Netherlands, Amsterdam

Laws in Antiquity: Law and Legal Systems from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Rome and Byzantium (in collaboration with Leiden University)

when 8 July 2017 - 22 July 2017
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 1000

The laws and legal systems governing our lives today have deep historical roots. As early as the third millennium BC, people in Mesopotamia were compiling laws and employing various legal mechanisms. Surviving legal manuals and other sources tell us how the ancient Egyptians regulated sales, loans, donations, marriage and divorce, inheritances and leases. And it was in Roman times that the foundations were laid for the so-called civilian tradition, which still reverberates in the private law of continental Europe, South America and parts of the Far East (Japan, China).

On this course, leading experts on ancient law guide you through the theoretical and historical aspects of these systems and their unique characteristics, focusing on such themes as contracts, delict, property and family law. We begin with general presentations of the different systems, their features and context, before moving on to the study and analysis of exemplary texts (in English translation) in a workshop setting. By the end of the course you will have gained a sense of legal life across several ancient civilizations: the Mesopotamian, Hittite, Egyptian, Roman and Byzantine.

Course leader

Prof. Jan Hallebeek

Target group

Advanced students of either History or Law; no previous knowledge of the other discipline is required.

Course aim

You will develop a basic sense of the cultural and historical roots of present-day legal reality in Europe and other parts of the world.
You will be familiar with the main features of several different legal systems in the ancient world and their cultural background.
You will be familiar with cross-cultural research.
You will understand the basics of interdisciplinary methodology and thought, in this case combining history and law.
You will be familiar with the notion of history, its importance and its relevance to our lives in the present.

Credits info

3 ECTS
46 contact hours

Fee info

EUR 1000: The tuition fee includes an airport pick-up service, welcome goodiebag, orientation programme, on-site support, 24/7 emergency assistance, and a transcript of records after completion of the course.

An early bird discount of €150 is available for students who apply before 15 March, and students from VU Amsterdam as well as from exchange partner universities will receive a €250 discount. You apply for the discount simply by indicating that you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam or at a partner university in the online application.

All courses include excursions. We will also organize trips and excursions as part of our social programme, which is a great way to get to know your fellow students and learn more about Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The social programme is not included in the tuition fee.

Furnished accommodation is available. Various housing options will be offered.

Scholarships

There are scholarships available that cover the full tuition fee of one course. Visit the website for more information on scholarships.

Register for this course
on course website