With the world's first city-states came the dawn of the first written legal codes, algorithms of state-enforced justice.

Our little Lady Justice is now a teenager. With a sword.

I don’t know if that bodes well or ill, but it certainly… uh… bodes. Yup. Lotta boding going on.




Support this on Patreon!


Be sure to share your comments in the Class Participation section below -- that's the best part! Also, you can use the arrows on your keyboard to flip through pages quickly.

Use this link to buy the books, and a portion of the proceeds goes to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Join the conversation!
There are now 17 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. STM says

    How come Justice has to go through puberty, but the State is born (?) an adult?

      • If I had to put my chips somewhere, I’d say it’s because the state was born the state; it’s always been what is continues to be. But lady justice has born very young and immature and has a lot of growing up to do. Just look at that code of law up there; taking a bride’s virginity is equitable to murder? That seems quite backwards by our standards of today. The former could be a completely consensual act between two adults, with the only harm done a blow to the husband’s ego, while the later is, well, murder. Yet because, back in the days when laws were literally built on stone, a woman’s body was nothing more than property to her husband, and defiling its sanctity was as abominable to a man as relieving yourself in the Holy-of-Holies was to a Hebrew, so, yea, you’d be killed. And we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the injustices of the slave trade yet.

        So, yea, Lady Justice has a lot of growing up to do.

        • P.S. Speaking as an Eagle Scout, shout out to Nathan for using a rope splice as a fitting metaphor!

          P.P.S. I love your depiction of Lady Justice getting her sword in a manner akin to my son getting the keys to the car after getting his driver’s license. You can’t help but just dread what’s about to come next.

          • Speaking as a long-time Scout Leader, kudos on the Eagle! I don’t think people often realize what an exceptional and rare achievement that is.

            Keys. Oh lord. My oldest got his license on a Tuesday. That Thursday he hit a curb at full speed, demolishing both tires on the passenger side. Then he drove all the way home on them, doing even more expensive damage. And that was only the start of a very expensive year. Now his younger brother is gearing up to get his license in a couple months…

        • There WAS no State during bands and tribes. She appears fully-formed from the sculptor’s studio. Like Pygmalion’s Galatea (only not at all like Galatea).

          • Oh, I get it! That’s why Athena represents the State! Because, just as Athena was born fully formed from Zeus’s head, the state was also born fully formed. (Perhaps also because Greece loves to claim that all things modern and democratic originated in Greece. But I’m not entirely sure that’s true.)

  2. DavidD says

    Can we bring back that “mouth shall be scoured with 1 quart of salt” thing, if we only apply it to politicians?

  3. Alectric says

    Why would an eye be worth only a fourth of a tooth?

    • An eye was 1/2 a mina, or 30 shekels (250 g of silver).
      A tooth was 2 shekels (16⅔ g of silver).

      So an eye was worth 15 times the value of a tooth.

        • Well, yeah. A divorced woman had no lineage, no family. She was practically a non-person until she found another husband.

          Tribe and clan still remained the core narrative of society. The narrative of the state was a veneer laminated on top of that substructure.

    • I’m more concerned that a foot is only worth 1/3 of an eye. If I had to choose, I’d rather lose one eye than one foot: can’t walk with only one foot, but you can still see with one eye!

      • And what if you were a professional soccer player? Wouldn’t that foot be worth a whole lot more than the foot of a professional beggar?

        • For a professional beggar, a lost foot might actually be a material advantage (in terms of looking more pathetic and deserving than other beggars).

          I would have imagined that the ability to walk (and run, and carry heavy loads, etc) would be even more economically important in Ur than today: I can’t think of too many jobs you could do footless then compared to today. Certain artisan professions, and being a scribe, but I was under the impression that something like 95+% of the population back then were farmers. If one lost his foot, did he have any opportunity to #learntocraft?

      • Somebody who loses both feet can still do many types of valuable work – consider the legs of Hephaestus – and move from place to place by crawling on hands and knees, or maybe even ride an animal. Loss of both eyes leaves fewer good options in a bronze age environment.

Class Participation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Support this on Patreon!