No actual law codes from ancient Egypt appear to have come down to us, although several legal manuals have survived, which some authors suggest are the actual law codes. In this course we will examine some of the basic aspects of the Egyptian legal system. To achieve this, we will examine these manuals as well as hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic sources such as sales, loans, donations, marriage and divorce, inheritance, lease, etc., including a famous lawsuit from Assyut (170 BC). The translations of these sources – mostly written on papyrus – will be provided prior to each class.
To acquaint students with the basic principles of the legal system of ancient Egypt and (demotic) papyrology using translations of legal documents from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Period.
The timetable is available on My Timetable
Mode of instruction
Seminar and own presentation
Student presentation on a legal source (c. 25 minutes) for 30% of final grade. Written exam at the end of the course after study of the mandatory literature (70% of final grade).
Resit if result of written exam is unsatisfactory
J.G. Manning, ‘Egypt. Demotic Law’, in: (R. Westbrook (ed.), A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law, Vol. 2 (Handbuch der Orientalistik / Handbook of Oriental Studies. Ägyptologie I, 72/2) 2003, pp. 819-862
K. Donker van Heel, Djekhy & Son. Doing Business in Ancient Egypt (2012)
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
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For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof