The customs of wrongs appear to permeate all cultures and to be common to all peoples, although the specific nature of these customs varies dramatically. There are a large number of examples provided by premodern societies demonstrating that claim. This entry focuses on how traditional societies understood and responded to what in modern language one would call civil wrongs and provides illustrations from across various cultures and traditions. By doing this, we will see that much of what contemporary legal systems view as crimes were understood and interpreted by traditional societies in a manner which in modern parlance would fall under the rubric of a civil wrong or torts.

Civil or Criminal Wrongs

Some scholars argue that until quite recently, most peoples dealt with nearly all transgressions ...

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