Alfred the Great – legal code

The Doom Book, Code of Alfred or Legal Code of Aelfred the Great was the code of laws (“dooms”, laws or judgments) compiled by Alfred the Great (c. 893 AD) from three prior Saxon codes, to which he prefixed the Ten Commandments of Moses and incorporated rules of life from the Mosaic Code and the Christian code of ethics.
The title “Doom book” (originally “dom-boc” or “dom-boke”) comes from dōm (pronounced “dome”) which is the Anglo-Saxon word meaning “judgment” or “law” — for instance, see Alfred’s admonishment: Doom very evenly! Do not doom one doom to the rich; another to the poor! Nor doom one doom to your friend; another to your foe! The following reflects Mosaic Law: “You shall do no injustice in judgment! You shall not be partial to the poor; nor defer to the great! But you are to judge your neighbour fairly!” (Leviticus 19:15).
F. N. Lee extensively documents Alfred the Great’s work of collecting the law codes from the three Christian Saxon kingdoms and compiling them into his Doom Book. Lee details how Alfred incorporated the principles of the Mosaic law into his Code. He then examines how this Code of Alfred became the foundation for the Common Law. The three previous codes were those of Æthelberht of Kent (c. 602 AD), Ine of Wessex (c. 694 AD) and Offa of Mercia (c. 786 AD)



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