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History of the Law

Since the time when people first began living together, rules have been adopted to protect individuals and groups and to govern their relationships. Even the most ancient peoples compiled Law codes. A law code is a more or less systematic and comprehensive written statement of laws. The oldest law code is tablets from the ancient archives of the city of Ebla (now Tell Mardikh, Syria), which date to about 2400 ВС.

The earliest written law was also the Law Code of Hammurabi, a king who reigned over Babylon (on the territory of modern Iraq) around 2000 B.C.

Hammurabi's Code had 282 paragraphs and was carved on a pillar made of very hard stone. This pillar was set up in a temple to the Babylonian god Marduk so that everyone could read it.

After the fall of Babylon in the 16th century B.C. the pillar was lost for centuries. It was found again during archeological expedition among the ruins of the Persian city of Susa in 1901. Now the pillar is in Paris in the Louvre museum.

The scientists managed to read Hammurabi's Code. It dealt with many of the same subjects as our legal system today. It included real and personal property law (the rights of slave owners and slaves, inheritance and property contracts), family law (divorce and marriage), criminal law (crimes and punishment of crimes), and business law (settlement of debts and even regulations about taxes and the prices of goods).

The Code gave punishments for almost all crimes. The punishment was based on the principle of revenge: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Nevertheless, the penalty according to Hammurabi's laws could not be harder than the crime.

The laws set forth in Hammurabi's Code were written by the King - only the King could change such laws. This absolutism of power in the monarch was typical of legal systems until the time of the Greeks around 300 B.C.

1. Найдите в тексте эквиваленты для следующих слов и выражений:

Иметь дело с чем-либо, письменное изложение законов, недвижимость, уплата долгов, утерян на века, царствовать, излагать (формулировать), наказывать, писать, писать и изменять законы.

2. Ответьте на вопросы:

1. Who was Hammurabi? Where and when did he reign?

2. Where and why was the pillar with carved Hammura­bi laws set?

3. Tell what kinds of law did Hammurabi's code deal with?

4. Explain the principle «an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth»?

5. Could the penalty be harder than the crime?

6. Who wrote the laws?

Ответьте на вопросы исходя из данных ниже просьб.

Children, close the door, please.

1. What are children doing?

2. What have they done?

3. Who has closed the door?

4. What did they do a minute ago?

4. Поставьте глагол в скобках в нужную видо-временную форму:

1. How long they (to investigate) the case?

2. Ann (to write) letters since early morning.

3. Linda (to travel) round Europe now.

4. I (to wait) for you since 12 o’clock.

5. The police inspector (to collect) evidence on the case of robbery since September.

6. The judge (to read) the sentence an hour ago.

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