Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ancient Law” as Want to Read:
Ancient Law
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ancient Law

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Best known as a history of progress, Ancient Law is the enduring work of the 19th-century legal historian Henry Sumner Maine. Even those who have never read Ancient Law may find Maine's famous phrase "from status to contract" familiar. His narrative spans the ancient world, in which individuals were tightly bound by status to traditional groups, and the modern one, in whic ...more
Paperback, 460 pages
Published May 31st 2001 by Routledge (first published August 15th 1822)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ancient Law, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ancient Law

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  74 ratings  ·  7 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ancient Law
Jared Tobin
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry Sumner Maine was an English chap of the High Victorian era, i.e. the late 19th century. His Popular Government, a book discussing the properties and deficiencies of broad-suffrage democracy, is often recommended by reactionaries in the vein of Mencius Moldbug. Moldbug, in particular, included Popular Government in a list of three books constituting the canon of the so-called “Froude Society” (of which I am apparently a deacon). But while Maine’s work has reactionary implications, it is nev ...more
Colm Gillis
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly the best researched book I've ever read which also makes for compelling reading. Maine turns an obscure subject, the development of ancient Roman law (and in particular the role of fictitious constructs within this jurisprudence) into a fascinating and thoughtful dialogue. Many of the topics are so obscure and yet Maine, with his diligent approach and enthusiasm, handles them with ease. While constantly referring back to the ancient sources, Maine at the same time keeps a subtle eye on ...more
Christopher Byram
I discovered Sir Henry James Sumner Maine and his work "Ancient Law" when it was referenced in an Explanatory Note on Chapter 4, p.68 of Sir James George Frazer's "The Golden Bough". Frazer in particular makes a reference to "The Hindoo (Hindu) law-book of Manu" when writing about the subject of human gods, and the Explanatory Note accompanying this explains that The Laws of Manu are one of the oldest-surviving Brahminical codes. They had been the object of some interest in Europe ever since Sir ...more
Donald Trump
Sir Pollock's notes are indispensable and extremely valuable for they clarify many confusions in Sir Maine's text, especially those regarding natural law. Do not miss it. For instance, Maine overlooks the influence of Aristotelian tradition to natural law theory and Pollock correctly points it out. ...more
Bryn Hammond
Sep 08, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history
Kropotkin says "... in his remarkable study of the tribal origin of international law..." (Mutual Aid).
I like these old guys.
Hawks Breath
I'll check back to rate this again ...more
Andrew Barbin
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2013
rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2016
Burak Kirsehir
rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2008
rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2017
rated it liked it
Dec 03, 2015
rated it liked it
Aug 07, 2019
Ron Moss
rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2014
rated it really liked it
May 01, 2017
Donn Headley
rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2019
Kate McKeon
rated it it was amazing
Oct 12, 2020
Heath Muchena
rated it liked it
Oct 25, 2016
Michael McCluskey
rated it liked it
Jun 13, 2017
Lucas Pattison
rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2018
Josh Griffiths
rated it liked it
Feb 18, 2013
David Holt
rated it it was amazing
Jan 20, 2019
rated it really liked it
Feb 11, 2021
rated it it was amazing
Dec 15, 2019
rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2011
Bill Reese
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2017
Marco Jimenez
rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2019
rated it liked it
May 08, 2014
rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2009
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How
  • Industrial Society and Its Future
  • Technological Slavery
  • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
  • On Aristotle: Saving Politics from Philosophy
  • Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality
  • The Genius of George Washington
  • Grow Up
  • Liberalism Ancient and Modern
  • The Politics of Gun Control
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics
  • Extinct (Extracted Trilogy, #3)
  • Astrophysics: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
  • We Need to Talk About Kelvin: What everyday things tell us about the universe
  • Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Physics: A Very Short Introduction
See similar books…
Sir Henry James Sumner Maine, KCSI, was an English comparative jurist and historian. He is famous for the thesis outlined in Ancient Law that law and society developed "from status to contract." According to the thesis, in the ancient world individuals were tightly bound by status to traditional groups, while in the modern one, in which individuals are viewed as autonomous agents, they are free to ...more

News & Interviews

Kazuo Ishiguro insists he’s an optimist about technology.  “I'm not one of these people who thinks it's going to come and destroy us,” he...
190 likes · 22 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »