Amnon Altman 153 Journal of the History of International Law 6 : 153–172, 2004. ©2004 Koninklijke Brill NV. Printed in the Netherlands. Tracing the Earliest Recorded Concepts of International Law. The Early Dynastic Period in Southern Mesopotamia Amnon Altman We do not know, and will probably never know, when and under what circumstances the ﬁrst rules of behaviour, designated to regulate the relations between two or more human groups, were created. Lying deep in the mists of the very long prehistoric era, they are far beyond our reach. We may speculate about the circumstances of their ﬁrst appearance, but it is only with the invention of writing, and when these early rules were put in writing, that we may speak more conﬁdently about this issue. Writing appeared for the ﬁrst time in the Near East, during the late fourth millennium, and the earliest written documents we have are from the site of Warka, ancient Uruk (biblical Erech), in the southernmost part of Mesopotamia (ca. 3100 BCE). Yet, for the next six hundred years or so the employment of writing was restricted to economic and administrative records, and to sign-lists for the use of the scribal schools. 1 It
Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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