The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut nĂ©erlandais du Proche-Orient

Old Assyrian Legal Practices

Book Specifications
XLII, 479 pp.

Old Assyrian Legal Practices

2013  |  PIHANS Volume 123 Law and Dispute in the Ancient Near East ISBN 13: 978-90-6258-334-8  |  ISSN: 1571-5728

T. Hertel

Old Assyrian Legal Practices investigates the nature of law and legal process in the Old Assyrian Colony period c. 1900-1800 BC as attested in cuneiform documents from Kültepe (ancient Kanesh). It offers a comprehensive study of the legal system as a whole in terms of its institutions, agents, substantive laws and procedural rules, where a central concern is to clarify the judicial competences of legal and political institutions. The author argues that the nature of the legal system and the role of legal institutions can only be meaningfully understood if we examine the relationship between central and local institutions, between formal and informal procedures, and the shifts of legal processes between formal and informal settings. These aspects are investigated through a study of processes used in the resolution of private disputes (private summons, mediation, arbitration, lawsuits and trials), which involves discussion of the procedural and institutional Sitz im Leben of judicial records and analyses of numerous legal cases. The book presents a number of new interpretations pertaining to the legal system and its institutions, the understanding of judicial records and legal terminology, and points to the existence of previously unrecognized Old Assyrian legal processes.