This latest round of the Legalism seminar brings together anthropologists, historians, classicists and others to shed new light on the study of rules and ethics historically and cross-culturally. Within recent anthropology a new ‘anthropology of ethics’ has come to prominence, in dialogue with moral philosophy and focusing on projects of virtuous self-fashioning, inspired by virtue ethics and the later work of Michel Foucault on ‘the care of the self’. This shift of focus towards projects of the self has been highly productive but has entailed a conscious turning away from more legalistic ideas of ethics as a ‘code of conduct’. This vibrant new sub-field has thus arguably turned its back on some of the commonest and most prominent ways of achieving the desired self. From rules of etiquette through dietary prescriptions to religious commandments, the use of rules as what Foucault called ‘technologies of the self’ is ubiquitous. Where the Legalism series has to date concentrated on matters of law, we thus now seek to take the lessons learned beyond the law to questions of personal conduct.