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Cuneiform, legal texts in

(1,361 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn)
[German version] A. General Points Legal texts in cuneiform (LTC) are named after the  cuneiform script which had emerged towards the end of the 4th millennium BC in Mesopotamia, spread through the entire Near East, and was used to record the legally relevant proceedings in this area. Similar to Latin writing, cuneiform script in itself does not give any indications about the cultural or legal background of a written document. The use of the plural for ‘LTC’ is therefore appropriate. Only in Mesopota…

Damage, Indemnity

(386 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn)
[German version] Damage is the loss suffered to property, or to a non-material item (e.g. honour) protected by law; indemnity is compensation for that loss. They are to be distinguished from forfeit, which has to do not with compensation for the damage but with punishment of the person who caused the damage and with appeasing the victim/plaintiff [1. 498-502; 6. 223-228]. Bound up in the concept of damage are the questions as to whether any additional expenses incurred and foregone profit are to b…


(1,042 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn)
[English version] A. Allgemeines K. - benannt nach der gegen E. des 4. Jt.v.Chr. in Mesopot. geschaffenen, im ganzen Vorderen Orient verbreiteten Keilschrift, mit der in diesem Raum rechtlich relevante Vorgänge schriftlich festgehalten wurden. Wie die lat. Schrift sagt die Keilschrift unmittelbar nichts über die kulturelle und rechtliche Zugehörigkeit des Geschriebenen aus. Der Plural “K.” ist daher sachgerecht. Nur in Mesopot. selbst umfassen Schriftzeugnisse die gesamte Zeitspanne von der Erfindun…

Law, codification of

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Codification of law, in the sense of the comprehensive and conclusive regulation of a major and more or less finite subject area, must be discounted for pre- and extra-Roman cultures, regardless of all ancient pronouncements (Egypt: Diod. Sic. 1,95,4f.; Greece: Aristot. Ath. Pol. 2,1273a 35 - 1274b 25) and modern discussions (‘Law of Ḫammurapi’: [11; 13]; Achaemenid empire: [4; 14; 16]) (see the articles in [5]; also [6; 13]). The collection, systematization or uni…


(1,046 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[English version] I. Alter Orient R. im Sinne der zusammenfassenden und abschließenden Regelung eines größeren, mehr oder minder geschlossenen Sachgebiets ist für die vor- und außerröm. Kulturen ungeachtet aller antiken Nachrichten (Ägypten: Diod. 1,95,4 f.; Griechenland: Aristot. Ath. pol. 2,1273a 35 - 1274b 25) oder mod. Diskussionen (“Gesetz des Ḫammurapi”: [11; 13]; Achämenidenreich: [4; 14; 16]) auszuschließen (s. die Beiträge in [5]; ferner [6; 13]). Das Sammeln, Systematisieren oder Vereinheit…


(971 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[English version] I. Allgemein R. ist die Wegnahme einer fremden beweglichen Sache mit Gewalt gegen einen Menschen oder unter Anwendung von Drohungen mit gegenwärtiger Gefahr für Leib oder Leben in der Absicht, sich die Sache rechtswidrig zuzueignen (§ 249 StGB). Rechtlich ist R. eine Kombination von Diebstahl und Nötigung, im allgemeinen Empfinden wird R. h. als das gegenüber der einfachen Wegnahme schwerere Delikt aufgefaßt, in den ant. Rechtsordnungen und bis ins MA dagegen der (heimliche) Diebstahl für schlimmer als die (offene, gewalttätige) Wegnahme. Hengstl, Joachim (M…


(1,677 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General points A contract is an agreement between two or more persons (possibly implicit) for the purpose of a legal result (e.g., a purchase as exchange of goods against money). Relative to the purpose of the transaction, contracts that in legal terms directly refer to the purpose, the ‘abstract’ legal transaction, which is independent of it, and the ‘ ad hoc legal transaction’ must be differentiated. A legal procedure is abstract if the legal effect is legally not linked to the result that the parties are attempting to achieve (e.g., r…


(631 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Völkl, Artur (Innsbruck)
(Latin talio, 'equal retribution') means that the penalty must be appropriate to the evil committed against the victim. [German version] I. General points Talion is found in many ancient laws, e.g. Cod. Hammurapi 229 (killing the son of the builder because of the builder's responsibility for the death of the landlord's son) or Ex 21:22-25 ("An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, blood for blood"). From a historical perspective, talion can be regarded as a mitigation compared to the unrestricted right of revenge of th…


(1,088 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General Robbery is the appropriation of a moveable object belonging to another with violence against that person or by the use of threats with present danger to life and limb and with intent to appropriate the object in contravention of the law (§ 249 German Criminal Code). In law, robbery is a combination of theft and duress. In the popular mind of today, robbery is regarded as a more serious offence than simple theft. However, in ancient legal systems and until the Middle Ages, theft (by stealth) was seen as worse than (public and violent) dispossession. Hengstl, Joachi…

Civil law

(3,179 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Witthuhn, Orell (Marburg) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. General The term civil law (CL), which is derived from Roman law, covers the legal position of individuals in legal transactions and with respect to family and society. Depending on the definition, family and inheritance law are part of CL.  Legal texts in cuneiform -- as opposed to mature Roman law -- as a pre-scientific legal system are legal institutions derived from practice -- the modern categories used here are anachronistic. Sources and preliminary work on t…

Wills and testaments

(3,807 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] [1] (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] [2] History of law (History of law) Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] I. General Testament (from the Latin testamentum in the sense of the final will made before witnesses; see below IV.) denotes a unilateral 'last will and testament' (or, in common E…


(2,968 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Witthuhn, Orell (Marburg) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
I. Alter Orient [English version] A. Allgemeines Der dem röm. Recht entstammende Begriff P. umfaßt die Rechtsstellung der Einzelperson im Rechtsverkehr, gegenüber der Familie und gegenüber der Ges.; je nach Definition sind Familien- und Erbrecht Bestandteile des P. Für die Keilschriftrechte als - im Gegensatz zum entwickelten röm. Recht - vorwiss. Rechtsordnungen handelt es sich um der Übung entspringende Rechtsinstitute; die hier verwendeten modernen Kategorien sind anachronistisch. Quellen und Vorarb…


(6,763 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Gröschler, Peter
I. General [German version] A. Term In legal terms, a document is a written declaration regarding a legal transaction. In modern opinion it is a declaration of intent in a suitable written form that is intended to provide proof in legal transactions and that permits recognition of the issuing party (e.g., [2; 8]). In general, documents include all non-literary and partially literary texts (exceptions are, e.g., poetry and amulets), i.e., apart from business documents, trial and administrative document…

Procedural law

(3,600 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Witthuhn, Orell (Marburg) | Paulus, Christoph Georg (Berlin)
[German version] I. Alter Orient Even in the cuneiform laws (Cuneiform, legal texts in) going back to the middle of the 3rd millennium, it is impossible to discern an epoch in which it was true that virtually only the strong were able to claim their rights [7]. On the basis of Old Babylonian letters and some stipulations of the Codex Ḫammurapi it is certainly the case that self-help played a legally recognized role [8], and modulated self-help is furthermore mooted for Hittite law [5]. Widespread use of the word 'judge' (DI.KU5/ dajjānum) from the Old Akkadian period (24th/22nd cents.…


(2,960 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Witthuhn, Orell (Marburg) | Paulus, Christoph Georg (Berlin)
[English version] I. Alter Orient Eine Epoche, in der sich fast nur der Stärkere sein Recht zu nehmen vermochte, ist selbst in den bis in die Mitte des 3. Jt. zurückführenden Keilschriftrechten nicht festzustellen [7]. Allerdings ist v. a. den altbabylonischen Briefen und einigen Regelungen des Codex Ḫammurapi zu entnehmen, daß die Selbsthilfe eine wichtige, rechtlich anerkannte Rolle spielte [8]; ferner wird für das hethitische Recht kontrollierte Selbsthilfe vermutet [5]. Die Verbreitung des Wortes “Richter” (DI.KU5/ dajjānum) seit der altakkadischen Zeit (24./22. Jh…