What Happened When?

The timeline of the traditional schools of jurisprudence

1500 bc to 500 bc

c. 1300 BC Ten Commandment law is transcribed at Sinai, Mosaic ritual initiated
c. 1080 BC New Kingdom of Egypt falls
621 BC Code of Draco
605 BC Babylonian Empire established under Nebuchadnezzar, Egyptians defeated at Carchemish
c. 548 Medo-Persian Empire established, fall of Babylon
c.535-c. 475 BC Heraclitus creates theory of higher moral law and its impact on human law

c. 1300 BC This has been the generally accepted date for the transcription of the Ten Commandment law found in Exodus 20. According to legend, the Israelite nation, under Moses, were preserved and eventually freed from Egyptian control via the intercessory power of Jehovah. In recognition of this, the Israelite gathered near Mt. Sinai, where Jehovah inscribed the original law. There is, however, some indication that this occurrence may have been earlier, around 1455 to 1458 BC. That no records supporting the Israelite Exodus have ever been found in the Nile valley lead some notable historians to believe that the destructive nature of the plagues as recorded by Moses may have been the last calamity which the Pharaoh Hapshetsut underwent. According to Exodus, the Pharaoh and the Egyptian army were destroyed when attempting to pursue the Israelites. When Hatshepsut's step-son, Thutmose III, came to power, virtually all records of Hatshepsut's reign were destroyed, lending credence to the modified timeline.

c. 1080 BC The New Kingdom was initiated by the Pharaoh Ahmose, who decimated the Hyksos and ultimately reunified the upper and lower kingdoms. The predations of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and ultimately the Persians destroyed the New Kingdom and Egypt never again assumed to the empire status it had enjoyed.

621 BC Draco was an Athenian who was selected by popular vote to write a code of laws for the Athenian people. The fruits of his laber, the Code of Draco, specified death as a punishment for many offenses and was so severe that the word "draconian" (unusually harsh or severe) passed into the English language. However, the Athenians apparently were much impressed by Draco's law. As he entered an auditorium to attend a festival given in his honor, Athenians showered him with there hats and cloak as a gesture of appreciation. Unfortunately, by the time Draco was exhumed from the immense pile of clothing, he had smothered to death.

605 BC Nebuchadnezzar was the son, heir and chief general of Nebuzaradan, the "official" founder of the Babylonian Empire. Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, fell to Nebuchadnezzar after a short siege, and the Egyptians were soundly defeated at Carchemish. Babylon ruled from 605 BC until approximately 548 BC, when Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon was killed.

c. 548 BC The Medo-Persian Empire was established following the accession of Cyrus I to the throne. In an effort to unify his empire, Cyrus employed satraps of the Persians as governors in his empire. Eventually, the Persians placed one of their own on the throne, although this coup was accomplished by political means, and involved no upset in the empire. Historians generally agree that this empire was a joint effort between the two people and do not in general differentiate between the two rulerships.

c. 535 BC Heraclitus, one of the earliest known Grecian philosophers, was born around this time. None of his writings are currently extant, save as quotations and references in later philosophical documents. The claim is put forth that he wrote some 118 rolls of papyrus on a number of subjects, and his works are cited by later philosophical authorities as definitive. His death-date is equally obscure, but most scholars place it around 475 BC.

[ Back to the Timeline ]

This page last updated on 3 May 2002 by John Stradling
Copyright John Stradling 2002