The Gortyn Code c. 480 BCE

The brief history of The Gortyn Code.

The Gortyn Code
The Gortyn Code

Prior to the Roman conquest of Greece in 67 BCE, Gortyn, which was located near modern-day Heraklion, was one of Crete’s most powerful cities. Archaeologists excavating in the area began uncovering limestone blocks in and around a stream in the 1850s. The Gortyn Code was written in Doric inscriptions on the blocks, which date from approximately 480 and 460 BCE.
The entire Code was engraved on twelve huge columns that formed part of a circular wall of a building that was thought to have been a court, totaling around 600 lines of text. The Code, which dealt mostly with family law, includes old laws, amended laws, and new laws, representing the evolution of legislation over time. It dealt with marriage, property rights, including those of a divorced wife and the sale of family property, children of mixed marriages, adoption, succession (though not testamentary succession), rape, seduction, and adultery, slave ownership and slave marriages, and heiresses’ marriage and inheritance (those women who were the sole descendant of a deceased father).

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The Laws of Solon – 594 BCE

This is the brief history of the Laws of Solon

Laws of Solon
Laws of Solon

Nearly thirty years after Draco established Greece’s laws, Attica, the wider region that includes Athens, was still experiencing instability and the threat of civil war. Middle-class merchants and tradesmen resorted to the statesman Solon in the hopes of resolving the conflict between the aristocracy and the commoners. Solon’s character and reputation earned him the faith and confidence of commoners and nobles alike, despite his noble lineage. The “high class consented to his appointment because he was wealthy, and the lowly because they knew he was honest,” according to Plutarch. Solon was appointed archon, or magistrate, of Athens in 594 BCE.

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The Draco Code – 621 BCE

Brief history of the The Draco Constitution – The Draco Code.

The Draconian Code
The Draconian Code

People relied on memory and oral tradition for the transmission of customs and laws from generation to generation before the emergence of written laws. The law, according to legal historian and scholar William Seagle, is “the science that lives on the written word,” where “the words themselves are the topic of the study, the words are the law.”

In 621 BCE, Draco, an Athenian statesman and archon, or magistrate, introduced to Athens and the Ancient Greeks what some regard to be the first written laws.

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The Ten Commandments of Moses – c. 1300 BCE

The Ten Commandments of Moses

The Ten Commandments of Moses
The Ten Commandments of Moses

Controversy frequently arises where law and religion collide, although they are inexorably linked. The Ten Commandments are the best example of this philosophy. Other rules controlling human behavior may have existed before them, but the Commandments serve as a foundation for all future law for many, notably in Judeo-Christian countries. The portico on the east (courtyard-facing) side of the United States Supreme Court Building, for example, depicts Moses holding the Ten Commandments; the massive oak doors to the courtroom individually display them; and Moses, among seventeen other significant lawgivers, is carved within the South Courtroom itself.

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The Code of Hammurabi – c. 1792 BCE

The Code of Hammurabi – The Oldest Complete Law Collection

The Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi

Hammurabi (c.1810–c.1750), Gustave Jéquier (1868–1946)

Although identifying mankind’s genuine first legal code may be impossible, legal scholars and historians point to the Code of Hammurabi as one of the oldest and most complete written collections of rules in existence.

A French archaeological team excavated the acropolis at Susa, a city in the ancient Elam empire now known as Shush in Iran’s Khuzestan region, between December 1901 and January 1902. Gustave Jéquier, one of the guys, unearthed a seven-foot-high piece of black diorite.

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The Code of Ur Nammu (c. 2112 − 2095 BCE)

This is the brief history of The Code of Ur Nammu.

The Code of Ur-Nammu
The Code of Ur-Nammu

The earliest known civilisation arose in Mesopotamia, which today encompasses Iraq, Syria, and southeastern Turkey. The Akkadian Empire, ruled by King Sargon, arose initially, around 2350 BCE. King Ur-Nammu then unified the Sumerians and Akkadians, establishing the Third Dynasty of Ur, which ruled until around 2004 BCE.

Ur-Nammu’s most important legacy is the Code of Ur-Nammu, which influenced the codes of two subsequent kings, Lipit-Ishtar (c. 1930 BCE) and Hammurabi (c. 1792 BCE), as well as the Code of Eshnunna, a city in northern Mesopotamia, according to Klaas Veenhof, an eminent scholar of Babylonia and Assyria (c. 1800 BCE).

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The Oldest Written Will – Flinders Petrie 1889

This is the very brief history of the Oldest Written Will – the Oldest Written testament.

A 1934 portrait, by Hungarian artist Philip Alexius de László, of Sir Flinders Petrie, who discovered the papyrus bearing the oldest known written will.
A 1934 portrait, by Hungarian artist Philip Alexius de László, of Sir Flinders Petrie, who discovered the papyrus bearing the oldest known written will.

The discovery of the oldest known will was reported in the London Standard on December 26, 1889. The papyrus was discovered in the ancient Egyptian town of Kahun, which is now Al-Fayym, some sixty miles south of Cairo, by Flinders Petrie, a prominent English archaeologist and Egyptologist who is widely considered as the father of modern archaeology. According to the London Standard writer, the revelation “curiously underscores the continuity of legal techniques.”

Prior to Petrie’s discoveries, historians and legal scholars had only studied the existence and evolution of ancient wills through later stages of civilization: discussions of Solon introducing wills to Ancient Greece in the sixth century BCE, Roman law relating to wills appearing in the Twelve Tables of the fifth century BCE, and the Justinian Code in the mid-sixth century of our own era.

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