Manusmriti, translated “Laws of Manu” or “Institutions of Manu,” is the most important and authoritative Hindu Law Book (Dharmashastra), which served as a foundational work on Hindu law and jurisprudence in the ancient Indian society. Until the modern times it was the standard reference for both the rulers who patronized Vedic faith and the people who practiced it. Manu in Hindu tradition is considered to be the first of Brahma’s sons and a progenitor of human race. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the age of Manusmriti. The laws of Manu might have been known to the Vedic people for a long time before they were codified into their present form sometime during the post Vedic period. The work that we have today as Manusmriti might have reached its final form through the contribution of many by 200 CE.
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content courtesy : http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/manusmriti.asp