Duhaime's LawGallery - The Law In Pictures


Sumerian Court Judgment 2100 BC

  • Object type: Document
  • Formal Title: Sumerian Court Judgment, c. 2100-2000 BC
  • Creator: unknown Mesopotamian
  • Date Created: 2100
  • Origin: Mesopotamia (now Iraq-Iran)
  • Current Location: London Museum, London

This clay tablet, dated at about 2100 BC, represents one of the earliest examples of jurisprudence.

Translated, the cuneiform script on this tablet refers to a legal dispute over a daughter sold by her father as a slave for 2.5 "shekels" (just under an ounce; 21 grams).

Cuneiform is the world's earliest known written language.

The use of a written language contributed significantly to the foundation of written and predictable law, and thus to peace and order in society.

The Sumerians often wrote on clay which was time-consuming but long-lasting. Because of this, this sample of their court's "wisdom" survives.

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