International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Sir Henry Sumner Maine (1822-1888), a Victorian British jurist, was one of the founding fathers of anthropology, and legal anthropology in particular. He is best known for Ancient Law (1861) and its famous law on the transition from status to contract in Indo-European societies. For seven years, from 1862, he was legal adviser to the Council of the Governor General of India. He was interested in the dynamics between law and social change, the functioning of customary law in Indian village communities. His writings fostered the development of field investigations in India. Professor of law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he is also the author of Village Communities in East and West (1871), Lectures on the Early History of Institutions (1875), and Dissertations on Early Law and Custom (1883).

Keywords: Legal Anthropology | Evolutionism | 19th century | United Kingdom | British Raj