nPrimitive societies were tribal. The members of the
tribe were bonded together
initially by kinship and worship of the same gods.
nThere was no formal law, but there were norms derived from custom and religion.
nThe visible authority was the ruler, or chief; the
ultimate authorities were
believed to be the gods whose will was revealed in the forces of nature and in the revelations
of the tribal head or the
nWrongs against the tribe, such as sacrilege or breach of
tribal custom, were met with group
sanctions including ridicule and
hostility, and, the tribe members thought, with the wrath of the gods.
nWrongs against individuals, such as murder, theft,
adultery, or failure to repay a
debt, were avenged by the family of the victim, often in actions against the family of the
wrongdoer. Revenge of this kind was
based on tribal custom, which became
a major component of early legal systems.