Early Mesopotamian Law

by Russ VerSteeg

Tags: History, Legal History

Table of Contents (PDF)

222 pp  $31.00

ISBN 978-0-89089-977-9
eISBN 978-1-59460-378-5

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This book synthesizes law in ancient Mesopotamia from its beginnings (roughly 3000 BC) to about 1600 BC. Author Russ VerSteeg explains Mesopotamian law using modern legal categories as points of reference in order to make the subject more accessible to the reader.

Early Mesopotamian Law is the first book of its kind, filling a void of information left by most ancient law books, which discuss the law of Ancient Greece and Rome. It brings together information from many books on Mesopotamian history; translations of ancient law collections and documents; as well as monographs, journal articles, and unpublished papers dealing with specialized aspects of Mesopotamian law. This book will be of interest to scholars of Near Eastern studies who wish to have a single volume covering the basics of early Mesopotamian law as well as to law students and lawyers who are interested in legal history.

Topics covered include: Part 1: Overview, Justice, Organization and Procedure — the law collections ("codes"); justice and jurisprudence (the role of law); legal organization and personnel and legal procedure; Part 2: Substantive Law — personal status; the family; inheritance and succession; criminal law; torts; property; and trade, contracts and business law.

"The current volume is a fascinating study of Mesopotamian law arranged in an accessible and ultimately revealing way… The book is exceptionally well-researched [and] clearly, logically organized, and very well-written, offering concise analysis of many aspects of early law as compared to 'modern' law… Highly recommended for academic law libraries, and for any other libraries with an ancient history collection."
Bimonthly Review of Law Books