characters cuneiform insane person writing accadian time ideograph represented syllabary
INSANITY LAW, the effect of insanity upon responsibility and civil capacity has been recognized at an early period in every system of law. In the Roman jurisprudence its consequences were very fully developed, and the provisions and terminology of that system have largely affected the subsequent legal treatment of the subject. Its leading principles were simple and well marked. The insane person having no intelligent will, and being thus incapable of consent or voluntary action, could acquire no right and incur no responsibility by his own acts ; his person and property were placed after inquiry by the magistrate under the control of a curator. The different terms by which the insane were known, such as Clemens, furiosus, fatuus, although no doubt signifying different types of insanity, did not infer any difference of legal treatment. They were popular names which were used somewhat indifferently, but which all denoted the complete deprivation of reason. During the Middle Ages the insane were but little protected or regarded by law. Their legal acts were annulled, and their property placed under control, but little or no attempt was made to supervise their personal treatment. In England the wardship of idiots and lunatics, which was annexed before the reign of Edward II. to the king's prerogative, had regard chiefly to the control of their lands and estates, and was only gradually elaborated into the systematic control of their person and property now exercised in chancery. Those whose means were insignifi-• cant were left to the care of their relations or to charity, In criminal law the plea of insanity was unavailing except in extreme eases. About the beginning of this century a very considerable change commenced. The public attention was very strongly attracted to the miserable condition of the insane who were incarcerated in asylums without any efficient check or inspection ; and at the same time the medical knowledge of insanity entered on a new phase. The possibility and advantages of a better treatment of insanity were illustrated by eminent physicians both in France and England ; its physical origin became generally accepted ; its mental phenomena were more carefully observed, and its relation was established to other mental conditions which had not hitherto been regarded as insane in the proper sense of the word. From this period we date the commencement of legislation such as that known in England as the Lunacy Acts, which aimed at the regulation and control of all constraint applied to the insane. And at the same time we find the commencement of a new state of matters in the courts. Hitherto, the criteria of insanity had been very rude, and the evidence was generally of a loose and popular character ; but, whenever it was fully recognized that insanity was a disease with which physicians who had studied the subject were peculiarly conversant, expert evidence obtained increased importance, and from this time became prominent in every case. The newer medical views of insanity were thus brought into contact with the old narrow conception of the law courts, and a controversy arose in the field of criminal law which in England, at least, is not yet settled.
The fact of insanity may operate in law - (1) by excluding responsibility for crime ; (2) by invalidating legal acts ; by affording ground for depriving the insane person by a legal process of the control of his person and property ; or by affording ground for putting him under restraint.
to be insane, and in that case he is ordered to be detained during her majesty's pleasure ; and the home secretary has power to order him to be detained at such place as he may direct. Prisoners who become insane while in prison upon any form of legal process may also be removed by warrant of the home secretary to whatever asylum he thinks fit. All these are known technically as criminal lunatics, and an asylum has been provided for their detention at Broad-moor, from which they can only be discharged by warrant of the home secretary. (39 & 40 Geo. III. e. 91 ; 3 & 4 Viet. c. 54 ; 23 & 24 Viet. c. 65 ; 27 & 28 Viet. c. 29 ; 30 & 31 Viet. c. 12.) The law thus clearly laid down by the courts has been strongly condemned by most medical authorities, who maintain that it is founded upon an ignorant and imperfect -view of insanity. There can be no doubt that insanity does not wholly or even chiefly affect the will through the intellectual faculties. The disturbance of emotion and feeling is at least of equal consequence. We have cases where a criminal act seems to spring entirely from this source, and very many others where we have a complex of morbid intelligence and feeling which it is impossible to disentangle. In cases like those it is impossible by any analysis to separate the intellectual from the emotional phenomena, and to assess the amount of intelligence which, although morbid or defective, ought to be sufficient to restrain the equally morbid emotional condition. It seems clear that in judging of responsibility we ought to take the mental condition of the insane as a whole ; and the present view of the law seems to have originated partly from ignorance of the more obscure phenomena of insanity, and partly from the metaphysical conception of a will whose freedom is only limited by its intelligence. It must, however, be remembered, on the other hand, that the courts have had serious difficulties to encounter. The views of insanity and consequent irresponsibility presented to them in medical evidence were often so vague that they seemed capable of indefinite extension, and there is no subject on which the experts have appeared so much at variance with each other. But these difficulties, however much they may call for the watchfulness of the courts, seem no sufficient ground for limiting time effect of insanity in relation to responsibility to time intellectual faculties. Such a limitation seems opposed, not merely to our present knowledge of insanity, but to the experience of ordinary psychology. These controversies are not confined to England. In the United States the law may generally be said to be the same as that of England, hut, as the judges have been by no means so tightly bound down as the English judges have been by the opinions in Macnaugliton's case, a considerable tendency has been shown in many (or indeed most) States to take a more liberal view of the question. In France the provision of the Code Napoleon, "il n'y a ni crime ni ddlit lorsque he prevenu Ctait en tat de ddmence," depends for its effect upon the interpretation given to the word demence, and for some time the tribunals were inclined to interpret it in such a manner as to make the law very much the same as that of England ; but the view of the physicians is now generally prevalent. In Germany the matter is dealt with in a section (§51,P.G.B.) of the criminal code, which was the result of very careful discussion both by physicians and lawyers. It runs thus : "There is no criminal act when the actor at the time of the offence is in a state of unconsciousness or morbid disturbance of the mind, through which the free determination of his will is excluded."
conception of the nature of his property and the objects of his bounty. But it is needless to say that the least appearance of insanity in the deed itself, or any appearance of fraud or undue persuasion on the part of any one, is immediately fatal to the deed. In the case of contracts an additional element is knowledge of the insanity by the other party. When the contract was entered into bona fide, and the insanity of the one party was not known to the other, the contract may not be set aside unless the parties can be exactly restored to their previous condition.
Both the property and person of the insane may be placed under control by a legal process. In England this right was early annexed to the prerogative of the crown, and is even yet in consequence not exercised by the ordinary courts, but by the lord chancellor and such other judges as may be entrusted with it by the sign manual. The procedure is now governed by the Lunacy Regulation Acts (16 & 17 Vict. c. 70; 18 Vict. c. 13; 25 & 26 Vict. c. 86). The question of insanity is tried before one of the masters in lunacy, either with or without a jury, according to circumstances. The terms of the inquiry are - whether the party is of unsound mind and incapable of managing himself and his affairs ; and on this being found his person and property are placed in charge of one or more persons called committees, whose administration is subject to the masters in lunacy, and through them to the chancellor. Persons thus found insane (technically known from the old form of procedure as lunatics so found by inquisition) are under the inspection of the board of chancery visitors, consisting of two medical men and a barrister, who arc appointed to visit them at intervals. They are not subject to the provisions of the Lunacy Acts.
In Scotland the old procedure is by a brieve or writ from chancery, formerly tried before the judge ordinary and now before the lord president of the court of session. The nearest male agnate of twenty-five years of age is appointed tutor, but, latterly at least, is not entrusted with the personal custody, the court, if necessary, selecting some one for the purpose, generally the nearest cognate. The procedure by brieves is now becoming infrequent. More generally application is made to the court of session to appoint a curator bonis to take charge of the estate. This procedure is in many ways simpler and more convenient, especially in the numerous cases which are unopposed, as the court when they are satisfied that every person concerned has had due notice will grant the application on the certificate of two medical men. In America and on the Continent similar forms of procedure exist, which cannot be gone into in detail. In the United States the law is mostly, as is natural, derived from the English sources, but the procedure is regulated by statute in the different States. In many other countries, where the common law is based on Roman jurisprudence, the procedure seems to differ in many points from the English forms, but in substance the law on the subject has in nearly all countries reached very much the same results.
Insane persons (although not lunatics so found by inquisition) may be placed under personal restraint. At common law this power is limited to cases where the insane person is dangerous to himself or others, but in practice it used frequently to be exercised with little discretion and often with great barbarity. The care and restraint of the insane (other than that exercised by their friends and relatives in their own homes) is now strictly controlled by the Lunacy Acts (8 & 9 Vict. c. 100 ; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 96 ; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 97 ; 25 & 26 Viet. c. 111), the general nature of whose provisions may be thus briefly described. The chief supervision of the insane is vested in a body called the Commissioners of Lunacy. No insane person can be received for profit, or detained in any house or asylum except upon an order by a person who becomes responsible for his detention, accompanied by certificates of two qualified medical practitioners that ho is insane, and a proper person to be taken charge of and detained under care and treatment. Every such ease must at once be reported to the commissioners, who must also be informed of the patient's death, discharge, change of residence, and similar circumstances. Not more than one insane person can be received into a house unless a licence has been previously obtained. In the metropolitan districts such licences are granted after due examination by the commissioners, and in the provinces by the justices of peace in quarter sessions. Every house thus licensed, together with public hospitals and asylums (which are not under licence), and every patient under private treatment, are subjected to a more or less frequent inspection by the commissioners, as well as by visitors appointed in their respective districts by the quarter sessions. The private licensed houses are under especially frequent inspection; their regulations and arrangements are subject to the approval of the commissioners, and especial precautions are taken that the patients shall have full opportunity of having their cases examined and of communicating with the commissioners. Patients may be discharged as cured, or on the direction of the person who ordered their detention, or on the order of the commissioners, all these modes of discharge, however, being guarded by various conditions. The order for detention of a lunatic may be given by any person having an interest in him, and he is liable in damages if there prove to have been no sufficient ground for the order, his position differing in this respect from that of the physicians and keeper of the asylum, who are only liable in the event of negligence or mala fides.
In Scotland the equivalent Acts are 20 & 21 Vict. c. 71, 25 & 26 Vict. c. 54, and 29 & 30 Vict. c. 51. The system is in its main features the same as that of England, the.leading differences being that the Commissioners of Lunacy are the only licensing body, and that an order granted on application by the sheriff takes the place of the order by a private person.
The regulations applicable to pauper lunatics differ in some respects from the ordinary case. The provisions applicable to them are for the most part to be found in 16 & 17 Vict. e. 97, and in 20 & 21 Vict. c. 71.
The nature of the evidence, and the manner in which it is to be presented to the court, is an important question in every department of the legal treatment of insanity. In England the courts, although giving increasing prominence to expert evidence, have gone a good deal on the theory that the medical evidence is merely a part of the general evidence in the case. In most Continental countries, on the other hand, the whole evidence is presented in the shape of reports by medical men (in most instances officials) who have previously examined the case; and in this way every piece of evidence as to the state of mind of the insane person is commented on by an expert who is presumably better acquainted with its true import than an ordinary court or jury.
Literature. - The most recent book on the general law and procedure in insanity is A Treatise on the Law and Practice of Lunacy, by H. M. R. Pope (London, 1877) ; Archibald's Statutes relating to Lunacy (2d ed., London, 1877) contains the statutory law on all branches ; Bertrand, _Uri sur les Alien& (Paris, 1872), presents a comparative view of English and foreign legislations. In forensic medicine the works of Taylor (Medical Jurisprudence, 2d ed., London, 1873) and of Wharton and Still4 (A Treatise on .ifedie«l Jurisprudence, Philadelphia, 1873) are probably the English authorities in most CO111111011 use. See also Casper and Liman, Practisehes Handbueh der Gerichtlichen Mediein, Berlin, 6th ed., 1876; Tardieu, Etude medico-logale ,C1(9' la Folie, Paris, 1872 ; Legrand do Saulle, La Folic Avant les Tribunaux, Paris, 1864 ; and especially Krafft•Ebing, Lchrlruch der gerichtlichen Psychol;athologic, Stuttgart, 187r, (A. GI.) I. CuNEIFOn11f.
Plate I. INSCRIPTIONS in characters sometimes termed cuneiform or wedge-shaped, sometimes arrow-headed, havo been found throughout a large part of western Asia, - in Persia and Babylonia, Assyria and Media, Armenia and Mesopotamia. The names given to the characters are derived from their form, as sonic of them resemble the points of arrows, though most have the appearance of wedges, thicker at one end than at the other. This appearance is due to the fact that the characters were originally impressed upon moist clay by p. metal stylus, and the form consequently assumed by them was subsequently imitated by the engraver upon stone and metal. The characters were primarily pictorial, but in course of time the outlines of the primitive pictures came to be alone preserved, while the nature of the writing materials caused curves to become angles, and rounded lines straight ones.
Varieties of Cuneiform Writing. - The original home of tire cuneiform system of writing was either Elam or Babylonia, the inventors-of the hieroglyphics in which it originated being the ancient Accadian population of Chaldea. It passed from the latter to a number of other nations, undergoing at the same time a variety of modifications. It was first borrowed by the Semitic settlers in Babylonia and Assyria, and from them it was handed on to the Turanian tribes of India, the Alarodians of ancient Armenia, and the Aryans of Persia, while the Turanian inhabitants of Elam or Susiania preserved the system as it had been in use among the Accadians of Chaldea.
In Babylonia, Assyria, Susiania, and Media the forms of the characters underwent several changes at successive periods, the tendency in each case being to simplify the characters by dropping superfluous wedges. In Babylonia we have to distinguish between the archaic, the linear, the hieratic, and the later forms of the characters. The archaic forms are principally found on bricks and cylinders of the Accadian epoch (before 2000 n.c.), and are the oldest forms of the characters of which we have contemporary specimens. The linear forms were in use at the same time, and are marked off from the archaic forms by being written in continuous lines instead of a series of wedges, and sometimes also by a closer resemblance to the original pictures from which they were derived. The hieratic forms were mainly employed between the overthrow of the Accadian power (about 1700 n.c.) and the 8th century B.C., more especially for contracts and similar documents. The later forms may be seen on the monuments of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors, a further modification of them being used for the Babylonian transcripts of the Persian cuneiform inscriptions. In Assyria also we may classify the characters as archaic, hieratic, and later (or Ninevite), though the forms they assumed in Assyria were not identical with those used in Babylonia which we have called by similar names. The hieratic forms were mainly employed in Assyria for ornamental or religious purposes, and may be compared with our own black letter. In Susiania the archaic forms of the characters lingered to the last, though in the northern part of the country simplified forms were in use. In Media a considerable difference may be observed between the peculiar forms of many characters in the older inscriptions of Mal•Amir and the forms borne by them in the Protomedic transcripts of the Persian .monuments. The Armenian or Venni° characters wore the same as those of Assyria, except that where one line or wedge had to be drawn across another, it was broken into two. But this was to prevent the stone from breaking at the point of section.
It will be noticed that the cuneiform characters were employed to express very different languages. The Accadian, like the allied dialects of Susiania and primitive Media, was agglutinative, and probably belonged to the Ural-Altaic family of speech; Assyrian and later Babylonian were Semitic ; Persian was East Aryan ; while the Armenian of Van seems to claim affinity with that Alarodian group of tongues of which Georgian may be regarded as the modern representative.
The Origin and Development of the Cuneiform System of Writing, - As already stated, the cuneiform characters were in their origin pictorial. In ninny cases it is possible to restore the primitive hieroglyphics or ideographs by the help of the archaic and linear Babylonian forms, and a fragment of a clay tablet has been discovered on which the pictorial originals of a few characters are given. In order to restore the primitive pictures, it is frequently necessary to turn a character upon its side, from which we may infer that the ideographs were once written vertically like Chinese. Thus < the ideograph of "an eye," is plainly a representation of the eye in a vertical position.
The primitive pictures denoted either objects or ideas, the latter being represented metaphorically by the picture of one or more objects. "Life," for example, was expressed by the picture of a growing flower, "a month " by placing the numeral xxx. within the circle of the sun, which symbolized the day. But the same picture might denote more than one idea or object. Thus the circle of the sun represented riot only " the sun " and " the day," but also "light," "brilliance," and the like ; and a pair of legs represented the ideas of "going," " walking," and "running." By combining two or more ideographs together, fresh ideas might be symbolized to an almost infinite extent ; "drinking," for example, is denoted by placing the three drops which denoted water within the picture of the mouth, " language " by substituting the tongue for the three drops of water, and "a tear" by setting the ideograph of water before that of the eye.
Out of this early picture-writing there soon grew a syllabary. Accadian was an agglutinative language, which was already largely affected by phonetic decay, the result being that on the one hand the same word might be used indifferently for noun, verb, and adverb, as in English, while on the other hand the loss of final sounds had reduced a great part of the vocabulary to the condition of monosyllables. Ideographs consequently came to be associated with the sounds of the words which they primarily or most usually represented, and these words were mostly monosyllabic. This the ideograph of " month " Pit) was known as id or it, that of "going" (dun) as du, that of " drinking " as nak, that of a " tear " as in But the same object or idea was frequently expressed by more than one name, while each of the ideas represented by a single sign was naturally denoted by a different word. Hence the same ideograph, or character, as we may now term it, had varying pronunciations assigned to it according to its meaning and use ; the ideograph of the " sun," for instance, was called, not only at or ad (for ate), but also par (for para), tam, lakh, and khis. Thus the ideographs, as soon as they came to appeal to the ear as well as to the eye, were necessarily polyphonous.
A further step in advance was now taken. An ideograph continued to represent the pronunciation of the word for which it originally stood even when it no longer represented the word. itself ; that is to say, the pronunciation of the word it denoted became attached to it as a mere phonetic value. This important innovation, which amounted to a change of the old picture-writing into a syllabary, must have taken place at an early period in its history. Though native proper names, which were always significant, could he written ideographically, it was necessary to find some other way of denoting foreign proper names, which had no meaning in Accadian. The pronouns, moreover, must have been a difficulty from the first, and the fact that these . are invariably represented in Accadian, not by ideographs, but by characters used phonetically, indicates a very early date for the employment of the characters to represent syllabic sounds as well as ideas. This is borne out by the existence of several compound characters, in which the second element denotes only the pronunciation of the words for which they stand. The picture of a corpse, for example, had the phonetic value of bat, since bat, meant " corpse" and "death" in Accadian ; but, as bat also signified " a fortress," the ideograph of " corpse " was inserted within the ideograph of "enclosure," not because there was any relationship between the ideas of "death " and " fortress," but to indicate that the character which meant an enclosure was to be interpreted as signifying "a fortress," and to be pronounced bat. So, too, the usual word for " going " was data or du ; but there was another word ara or ra with the same meaning, and when the latter was intended to be read the fact was pointed out by attaching the character which had the phonetic value of ra to the ideograph which expressed the idea of "going."
While the characters could thus be used as mere phonetic symbols, some few of them could be employed, on the other hand, for the language of the eye only. These were the determinative prefixes and affixes, such as the eight-rayed star, which represented a deity, or the shaded circle, which denoted a country or place. Their original use seems to have been to mark out those groups of characters which had to be read phonetically, and not as ideographs.
Like the lexicographers of China, the lexicographers of Accad attempted to classify and arrange the characters of their syllabary. Every character received a name of its own, so that literary works could be copied from dictation. A list of primary characters was first drawn up, each of which was named from the object it originally represented. The remaining characters were regarded as compounds, and divided into two classes. The first class consisted of characters which differed from the primary ones in having extra wedges, the second class of those that were really compounds. This classification of the syllabary must have been completed at a very remote date, since the analysis of many of the compound characters can only be explained by the forms they bear in archaic Babylonian, and in some cises even the archaic Babylonian forms are not sufficiently primitive. We may gather from this some idea of the epoch to which the invention of the cuneiform system of writing reaches back.
The Transmission of the Cuneiform Characters. - As far back as the second millennium D.C. Semitic tribes were in possession of a part of Chaldea. Duigi, the son and successor of the first Accadian monarch of whom we have contemporaneous record, has left us an inscription in which the cuneiform system of writing is adapted to the expression of a Semitic language. By the 17th century B.C. the Accadian language seems to have been wholly superseded by Semitic Babylonian and its northern dialect Assyrian. Along with other elements of civilization, the Semites received the cuneiform system of writing from their predecessors, and in the process of transmission the transformation of the old picture-writing into a syllabary was completed. The Accadian words represented by the characters when used as ideographs became phonetic values, and, since the same ideograph usually represented several different words, almost every character was polyphonous. It is true that some of these Accadian words, and even some of the phonetic values borne by the characters in Accadian, were rejected by the Semites, but on the other hand new phonetic values attached themselves to a few of the characters derived from the Semitic pronunciation of the latter when employed ideographically. For the Semites continued to use the characters on occasions ideographically as well as syllabically.
A greater extension was also given to the employment of determinative prefixes ; the name of an individual, for instance, is always preceded by an upright wedge, the names of a country and a city by the ideographs which stand for these two ideas. The reader was assisted towards knowing when a character was used as an ideograph by the employment of phonetic complements, that is to say, characters which denoted the last syllable of the word intended to be read. Thus, when the ideograph 4.Z.A, " to conquer," is followed by the syllable ad, we may infer that it must bo pronounced acsud, " I conquered," or some other person of the past tense of the same verb.
The real difficulty the cuneiform syllabary offers to the decipherer is not the polyphony of the characters, but one which would not have been felt by the Assyrians themselves. Accadian and Assyrian phonology did not always agree, and in borrowing the Accadian system of writing the Assyrians had to adapt the sounds of their own language, as best they could, to the phonetic symbols of another. Consequently no distinction in writing is made between final b and p; g, c, and k; and d, dh, and t. Teth is inadequately represented sometimes by d, sometimes by t; and there is but one character for za (NT) and tsa (N). No difference could be drawn between a and yu, and i and yi, while the representative of the consonantal ayin has to stand also for the diphthong c.
The Assyrians continued to follow the example of the Babylonians in writing on clay, but they also made use of papyrus and stone. This literature on clay is very extensive, and embraces every branch of study known at the time. For an account of it see BABYLONIA, vol. iii. p. 191.
The learned court of Assur-bani-pal in the 7th century B.C. amused itself with essays in Accadian composition, the extinct language of primitive Babylonia standing in much the same relation to the Assyrians that Latin does to us. But literary Assyrian itself was fast becoming an artificial dialect. The Aramman alphabet was introduced into Nineveh at least. as early as the Sth century D.C., and, though Nebuchadnezzar and his successors continued to employ the cuneiform syllabary, the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus was a blow from which the old mode of writing never recovered. The literary dialect and the characters in which it was inscribed were more and more disused, and finally disappeared altogether. Commercial tablets, how- ever, dated in the reigns of tho earlier Arsacid princes, have been found written in cuneiform, and if M. Oppert's identification is correct, a deed of sale, now in the Zurich museum, and written in cuneiform characters, is dated in the fifth year of Pacorus, the contemporary of Domitian.
The Assyrian syllabary was borrowed by the Armenians and Minnians of Lake Van in the reign of a certain king named Lutipri in the 9th century B.C. The characters both in form and use are identical with those of Nineveh, except that the Armenians rejected the polyphony of the Assyrian syllabary, arid with one or two exceptions used each sign with one phonetic value only.
After the occupation of Armenia by the Aryans, the use of the cuneiform character seems to have been discontinued, and no " Vannic " or Armenian cuneiform inscriptions are known to exist of later date than the 7th century B.C.
The example set by the Armenians seems to have been soon followed by their Turanian neighbours in Media. The earliest specimens of the so-called Protomedic (or Amardian) syllabary are to be found in the inscriptions of Mal-Amir and Sherif Khan. The syllabary of Nineveh appears to have been again the source from which the new script was borrowed. As among the Armenians, polyphony was rejected, a few ideographs only were used, and a selected number of characters employed. The Protomedic transcripts of the Persian inscriptions are written in this syllabary. In Susiania or Elam the archaic Babylonian form of cuneiform continued in use up to the last.
It was reserved for the Aryans of Persia to discover the ultimate capabilities of the cuneiform system of writing by reducing its characters to an alphabet of forty letters. These were divided into two classes, those with an inherent vowel a, and those which were followed by 'tt and i. At the same time all superfluous wedges were thrown away, and the forms of the characters thus simplified as much as their pronunciation. Dr Oppert has pointed out the principle upon which the formation of this new alphabet was carried out. Some one meaning was selected among those a character might bear when used as an ideograph, and this was rendered by its Persian equivalent. The initial sound of the latter was the alphabetic value henceforth represented by the character. Thus " time of life," 'Zaya in Persian, was contracted into and made to represent 'a (a, tic). A few ideographs were retained along with the alphabetic characters. The Persian cuneiform alphabet, called "Assyrian letters" by Herodotns, seems to have been invented in the early part of the reign of Darius, and, being confined to monumental purposes, soon fell into disuse.
Possibly the reduction of the cuneiform syllabary into an alphabet was suggested by a previous acquaintance with alphabetic writing. In the Persian inscriptions the words are divided from one another by an oblique wedge. A similar division of words is found in one or two Assyrian inscriptions.
See Menant, Le Syllabeare Assyrien, 1861-73 ; Sayee, Lectures upon the Assyrian Language awl labary, 1877. (A. 11.. S.)