Difference between revisions of "Ažōnị Law"
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Ažōnị Law was an ancient Faelish legal system that survived until the early 19th century. This native legal system was fully developed prior to, and continued in spite of, Roman, Christian, and European invasions of Faeland; although it was somewhat disfigured by each event. Although the exact date of inception of the Law is unknown, the existing evidence would suggest that it was developed during the Bronze Age (2,300 to 900 BC). There is also evidence that would suggest that the major development of a foundational form of the Law took place between the 18th and 13th century BC.
Ažōnị Law managed to remain the law of the Faelish until the devastation of direct Crown interference in the early 1800s. The survival of the law for almost 3 millennia is testament to the sense of honor in which it was held by the people it governed. The laws were laws of users. That is, they attained their authority from public opinion. They were the expression of the moral power of the people. The moral power was the code of honor reflected throughout ancient law and wisdom texts. An individual’s word was their bond.
As laws of users, law could not be changed without public approval. Thus, any modification of existing laws or enactment of new ones could only be achieved in open forum of the assembled people. Thus, although certain individuals could campaign for a specific law, it took a majority vote of all free persons to effect enactment. The Ažōnị Law truly was a Law of the people, by the people, and for the people. The Ažōnị, although often improperly described as Judges, were actually arbitrators and legal advisors to the local ruling class. The social origin of the Azoni was in the poet class, who as a matter of course studied history and memorization of social mores and laws. Originally, in pre-European times, it was the Sasarg or Xenpai ("king" or "queen") who passed judgement when necessary, following recitation of applicable law and advice from the Ažōnị. It was not until late into the 12th century that legal experts began to be appointed as judges. However, even then it was generally limited to European-dominated areas that such appointments took place. The resident Faelish steadfastly refused to give up their old customs. Not until the 19th century was the Ažōnị Law finally overthrown.
As a result of legal rules very frequently being complicated and many considerations having to be made, an outsider could not hope to master the intricacies. Nevertheless, although the field of law was limited, the Ažōnị had to be extremely careful, for they were liable for damages if a false legal opinion was made and besides forfeiting the fee, the inaccurate Ažōnị was also liable for damages. The durability of the Law was quite astounding. Existing in Faeland long before the common-era, it remained the favored system by the Faelish and invaders alike until the 19th century and forcible Demesne displacement of it. This was despite the fact that English and Spaniard colonizers were always strong in their condemnation of the Ažōnị Law; and a number of acts of the metropole governments were taken against it. Parliament even went so far as to declare it an act of treason for English settlers to use it. In defiance of such bans, English who lived outside The Shore – an English dominated area – adopted Ažōnị Law.
The reason for the durability of the Ažōnị law was the people themselves. The entire existing body of literature of Faeland shows the great respect the Faelish people held for justice and law, and an abhorrence for unjust decisions. As late as the end of the 18th century, Sir ____ _____, the jurist for George III stated "…there is no nation of people under the sun that love equal and indifferent justice better than the Faelish…" The penal system that the English throne and parliament would forcibly impose thereafter, would soon bring about unfortunate change.
Nevertheless since independence a resurgence in the practice of the old law has taken place, with a rolling back of patriarchal and exploitative European systems.