Ancient Kemet (Egypt) till today remains a highly mysterious civilization for Europeans and Arabs invaders and usurpers – who disguise as Egyptologists, tearing down every inch of ancient Kemet, in search of treasures and the magnificence of African ancestors. Although many will deny this, we who study history know that everything ancient Egypt was, was sole of Black origin.
And so, as we document and write of the wonderful ancient civilizations, we would also want to share what the Law looked like in ancient Egypt.
Law` is a rule or set of rules involving the conduct of subjects towards another enforced by the court with penalties and regulated by the government.
Ancient Egyptian law is longer than that of any civilization. It first began in 2925BC with the unification of the upper and lower Egypt by Menes and it grew and developed until the Romans conquest of Egypt in 30BC.
The legal system first began in the regional individual districts with the governor and steward presiding over its affairs before it grew and was divided into the Seru(the legal court, presided by elders in rural communities), Kenbet(Court at the regional level), and the Djadjat which was the imperial court and was considered supreme.
The Ancient Egyptian kings made the laws of the land and acted as the supreme judge. Judgment was also delivered by a god( with the use of bits of pottery) and the Vizier who also appointed magistrates. The Vizier was the second in command to the king. He directed all administrative branches of the government. The laws made were based on the concept of the Maat (from the goddess Maat)which represented Morality, Ethics, and Balance of society. But, still, some of the Ancient Egyptians poorly maintained balance, so they were tried and punished when proven guilty.
The ancient Egyptians legal system was made in a way that one was considered guilty until proven innocent. Accused parties were not represented by legal advocates(lawyers), they spoke for themselves. Their laws allowed women to own and bequeath properties, slaves were also allowed to buy properties.
In Ancient Egyptian times, crimes were divided into two; civil offenses and criminal cases. The civil offenses included the stealing of donkeys, stealing of grain and tools, and failure to repay loans. The worst crime was tomb raiding as the treasures of the tombs were considered sacred. Punishments meted for these offenses when proven guilty ranged from 100 lashes on the soles of the feet with 5 bleeding cuts, branding for life with hot metal, etc. The penalties for criminal cases were more strict, harsh, and severe. Punishments included impalement on a stake, burning alive at the square, the throwing of guilty persons to the Nile River to be eaten by crocodiles, mutilations, and exile.
Punishment for infidelity for the woman was divorce and amputation of the nose or death by burning which was unjust in comparison to the 100 lashes of the cane and the 5 bleeding cuts that were meted to the man.
When proven guilty of rape, the male was castrated and his penis amputated. For children who killed their parents, their flesh was cut off in bits by the use of reeds and then condemned to death on a bed of thorns while the punishment for parents who killed their children was starvation and weeping without food for three days and nights.
Although, the ancient Egyptians penalties for crimes are considered barbaric by the people of today, in those times it was the only punishments that were thought by the kings to be the best, especially if balance and order were to be maintained.