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Leave it to a lawyer...
Thought I'd forward this from one of friends of the legal
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Author: John1082@aol.com at smtpgate
Date: 3/17/96 3:20 PM
t legal system in Europe comes from
The Brehon Laws governed Ireland until the early 1600's and embodied
sound principles of justice originating in the customs of Celtic tribal
society. Wandering jurists, or "Brehons," memorized the laws in an ancient
form of the Irish Gaelic language and held court on hillsides. Legal
penalties were assessed in units corresponding to the value of a milk cow.
Here's a sampling of Brehon Laws, adapted from Michael Paine's
"Neural Net Inc." essay collection at http://www.irdg.com/mep on the
* Whoever comes to your house, you must feed and care for him, no questions
* A layman may drink 6 pints of ale with his dinner but a monk only three so
he is sober when prayer time arrives.
* It is illegal to give someone food in which a dead weasel or mouse has been
* The Bard who overcharges for his poem shall be stripped of half his rank in
* If a man takes a woman off a horse, into the wood or on a boat and if the
family members are present they must object in writing within 24 hours or no
fine will be paid.
* The groom shall pay a bride-price of cattle, land, horses, gold or silver
to the Father of the bride. Husband and wife retain individual rights to
property, goods and possessions each bring to the marriage.
* If a pregnant woman craves a morsel of food and her husband withholds it
through stinginess, meanness or neglect he must pay a fine.
* The husband who, though listless, does not go to his wife in her bed must
pay a fine.
* When a judge deviates from the truth a blotch will appear on his face.
* Three days is the stay of your cattle in the pound for a quarrel in the
ale-house, injury of thy chief, overworking a valuable horse, maiming thy
chained dog, disturbing a fair, great assembly, striking or violating thy
wife. Five days for satirizing a man after his death.
* How many things add to the price of a piece of land? A wood, a mine, site
of a mill, a highway, a road, a great sea, river, mountain, river falling
into the sea, a cool pond for cattle. Add three cows to the price if it's
near a chieftain's house or monastery.
* For the best arable land the price is 24 cows. The price for dry, coarse
land is 12 dry cows.
* For stripping the bark off an oak tree, enough to tan a pair of women's
shoes, the fine is one cow-hide. The defendant must cover the bruise with a
mixture of wet clay, new milk & cow dung.
* A fine of 6 cows for breaking a tribesman's two front teeth; 12 heifers for
maiming a homeless man.
* The doctor shall build his house over a running stream. His house must not
be slovenly or smeared with the tracks of snails. It must have four doors
that open out so the patient may be seen from every side.
* No fools, drunks or scolds are allowed in the doctor's house when a patient
is healing there. No bad news to be brought or talking across the bed. No
grunting pigs or barking dogs outside.
* If the doctor heals your wound but breaks it anew because of carelessness,
neglect or lack of skill the doctor must return his fee and pay damages if he
has further wounded you.
* The blacksmith must rouse all sleeping customers before he puts the iron in
the fire to guard against injury from sparks. Those who fall asleep again
will receive no compensation.
* If a chip of wood flies from carpenter's axe he is not held liable unless
he deliberately aimed the chip at the bystander.
* The mill owner is exempt from liability for injury to persons caught
between the mill-stones.