The appearance of law itself is associated with the need to create the framework for relations between society members, both in pre-state condition and in terms of state. As modern laws, laws, which were elaborated on before Christ, regulate societal relations in such spheres as governance, crime and punishment, protection of human dignity and family relations. Importance of laws for effective functioning of society lies in the fact that they make societal relations more stable, predictable and secure for individuals and enterprises.
Despite being created within the scope of different periods of history in different states, the sources share common contents-related traits. Nonetheless, significant differences can be watched in terms of the way relations are being regulated. For example, Hittite Law Code can be characterized by highly detailed regulation of relations between free people and slaves, testifying to importance of stratification in society. The differences between free people and slaves are manifested in different forms, starting from less severe punishments for free people than for slaves with respect to the same criminal offences, having been committed (e.g., sections 98-99), ending up with highly detailed regulation of consequences of free people having sexual relations with slaves (Hittite Law Code 1). Despite having been introduced before Hittite Law Code, the extract from the Code of Lipit-Ishtar does not explicitly mention the difference between free people and slaves, using the only formulation “if man” (Code of Lipit-Ishtarz 1) .
Augustus’ Moral legislation also refers to regulating family relations. Similarly to the contents and wording of Hittite Law Code, contents and wording of Augustus’ Moral legislation explicitly testifies to the lack of social equality as different rules apply for citizens, who are involved in governance (senators, procurers) and other people (Augustus’ Moral legislation: Family relations 1). As opposed to the sources, highlighted above, the works of Han Fei Tzu and “Creation of the democracy in Athens” by Aristotle are dedicated to great extent to constitutional order. Both sources acknowledge the need to have string laws and ensuring obeying the laws. For instance, in his work Han Fei Tzu states that in the state the law should provide for the selection of men to prevent arbitrary promotion and underlines that the law-bases state is the one, which praises the rights things and blames the wrong ones (Han Fei Tzu 1). At the same time Aristotle pays more attention to the rule of people, emphasizing the need to get demes involved in governance. What was really a great surprise for me in the work by Aristotle is his directly referring to accountability in the context of governmental money lending as the necessary element, constituting democracy (Aristotle 1).
Very brief analysis of the sources under study leads us to the evident conclusion, which lies in the fact that the laws do highlight historical era and the state of society’s development. It is also interesting to trace the history of such wide-spread notions as democracy, the rule of law, good governance and accountability, which are both explicitly and implicitly involved in the texts of the sources I researched into. The way family and criminal law-related regulations were regulated can be considered best example of stratification and interrelations of different strata’s, which have formed in particular society by particular time-point. Referring to technical characteristics of the sources, we would like to mention that while While Hittite Law Code, the Code of Lipit-Ishtar and Augustus’ Moral legislation look like modern laws, divided into sections and subsections, works by Aristotle and Han Fei Tzu are presented in scholarly manner.
Aristotle. Creation of the democracy in Athens. Pearson. My History Laboratory. Web. 25 Oct. 2013
Augustus Moral Legislation: Family Values. Pearson. My History Laboratory. Web. 25 Oct. 2013
Hittilte Law Code: excerpts from the Code of Neslim. Pearson. My History Laboratory. Web. 25 Oct. 2013
Sumerian Law Code: The Code of Lipit-Ishtar. Pearson. My History Laboratory. Web. 25 Oct. 2013
Tzu, F.H. The way of the state legalism. Pearson. My History Laboratory. Web. 25 Oct. 2013