Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ancient societies traditionally refer to a stage in their history when laws were created and written down. They ascribe it to mythical or historical lawgivers, prophets, or charismatic figures, who played an important part in resolving political or social disputes and in creating a national identity. The Near East produced the Code of Hammurabi (nineteenth century BCE), and Mosaic law preserved in the Torah/Pentateuch (traditionally dated to the early thirteenth century BCE, but probably much later). Some Greek city-states recorded similar phenomena. The best-known Greek lawgivers were Lycurgus at Sparta (date unknown), Draco and Solon at Athens (late sixth/ early fifth century), Zaleucus and Charondas in South Italy and Sicily (respectively, seventh and sixth century). They produced clusters of laws rather then full-scale codifications, but these set the basis for a state-enforced legal system and a constitutional framework. However, Greek laws remained rather limited in their scope and impact, in ...