We all know the immense contribution ancient Roman, medieval Roman (or Byzantine), and pre-modern HRE cannon law has made to the modern world. These empires relied on a written constitution (or code) and trained magistrates, lawyers, and notaries [cf. Judith Herrin, Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire; Peter H. Wilson, Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War]. Much of today's European civil law can trace its origin to those cannons and much of our current legal framework (courts, judges, constitution, senate, and lawyers) are a direct copy of their ideas.
I know that India also has a long tradition of its own legal principles. For example, we know from John Keay: India --A History that during the Mughal period, the administration was uniform and structured and that there existed courts (known as kotwaalis) and magistrates (or kotwaals) [cf, ]. But how did this law function and how was it administered? Where did it originate --did the Mughals bring it with them or was it indigenous to India?
Therefore, I have three three questions for the legal framework in India's ancient period and early middle kingdom period (i.e., 2nd century BCE - 7th century CE):
- Was there a (more or less) uniform law? A uniform law would mean that different kingdoms and janpads would follow roughly similar laws. Non uniformity would mean widely different laws in different realms.
- Was this law (or these laws) documented?
- Were there lawyers and trained magistrates?