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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.
Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon as stelae, for the entire public to see; this became known as the Codex Hammurabi.
The most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British Assyriologists, and has since been fully transliterated and translated into various languages, including English, Italian, German, and French.
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.
Lady Justice, a goddess symbolising justice who bears a sword – symbolising the coercive power of a tribunal –, scales – representing an objective standard by which competing claims are weighed – and a blindfold indicating that justice should be impartial and meted out objectively, without fear or favor and regardless of money, wealth, power or identity.