them to bring their case before a judge and provide evidence and witnesses to back up their claims.
Historians are still unsure of the role the Code played in Babylonian culture.
Hammurabi’s Code offers a valuable glimpse into what daily life in ancient Babylonia might have been like, but just how the laws functioned in society is still up for debate.
The statutes could have been a list of amendments to an even earlier and more expansive set of general laws, but they might also have acted as a set of judicial precedents compiled from real world cases.
Some historians have even argued the Code was not a working legal document at all, but rather a piece of royal propaganda created to enshrine Hammurabi as a great and just ruler.
However the Code operated, there is little doubt that the pillar itself was intended for public display.
In the epilogue to the Code, Hammurabi boasts that any man involved in a dispute can read his laws to “…find out what is just, and his heart will be glad…”
The Code endured even after Babylon was conquered.
Hammurabi’s empire went into decline after his death in 1750 B.C.
Nevertheless, Hammurabi’s Code proved so influential that it endured as a legal guide in the region for several centuries, even as rule over Mesopotamia repeatedly switched hands.
Copying the Code also appears to have been a popular assignment for scribes-in-training. In fact, fragments of the laws have been found on clay tablets dating to as late as the 5th century B.C.—more than 1,000 years after Hammurabi’s reign.
The laws weren’t rediscovered until the 20th century.
Hammurabi’s edicts were a fixture of the ancient world, but the laws were later lost to history and weren’t rediscovered until 1901, when a team of French archeologists unearthed the famous diorite stele at the ancient city of Susa, Iran, once the seat of the Elamite Empire. Historians believe the Elamite King Shutruk-Nahhunte plundered the four-ton slab during a 12th century B.C. raid on the Babylonian city of Sippar and then brought it to Susa as a treasure of war.
Shutruk-Nahhunte is thought to have erased several columns from the monument to make space for his own inscription, but no text was ever added. Today, the pillar is kept on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Authority is rooted in fear and always has been.
Authority comes from the long-instilled belief and outlook that if you break the law you get punished, and rightfully so;
I think that on paper it looks good, but people with power have used fear and authority negatively for many a century and decades to enslave mankind.
It is important that the people challenge authority, revolt and rebel against it when it does not fulfill its major purpose, to protect the fundamental rights of the people.
The question is, when does authority get out of control and how do we stop it?
When does authority cross the line of human and justifiable rights and how do we approach that?
After all Where does authority come from to begin with ?
It is said that Legally, authority is shaped by the people, the people who vote, the people who are being voted for, the people who enforce laws, and the people who break laws.
Authority is power.
Authority is defined by mankind as “The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.”
I think that before I really thought about authority, it seemed like authority was a person who could rule over you or others.
But is authority really held by one man or woman or all individual men and women ?
When one looks at autonomy, Sovereignty and self governance I think it becomes evidently clear that authority is built out of fear: the fear of reperussion and consequence, the fear of judgement, the fear of failure, and the fear of the authority’s power.
Its clear Mankind design laws to keep people in check in line and submissive to rulers.
Yet its also abundantly clear that authority and law is nothing more than a concept a system made by mankind ourselves.
So What’s stopping people from breaking them?
The fear of jail as a consequence is what’s keeping people from breaking laws.
We’ve practiced this for years.
In 1189, the first case of tarring and feathering was reported.
Richard I or England issued his navy the right and the authority to, “boyling pitch poured upon his head, and feathers or downe strawed upon the same whereby he may be known…”. In 1792-50 B.C.E, Hammurabi stated, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”
Put enough fear into the people by showing them the consequences.
You shoot a man in the hand, you in turn get shot in the hand. Authority is rooted in fear and always has been.
Autonomy is defined by mankind as an individual’s capacity for self-determination or self-governance. … Moral autonomy, usually traced back to Kant, is the capacity to deliberate and to give oneself the moral law, rather than merely heeding the injunctions of others.
The bible states we should follow Gods Law
(Natural law) rather than the laws of men.
To fulfill The Law, all that Is required of mankind is that we create no harm to people and or properties , natural law of cause and effect.
One principle that administers the Parliament’s decision before criminalizing something is the principle of autonomy.
Many commented that the right of autonomy or in other words the right of living one’s live as one pleases is important .
Criminal law is used to avoid somebody’s practice of autonomy from interfering with another person’s autonomy.
Its clear to those awakened minds that All things Authority come from the long-instilled belief and outlook that if you break the law you get punished,
There are people who believe they’re more entitled and if they are allowed too much power they could use it as a bargaining chip, getting others to do what they desire and finding themselves above the law, or even finding loopholes in the laws.
It is abundantly clear that the systems of mankinds creation called governance was originally created to benefit the rulers rather than the people and to keep the people in line, however over the years the people took back the control from tyrants and freedom for all was atainable.
For a time Through many wars ,revolutions ,loss of lives and collaborative efforts of The people working together we the people turned the tide on these rulers and used these ancient systems of governance for the benefit of all mankind to create a better free world for all.
However it seems that the people become complacent and uninterested in personal Autonomy, Sovereignty and self governance not to mention our Fundamental Unalienable rights as men and women, Thus allowing the powers that be to rule over the people once again .
If we are to trust people with power, we better be trusting the right people and we better hold any and all accountable for the trespass against all mankind.
Its time to wake up to the trespass against us and put things right or we shall see our world returned to the dark ages and the people returned to being literal slaves for tyrants and rulers once again .
Historically this has happened many times and if we look to history the only way out of such tyranny is to fight our way out.