Essay about The Judicial System During The Tang Dynasty

Essay about The Judicial System During The Tang Dynasty

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Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee Paper


The judicial system during the Tang dynasty in China is a legal system which carried with it many eccentricities, but for the time, these methods of criminal detection and legal proceeding were highly regarded as intellectual and more than adequate when discussing criminal action. From torture to the consultation of various divination practices, the pursuit of legal action within the Chinese system of law during this era is certainly one to be examined and discussed at great length.
In the Tang dynasty, and within other eras of ancient China, there existed the position in the legal system known as magistrate. Based upon the Robert Van Gulik work, one can determine that the primary function of the magistrate during this time was similar to that of a modern day judge. His duties during a normal working day included listening to cases, working out civil matters, and various other duties relating to the goings on within his area of jurisdiction. Though, unlike a judge from the modern era, the magistrate’s duties did not stop there. This can be seen very well in the Van Gulik work. The protagonist of the novel was a magistrate known around the land as Judge Dee. His position carried with it quite a bit more weight than that of any modern day legal appointee. He was charged with the task of finding justice at all costs. In those days the magistrate was seen an official who achieved justice and promoted the peace and unity of his province through fair trials and the exaction of punishment upon those who violated the laws of the land. His position was charged with being honorable and trustworthy for the purposes of instilling that honor and trust in the people under the law itself.
While th...


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...stimony of a ghost would not be tolerated in a modern court, but in the days of Judge Dee these were legitimate methods of criminal detection and legal proceeding. Judge Dee utilized the lines of a poem he saw in a dream in order to catch the criminal who had murdered two merchants outside of his provinces market district, he was led to the grave of Mrs. Djou’s husband by a spectral entity, and he utilized both meditation and divination to acquire knowledge about the cases with which he was involved. The stories of Judge Dee, certainly in these aspects, show a type of legal system many would never have known otherwise and one can definitely see how this in depth look into the legal proceeding of the Tang dynasty, be they fiction or not, is essential to understanding the judicial system of said dynasty and of the way in which people saw law enforcement in those days.

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