Are human beings basically evil or good? What creates order in society? Coercion? Religion? Can societies operate without law? This course explores different systems of authority and control through ancient texts, focusing on the very first ideas of law in human history. We examine actual law codes, court cases on real estate disputes and conspiracy to commit murder and rape, as well as alternative means of regulating communities such as ideology, ritual and magic. While most courses on ancient law approach the topic from the perspective of modern concerns, this course situates the first law in its own historical, social and political context. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.