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Military tenure

(283 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] is the ownership of land - perhaps better described as ‘soldiers' tenure’ - to which military obligations were attached: whether armed service by the owner or the recruiting and equipping of soldiers (as representatives of the owner, so to speak). Military tenure (MT) in this sense occurred particularly in the Ancient Orient. It is relatively well recorded for the Persian empire of the Achaemenidae [2] (6th-4th cents. BC) and the Hittite empire ( Ḫattusa II.); Egyptian military co…

Carnifex

(103 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The hangman, who in Roman society as in virtually every place and time fulfilled a despised function, to be performed beyond the pale of civic life. Execution of  capital punishment by the carnifices was supervised under the Roman Republic by the   tresviri capitales . Whether they were state slaves, as was generally supposed in the past, is entirely uncertain. In Cumae and Puteoli it was the independent undertakers, during the imperial age soldiers too, who fulfilled the duties of the carnifex. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography W. Kunkel, Staatsordnung …

Vindicta

(93 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the Roman legal procedure of legis actio sacramento in rem ('legal assertion of claim'): the staff that was symbolically applied to the slave or item of property in order to give concrete expression to the plaintiff’s claim and the defendant’s counterclaim to the item. The etymology of vindicta is disputed (cf. most recently [1. 47 f.12]). The most probable connection appears to be with vim dicere ('to assert that one has - legally founded - power over the item'). Rei vindicatio Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography 1 A. Bürge, Römisches Privatrecht, 1999.

Caelibatus

(260 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The unmarried state ( caelibatus) was a significant object of social evaluation and legal regulation in Rome. In the Republican period, perhaps following early precursors as early as 403 BC (Val. Max. 2,9,1), the censor (102, not 131 BC) Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus spoke out against the unmarried state and childlessness in a speech to the people (Gell. NA 1,6). Augustus took this up, expressly to justify the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus, in the first main piece of his legislation relating to marriage (18 BC) (Liv. 59). This law made it obliga…

Spado

(156 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Latin term for a eunuch, but also for someone who is sterile without having been castrated ( castratio ; Ulp. Dig. 50,16,128). In Roman law, special family and inheritance rights applied to a spado: whereas we have a regulation from the 2nd cent. AD that, in general, allowed a spado to adopt (Gai. Inst. 1,103), under Justinian (6th cent. AD), a distinction was made: the earlier rule applies only to a natural s pado, not to a castrated person (Inst. Iust. 1,11,9). This corresponds to a  general trend against castration in Late Antiquity: permission to marry for a s pado, but …

Rescriptum

(223 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (the 'reply letter') is one of the most important sources for Roman imperial law. In Gai. Inst. 1,5, the rescriptum is simply called epistula ('letter'), but classed as belonging to the constitutiones ('imperial laws'). Already in the Principate, the emperor received queries and proposals from officials and private persons on every matter imaginable. The emperor replied commensurate with the preparation in the chancellery ab epistulis with a rescriptum, a draft of which was archived. Starting with Hadrian (beginning of the 2nd cent. AD), the rescripta more and mo…

Divinatio

(235 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Roman term for the procedure of allowing one of several litigants in a private case (  delatio nominis ) to appear before a public criminal court ( iudicium publicum); the origin of this term is unknown. What Gellius NA 2,4 has to say about the word expresses no confidence; it would therefore seem that its history was no longer known to Romans of the 2nd cent. AD. The employment of a religious term would indicate a very early origin. There is however no basis for a reconstruction. In [1] it is convincingly s…

Iactus

(175 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The technical term in Roman law for ‘jettison’, the unloading of goods at sea from a ship in distress. The so-called lex Rhodia de iactu held that in these cases a community of endangerment of all involved existed: between the damaged party, the mariner ( nauta) and the owners of the salvaged load. In fact, this lex was a customary law throughout the Hellenistic world. Specifically, the damaged party could demand his share of compensation from the mariner in a service contract suit ( actio locati), while the mariner could in turn demand a compensation from the oth…

Lending

(381 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Handing an object to someone for use free of charge probably occurs in all societies every day. Legal conflicts hardly ever result from it. Many legal systems therefore manage without special regulations for these circumstances. It was probably generally the same in antiquity. Roman law, however, equally contains two institutions for the social phenomenon of the loan: the precarium (loan at request) and the commodatum, a binding contract by which the lender is obligated to hand over the object until the end of its usage or until the expiry of …

Libellus

(790 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Libellus in civil actions Libellus (‘small document’) was, from around the mid 5th cent. AD, the technical term for the complaint in a Roman civil action, which by this time was less ponderously arranged than in the formerly customary procedures of the litis denuntiatio . The libellus contained the facts upon which the complaint was based, without detailed explanatory statements, and a motion to summon the respondent ( postulatio ). The judge firstly addressed the legitimacy of the summons request (‘conclusiveness test’), reaching a sententia

Naturales liberi

(370 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (also known as liberi naturales ). In Late Antiquity, ‘natural children’ were the issue of an illegitimate union ( concubinatus ). Compared to other children of illegitimate descent ( spurius ), they were privileged in many respects. Thus, the possibility of a legitimation, that is the eventual acquisition of the legal status of legitimate offspring ( legitimi), existed only for NL. In what was probably initially intended as an incentive to contract marriage with one's partner in concubinage, the parents' marriage brought about the ful…

Communio

(722 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
Joint ownership of an object in Roman law. [German version] A. Past history The most important circumstances that led to the formation of a communio entailed a community of purchasers ( societas quaestus) or a community of heirs. Regarding both, the communio did not gain acceptance until late, towards the end of the Republic. Before that, multiple heirs were joined in a community of ercto non cito (after erctum ciere: to make a division), as we know from the papyrus find of 1933, containing Gaius, Institutiones 3, 154a, b. It originally meant a community of property that exclude…

Capitatio

(111 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The poll-tax of the late Roman Imperial Age from Diocletian (AD 297). As capitatio plebeia, it was probably levied on the urban population. With regard to the taxation of the rural population, it is disputed whether the capitatio was raised independently or was -- as an indicator of income -- only an important unit in the calculation of the land-tax ( iugatio). Widows and orphans, soldiers and veterans were entirely or partly exempted from the capitatio.  Annona;  Iugum Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography W. Goffart, Caput and Colonate: Towards a Histo…

Abortio

(196 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] also partus abactio, is  abortion in late Roman law. For a long time abortion in Rome was apparently not punishable, any more than it was in Greek law (  amblosis ). This was consistent with a legal system which even allowed abandonment of children. It is possible, though, that the censor made sure there was effective social control with regard to evident abuses. Not until a rescript of Sept. Severus and Caracalla (cf. Marcianus Dig. 47,11,4) was exile imposed on married and divorced women w…

Deportatio

(214 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Banishment to an island or a desert oasis was a capital punishment in Roman law; in the Principate (at the latest from Trajan's time, soon after AD 100), it replaced the   aqua et igni interdictio , which had replaced the death penalty for upper-class citizens towards the end of the Republic. The aqua et igni interdictio and deportatio involved lifelong loss of citizenship rights and property. As the offender had not escaped penalty by voluntary flight into exile, banishment ─ generally to a quite specific location (Dig. 48,22,6,1) ─ bec…

Nuptiae

(178 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (from nubere, ‘to cloak oneself, to put on a veil’) refers to marriage in Roman society (Marriage III.B.). A title of the Digesta (23,2: De ritu nuptiarum) with 68 fragments is devoted to wedding customs (III.). This indicates that Roman jurists gave close attention to the requirements for a legal marriage ( iustum matrimonium ). Since fulfilling the matrimonial requirements at the time of the nuptiae was of critical importance for legal recognition of the marriage, the term nuptiae eventually came to be used as a synonym for matrimonium in referring to marriage in g…
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