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This book is a study of the beginnings of law and the 'primitive' stages of its development, from the first rudimentary rules of conduct to the codes of the legal systems.
Its scope extends to both cultures and legal systems from the ancient and medieval past: those of the Babylonians and Assyrians, Hittites, Hebrews, Romans, Hindus, English and other German peoples, and those of Africa, Australia and America.
Correlating early economic and legal development, the book illustrates how laws change with the development of material culture.
From the Preface... This book began as a third edition of Primitive Law. But thirty five years have elapsed since the first edition was published, and the second was little more than a copy of the first, and I hope that during the intervening period I have bettered my knowledge of the subject.
In the result, although the theme is much the same, and the method and conclusions are not in essence different, there is hardly a sentence in common between this and the first edition, though I have taken a few pages from my Evolution of Law and Order (London, 1951).August 1970 A.S.D.