Maine observed in his Lectures on the Early History of Institutions56 that the Scottish Highlands retained many of the political characteristics of a more ancient condition of the World. He explains that Brehon Irish Law is an authentic monument to a very ancient group of Japhethitic institutions. Indeed, it is the oldest institution of the Western European portion of the human race.
Further, continued Maine,57 retaliation — cf. Exodus 21:22-25 — prevailed in Erin before Patrick [432f A.D.]. The Senchus Mor or written Code of ‘Irish Customs’ describes the legal rules embodied in its text as being formed from the ‘Law of Nature’ and from the ‘Law of the Letter.’