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Chapter 12 concludes the Cambridge Comparative History of Ancient Law by drawing out a set of fundamental comparisons, both differences and similarities, from the volume’s previous chapters, in addition to offering further reflections on the field of ‘ancient law’ itself. The chapter opens by comparing and contrasting the Cambridge Comparative History of Ancient Law to earlier historiography, underscoring its unique contribution to existing scholarship: developed through collaborative work and drawing upon numerous specialist traditions and technical expertise, across a pan-Eurasian research field. The chapter then moves on to a broader discussion of ‘Mapping the Ancient Legal Cosmos’ and ‘Ordering Ancient Associations’, pinpointing the specific connections between ethics, law and statecraft that can be observed across the ancient source material. The chapter concludes by suggesting several answers to a provocative, but fundamental, question: “What is ‘Ancient’ about ‘Ancient Law’?”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge comparative history of ancient law
EditorsCaroline Humfress, David Ibbetson, Patrick Olivelle
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781009452243
ISBN (Print)9781107035164
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Ancient law
  • Pan-Eurasian
  • Legal cosmos
  • Ethics
  • Statecraft


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