From ancient Mesopotamia to today, the epic story of how humans have used laws to forge civilizations. Rulers throughout history have used laws to impose order. But laws were not simply instruments of power and social control. They also offered ordinary people a way to express their diverse visions for a better world. In The Rule of Laws, Oxford scholar Fernanda Pirie traces the rise and fall of the sophisticated legal systems underpinning ancient empires and religious traditions, while also showing how common people--tribal assemblies, merchants, farmers--called on laws to define their communities, regulate trade, and build civilizations. Although legal principles originating in Western Europe now seem to dominate the globe, the variety of the world's laws has long been almost as great as the variety of its societies. What truly unites human beings, Pirie argues, is our very faith that laws can produce justice, combat oppression, and create order from chaos.
Machine generated contents note: 1. Mesopotamia and the Lands of the Bible 2. Indian Brahmins: The Order of the Cosmos 3. Chinese Emperors: Codes, Punishments, and Bureaucracy 4. Advocates and Jurists: Intellectual Pursuits in Ancient Rome 5. Jewish and Islamic Scholars: God's Path for the World 6. European Kings: Courts and Customs After the Fall of Rome 7. At the Margins: Lawmaking on the Fringes of Christianity and Islam 8. Embracing the Laws of Religion: The Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim Worlds 9. Imperial Law and Divine Justice in Medieval China 10. Courts and Customs in the European Middle Ages 11. The Problem of Judgement: Oaths, Ordeals, and Evidence 12. From Kings to Empires: The Rise of Europe and America 13. Colonialism: Exporting the Law 14. In the Shadow of the State: Islamic Law in the Modern World 15. Turning Their Backs on the State: Tribes, Villages, Networks, and Gangs 16. Beyond the State: International Laws.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 461-547) and index.