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A s a g o d , as well as a king, he was t h e ultimateauthorityon the law: dispensingm a ' a t as he perceived it through his d iv in e knowledge,srb, with his enforcementpowers, hu.

the collectivesocial contract conceivedof as infinite expressionsof ideal justice. A legal system perhaps based on some universally agreed upon set of principlesthat were so broadly recognized and they accepted that la w s unto b e c a me themselves. Possibly,a system akin to the E n g lis h le g a l s y s t e m ' s c o u rt so f e q u it y.

As early as the Second Dynasty, the Palermo Stone shows that these t h r e e pr in cip le s of law (hu, sia, and ma'at), had been extended to an Proceduralissues. There administrative system is n o e v id e n cet h a t t h e t h a t un d e r too ksuch legal n o w v a u n t e d oc c u p a t i o n and governmentalfuncof "lawyer" was known t i o n s as th e r e cordingof t o O ld o r Mid d l eK i n g d o m t h e a n n u a l N i le flood populaEgyptians. There were, l e v e l , a r e g u la r however, specialized t i o n cen su s, and a CelestialJudgment- Horusweighsthe heart offered scribes who b i e n ni al ce n su s of gold of the deceasedin the Netherworld p a rt ic u la r le g a l s e r v i c e s . 3 a n d fie ld s. The P alermo (FromErmanLife in Ancient Egypt) These servicesmay have Stone's reports on gold included support with the civil procedure and fields imply the existenceof some system system that is the absolutely required that recorded private ownership of both real rig a ma ro let h a t mu s t b e f o llo we d , t h e n a n d a n d per so n a lpr o perty,as well as trackin gt h e (A mo d e rn n o w, t o g a in a c c e s s t o t h e ju s t ic e s y s t e m . t r a n s fe r o f th a t ownership. T h e O ld a n d Mid d le K in g d o m' sc iv il pr o c e d u r a l e q u i va le n ti s th e county clerk and rec o rd e r. real s y s t e m a p p e a rst o h a v e b e e n s imi l a r t o o u r estatedeedsa n d Sh e ha s cop ie so f all the o wn . A c a u s e o f a c t io n wa s f irs t p l e a d b y t h a t ' s also wh ere you register your c a r. ) s u b mis s io no f a p e t it io n . T h e p e t i t i o n w a s Government protection of private property admitted before the vizier's court (in essence r i g h tsr e q u ir e sa fairly elaboraterecordke e p in g f ile d , ju s t a s o n e n o w f ile s a c iv il c o m p l a i n t s y s t e m , in clu d ingthe establishmentof fo rms with the clerk of the appropriatecourt to o f own e r sh ip , and the enforcemen t o f in it ia t ea le g a l a c t io n ). O n c e t h e p et i t i o nw a s agreements to transfer property between i n d i vid u a ls.2 admitted,the opposingparty (the modernterm " d e f e n d a n t " will b e u s e d a s a c o n v e n i e n c e The government of the Second Dynasty only) was "served" or somehow notifiedof the p e n d in g c o mp la in t . T h e d e f e n da n t c o u l d c o n t in u e dto de velop into a strong centra liz e d a n s we r,t h e p la in t if fc o u ld t h e n re s p o n d ,a n d , bureaucracythat was so strongly entrenched Fourth Dynasty f in a lly t h e d e f e n d a n t c o u ld re p l y t o t h e that by the arbitrary acts on re s p o n s e .O n c e a ll t h e a n s we rsa n d r e s p o n s e s t h e pa r t o f the king were largely inhib it e d . N o t e th a t occa sionallythe king may h a v e a n d re p lie swe re c o mp le t e ,t h e ma t te r w a s s e t "forgottenwhat he had done at the creationof f o r h e a rin g . the universe" as documentary evidence does indicate that the king sometimes rescinded O u r n o t io n so f v e n u e (ma k in gs u re a h e a r i n gi s h e ld in t h e mo s t a p p ro p ria t e p l a c e ) o r d e c i s i on s m a d e by his administrat io n in ju ris d ic t io n (wh e t h e r t h e c o u rt h ol d i n g t h e o p p ositi onto establishedlaws. h e a rin ga c t u a lly h a s t h e a u t h o rit yt o h e a r t h e matter and render judgment) do not seem to Note also that Egyptian-style "established have been pertinent. Perhaps everybody in laws" does not imply a codificationbut, rather, Summer | 996

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Ostracon v7 n2  

Journal of ESS

Ostracon v7 n2  

Journal of ESS

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