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326: Inscription of Mes
Transcript of 326: Inscription of Mes
Rhetoric and Culture
Egypt: 3rd Century BCE
Oldest Known Trial Transcript
What is the central issue in this case?
Who is the judge?
What kind of evidence does Kay have?
What kind of evidence does Mes have?
Bloodlines: Who is family?
No professional judges.
Priests in the courtroom.
Kay has written documents
Mes has witnesses from the village that his grandmother owned the land.
How do you know whether Mes' claim that Kay forged documents is true?
Does it seem to matter?
What conclusions can we draw
about ancient Egyptian law?
30+ years of family squabbling
4 prior lawsuits
Prehotep v Werenra
Werenra v Takaru
Huy v Takaru and Sementawi
Kay v Nefer
Rhetoric can also trace cultural ideas
what ideas are accepted
what "goes without saying"
Critics concentrate on content over results
It's not just about persuasion
Who gets to talk? To whom?
Gasp! No lawyers!
Access not affected by gender
Kay is related by blood.
Nefer is related by marriage.
Kay's descent is on the male side.
Nefer's is on the female side.
only state that does not use British legal model
civil law v. common law
Code: law is created by the legislature and is written in the Civil Code, and then precedent further develops that written code.
Relatively clear and unchanging
If not covered by the code, an action technically can not be illegal
Statute: Separate body of law developed
through the judiciary.
items not explicitly in code can still be litigated under common standards
requires knowledge of case law to determine legality of an action