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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

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2os                                  Law
thou shait see that everything is done according to the rules,
helping everyone to his right' he anticipates the swum cuique
triluere which Justinian, following the jurist Ulpian, put as
^raeceptum juris at the beginning of his Institutes and of his
Late Egyptian and Persian Period (712-332 B.C.)
A great number of legal documents of the late Egyptian era
have been preserved. In Upper Egypt at first the hieratic
cursive script was used, in Lower and Middle Egypt the demotic.
Later on, the demotic character alone was employed. There-
fore at first the forms of documents were not all of the same
pattern. Inasmuch as at the beginning of the late Egyptian
period Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were often governed by
different rulers, it is possible that these differences in form indi-
cate different legal systems for the two parts of the country,
which were only gradually superseded by a new unity.
But the documents in hieratic as well as the demotic legal
documents were only new forms developed from the unsealed
'scribe and witness documents' of the New Kingdom.
A document is now always retained by the person who is in
possession of the objects to which it relates. A person when
selling a house would hand over at the same time all the docu-
ments relating to that house so that the purchaser could trace
back the chain of former owners for a long period. There was
therefore no need for an 'abstract of title' when the property
changed hands.
Stereotyped forms were developed at that time for various
legal transactions such as an agreement not to sue, contracts
of sale, leases, division of property held jointly, marriage settle-
ments and divorces, and these forms, with slight modifications,
were preserved down to Roman times.
A peculiar form of transaction were the 'self-sales' of free
persons into servitude, which can be paralleled from the oldest