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The laws now enforced throughout the world are almost all modelled on systems developed in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During two hundred years of colonial rule, Europeans exported their laws everywhere they could. But they weren't filling a void: in many places, they displaced traditions that were already ancient when Vasco Da Gama first arrived in India. Where, then, did it all begin? And what has law been and done over the course of human history? In The Rule of Laws, pioneering anthropologist Fernanda Pirie traces the development of the world's great legal systems - Chinese, Indian, Roman, and Islamic - and the innumerable smaller traditions they inspired.