Western Legal Tradition

Essay by Dan MeyerUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 1996

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Downloaded 75 times

When Machiavelli wrote of whether it was more important to be feared

than loved, he had definitely studied the cases brought up in this paper. He

talked of how politics and power were all that a real leader should be

concerned with, and, if he isn't how he will not be a strong leader. When

Machaivelli writes of being loved, he may have had the love for the gods in

mind, as is the case of the examples given in the assignment. The main

difference between the law and conceptions of law held by the ancient

Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, and Hebrew leaders versus rule by a band of

thieves, is just that- a distinction between love versus power.

All conceptions of law in ancient civilizations had one thing in

common: they were all supposed to be enforced by a more supreme being.

For the Egyptians that being was the Pharaoh; for the Mesopotamians, the

Gods and the rulers descended from them; and for the Jews, their God.


people and the rulers both believed that if you violate the rules, then the

Gods would punish you. If you followed the Gods, then, conversely, they

would see to it that you were rewarded. In rule by a band of thieves, you

may have small amounts of love for the leaders, but the real reason that

keeps you following them is fear.

In ancient Egypt, rule was kept by a class of people known as

Pharaohs. These men were seen to have been descended from God, so they

were considered more than men- but just short of real gods. The earliest

Pharaohs were seen as some kind of shaman, or holy men with almost

mystical powers, sometimes wearing animal tails and 'the beard of their

goat-flocks'(Course Packet, 6). Their conceptions of law...