The Napoleonic and German Codes became the most influential.
In contrast to English common law, which consists of enormous tomes of case law, codes in small books are easy to export and easy for judges to apply.
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The history of law links closely to the development of civilization.
Ancient Egyptian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, contained a civil code that was probably broken into twelve books.
Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, which is still the case in some religious communities, particularly Jewish, and some countries, particularly Islamic.
Islamic Sharia law is the world's most widely used religious law.
The Old Testament dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as recommendations for a good society.
The small Greek city-state, ancient Athens, from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and the slave class.
The Law Merchant, a precursor to modern commercial law, emphasised the freedom to contract and alienability of property.
As nationalism grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Law Merchant was incorporated into countries' local law under new civil codes.
In medieval England, royal courts developed a body of precedent which later became the common law.
A Europe-wide Law Merchant was formed so that merchants could trade with common standards of practice rather than with the many splintered facets of local laws.
The Arthashastra, probably compiled around 100 AD (although it contains older material), and the Manusmriti (c.