Essay: Trace the Development of Law

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¶ … Trace the development of law from the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi to the Romans. Include in your discussion the Judaic concept of law and how it differed from both Babylon and Rome.

Although legal codes apparently date from the third millennium B.C., the code of Hammurabi, written during his reign in the 1792-1750 B.C. time period, is the most notable ancient law code. The Babylonian law code is based on King Hammurabi's own principles in regard to the legal system and was completed during the last years of his time in power. The legal codes were written on a diorite stela and deposited in the temple of Marduk, who was the national god in Babylonia.

Taking into consideration that it had not been the first law code, Hammurabi's code was inspired from earlier Sumerian legal codes, which were essential parts of society several centuries before. Even though the Babylonian code was still archaic in character, it marked the implementation of a series of advancements in the legal system through the fact that several primeval laws were not accepted by it (Hecht et al. 7).

Because the Roman Empire did not have a written law system in the fifth century B.C. And laws were put into effect only by a community of educated individuals, the people of Rome demanded that a law system should be written and thus were responsible for the creation of the Law of the Twelve Tables. The law could no longer be abused by patricians as plebeians became familiar with it. The law system did not necessarily present innovative concepts, as it was merely the product of several centuries of progress.

Even though Judaic law systems differed from those imposed in Babylonia and in Rome, some of them (such as the Covenant Code) has its roots in the code of Hammurabi. Most Judaic communities were reluctant to accept being influenced by the Hellenized world or by the Romans. The Jewish law code mainly differed from the two earlier one through the fact that it did not discriminate people on account of their social status.

2. What were the contributions made by Octavian Augustus to the Empire? Why is his reign considered the true beginning of the Pax Romana?

Octavian Augustus is responsible for creating the Roman Empire and for restructuring the republic. His methods made it possible for the Pax Romana to exist, given that people were satisfied with his governing and did not hesitate to support him in becoming the main power in the state. One of the main reasons for which he rapidly became popular was the fact that the Empire experienced a series of military conquests and large amounts of resources flowed into it. Augustus did not want to categorize people on account of their social status and presented each citizen of Rome with several benefices (Milnor 140). This earned him the support of almost everyone in the Empire, ranging from the people and until the Senate.

In spite of the fact that Augustus had the power to impose his reign through means of force, he did not do so and earned even more popularity by installing a ruling system which was favorable for all people in the Empire. The first Roman emperor was capable of reorganizing Rome consequent to several years it spent in civil turmoil and established a time of peace that lasted for more than two centuries. Furthermore, the Empire became much larger as a result of his politics in regard to conquering other territories.

Augustus created a public system that involved an official police force and fire-fighters. Rome was also reconstructed during Augustus's reign, as he was devoted to have every individual in the Empire live in accordance with the large amounts of finances flowing into it. In spite of the fact that he installed the Pax Romana in the Empire, Augustus was a man who favored warfare and was determine to exploit military conquests to the fullest (Winspear, and Geweke 254). One of the reasons for which the Empire was consolidated during Augustus's sovereignty was the fact that he paid special attention to securing its borders.

3. Discuss the importance and influence of Constantine on the spread of Christianity.

Roman emperors were known to search for supernatural assistance when engaging in a military campaign and thus Constantine did not hesitate to fight under Christian symbols when he had a vision that instructed him to do so. His act was particularly notable because Roman emperors were known to be unsupportive toward Christianity. Whereas his predecessor, Diocletian, was devoted to fight Christianity through any means possible, his policy toward the religion came as a shock for the Empire.

Taking on the role of Christian monarch, Constantine facilitated great gains to the Christian church, as numerous people in the Roman Empire converted to the religion as a result. Campaigning in the name of Christianity, Constantine took the religion even further, in the places he conquered. Whether it was because of his mother's religious teachings or because of what he learnt throughout his life previous to becoming an emperor, Constantine's determination to join Christianity was essential for the religion as a whole.

It is very probable that Christianity would be less popular in the present if it weren't for Constantine's bold act. Not only did he support Christianity by legalizing it and ending persecutions across the empire, but he also converted to it, making a strong connection between the church and the most important person in the Roman Empire. He created a precedent, influencing future Roman emperors in converting to Christianity and further strengthening the religion's relationship with the empire. In Constantine's opinion, all of his conquests consequent to the moment of his conversion were owed to his Christian beliefs.

4. Compare and contrast the emperorships of Justinian and Charlemagne. How did they rule in a similar manner? How were they different?

Justinian I's reign was controversial, given that he employed reform with the purpose of restructuring the empire and bringing it back to its former glory. In addition to conquering several territories that were formerly part of the Western Roman Empire, Justinian was greatly interested reorganizing the law system. The Corpus Juris Civilis created during Justinian's reign has had a great influence on the law system today and some states still have their law code based on it.

In spite of the successes experienced by Justinian during the first part of his reign, he gradually lost influence as the empire went through a plague epidemy and a period of decline started as a result.

Charlemagne's intentions were somewhat similar to those belonging to Justinian, given that he wanted to conquer a part of the former Roman Empire. Both emperors had an effect on the future of their empires, just as both experienced military failures at the end of their reigns. None of the two lived to see their ideals accomplished mostly because their desires prevented them from seeing that conditions back home were critical. Justinian managed to gather the public's appreciation by bringing together political and military concepts.

Justinian and Charlemagne both managed to bring together large parts of the former Roman Empire, but both were eventually unsuccessful in their missions. Even with the fact that Justinian was criticized by many because of his selfish nature, the ruling techniques he used were recognized for their efficiency and were later used by numerous leaders. Charlemagne's leadership style was also welcomed for its effectiveness and the general public considers him to be the founder of the German and French societies.

5. Trace the development of Henry II's reforms in England, including his dealings with the Church, and his legal reforms.

England was nationalized during the reign of Henry II, as the King brought reform to several sectors in the kingdom. The King… [END OF PREVIEW]

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