The Brehon Laws of Ireland c. 250

The Brehon Laws of Ireland
The Brehon Laws of Ireland

The Brehon Laws of Ireland, which have governed Ireland for almost 1,200 years, were described by noted legal historian and lawyer Sir Henry Maine as “a really extraordinary corpus of archaic law, extraordinarily pure from its inception.” The code was made up of the rendered decisions of Brehons, who acted as arbitrators when conflicts based on customary law arose.

They were “legislators, teachers of the customary law of the nation, expositors, interpreters, and keepers of legal traditions,” according to legal expert Josiah H. Blackmore II. Prior to the widespread invention of writing, the laws evolved over ages and were passed down from generation to generation by oral tradition.

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