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A Short History of European Law

A Short History of European Law

The Last Two and a Half Millennia

Tamar Herzog

ISBN 9780674981744

Publication date: 01/08/2018

A Short History of European Law brings to life 2,500 years of legal history, tying current norms to the circumstances of their conception. Tamar Herzog describes how successive legal systems built upon one another, from ancient times through the European Union. Roman law formed the backbone of each configuration, though the way it was used and reshaped varied dramatically from one century and place to the next. Only by considering Continental civil law and English common law together do we see how they drew from and enriched this shared tradition.

“A remarkable achievement, sure to become a go-to text for scholars and students alike… A must-read for anyone eager to understand the origins of core legal concepts and institution—like due process and rule of law—that profoundly shape the societies in which we live today.”
—Amalia D. Kessler, Stanford University

“A fundamental and timely contribution to the understanding of Europe as seen through its legal systems. Herzog masterfully shows the profound unity of legal thinking and practices across the Continent and in England.”
—Federico Varese, Oxford University

“Required reading for Americanists North and South, and indeed, for all of us inhabiting a postcolonial world deeply marked by the millennia of legal imaginings whose dynamic transformations it so lucidly charts.”
—David Nirenberg, University of Chicago


  • Tamar Herzog is Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor in the History Department at Harvard University, and Affiliated Faculty Member at Harvard Law School.

Book Details

  • Harvard University Press

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