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Ancient Law

by Henry Sumner Maine

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Book Description
The fascinating origins of human ideas and society as reflected in the law.

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It will be inferred from what has been said that the theory which transformed the Roman jurisprudence had no claim to philosophical precision. It involved, in fact, one of those "mixed modes of thought" which are now acknowledged to have characterised all but the highest minds during the infancy of speculation, and which are far from undiscoverable even in the mental efforts of our own day.

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From the Author
English lawyer and historian SIR HENRY JAMES SUMNER MAINE (1822-1888) lectured on legal issues at Oxford and Cambridge and contributed to the codification of law in India. His works include Village Communities in the East and the West, The Early History of Institutions, and Popular Government.

About the Author
British jurist and legal historian who pioneered in the study of comparative law, notably primitive law and anthropological jurisprudence. While professor of civil law at the University of Cambridge (1847-54), Maine also began lecturing on Roman law at the Inns of Court, London. These lectures became the basis of his Ancient Law: Its Connection with the Early History of Society, and Its Relation to Modern Ideas (1861). This work influenced both political theory and anthropology, the latter primarily because of his controversial views on primitive law. To trace and define his concepts, he drew on Roman law, western and eastern European systems, laws of India, and primitive law. Though some of his statements were modified or invalidated by later research, his study helped to place comparative jurisprudence on a sound historical footing. A member of the council of the governor-general of India (1863-69), Maine was largely responsible for the codification of Indian law. In 1869 he became the first professor of comparative jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and, in 1887, professor of international law at Cambridge. He was knighted in 1871. His other books include lectures on the Early History of Institutions (1875), a sequel to his Ancient Law.



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