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In this Article, I would like to air some doubts about our dominant model of the origins of law and the state-what legal historians often call the "self-help" model. The self-help model is widely believed to offer a complete and adequate explanation of the origins and early development of law, and it comes close to being our standard model for explaining all periods in the development of the law.' Nevertheless, I am going to argue that it is significantly flawed. In particular, I am going to try to show that the self-help model rests on a serious misinterpretation of two prominent themes in our archaic sources: the mutilation of bodies and the setting of prices.

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