|TWELVE TABLES OF ROME
Location: Rome, Italy ___ Time Period: 450s BC
Characteristics: Rome’s first written law code. Organized by patricians at the insistence of the plebeians, the laws included in the code dealt largely with trials. This was a key issue between the two social classes. ______________
Legacy: Laws were written for everyone to see. Stated that no one was above the law, no matter what class you were a part of. Patrician judges could no longer make decisions based on their own opinion or secret laws. ______
JUSTINIAN’S LAW CODE
Location: Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) Time Period: 530s AD____________
Characteristics: Previous emperors did not maintain good records causing Roman law to fall into a state of confusion. Justinian reorganized and simplified Roman law into a clear system of legal opinions and existing laws. Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) had four parts, the first included the existing constitutions from the time of Emperor Hadrian and also included laws created by Justinian himself. ________________________________
Legacy: This was the greatest achievement of Justinian. He simplified the laws of the old Roman Empire and help end confusion over laws that arose from conflicting constitutions. He also resolved differing legal opinions about previous laws.________________________________________________________________________________
HAMMURABI’S CODE: AN EYE FOR AN EYE
“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”
This phrase, along with the idea of written laws, goes back to ancient Mesopotamian culture that prospered long before the Bible was written or the civilizations of the Greeks or Romans flowered.
“An eye for an eye…” is a paraphrase of Hammurabi’s Code, a collection of 282 laws inscribed on an upright stone pillar. The code was found by French archaeologists in 1901 while excavating the ancient city of Susa, which is in modern-day Iran.
Hammurabi is the best known and most celebrated of all Mesopotamian kings. He ruled the Babylonian Empire from 1792-1750 B.C.E. Although he was concerned with keeping order in his kingdom, this was not his only reason for compiling the list of laws. When he began ruling the city-state of Babylon, he had control of no more than 50 square miles of territory. As he conquered other city-states and his empire grew, he saw the need to unify the various groups he controlled.
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