The Beginnings of English Law

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University of Toronto Press, 2002 M01 1 - 297 pages
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The laws of Æthelbert of Kent (ca. 600), Hlohere and Eadric (685x686), and Wihtred (695), are the earliest laws from Anglo-Saxon England, and the first Germanic laws written in the vernacular. They are of unique importance as the only extant early medieval English laws that delineate the progress of law and legal language in the early days of the conversion to Christianity. Æthelbert's laws, the closest existing equivalent to Germanic law as it was transmitted in a pre-literate period, contrast with Hlohere and Eadric's expanded laws, which concentrate on legal procedure and process, and again contrast with the further changed laws of Wihtred which demonstrate how the new religion of Christianity adapted and changed the law to conform to changing social mores.

This volume updates previous works with current scholarship in the fields of linguistics and social and legal history to present new editions and translations of these three Kentish pre-Alfredian laws. Each body of law is situated within its historical, literary, and legal context, annotated, and provided with facing-page translation.

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User Review  - jsburbidge - LibraryThing

Interesting edition of the three early Kentish law codes, the first of which (Aethelbehrt) is the earliest vernacular Germanic law code, period, and probably preserves elements of oral transmission ... Read full review

Contents

Background
3
The manuscript
20
The Laws of Æthelberht
52
The Laws of Hloþhere Eadric
117
The Laws of Wihtred
147
Diplomatic Transcription
181
Comparison of Restitution According to Amount
195
Payment to the King for Disturbance of the Peace
201
Glossary
235
Concordance of proper names
249
Bibliography
257
Index
277
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Lisi Oliver is an associate professor in the Department of English at Louisiana State University.

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