The law collections presented in this volume are compilations, varying in legal and literary sophistication, recorded by scribes in the schools and the royal centers of ancient Mesopotamian and Asia Minor from the end of the third millennium through the middle of the first millennium B.C.E. Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Hittite texts, with accompanying English translations, are included. Some of the collections, like the famous Laws of Hammurabi, achieved a wide audience; others, like the Laws about Rented Oxen, were scribal exercises limited to a local school center. All, however, reflected contemporary legal practice in the scribes' recordings of contracts, administrative documents, and court cases and also provide historians with evidence of abstractions of legal rules from specific cases. In addition to the texts and translations, the volume includes a list of sources, bibliography, glossary, and numerous indexes.
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