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Supplicium

(250 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('Punishment') is used in Roman law similarly to poena , but confined to 'public' punishment (Penal Law) and more specifically the death penalty. One can only speculate on how supplicium (originally probably a plea for forgiveness) came to acquire the meaning of a punishment. The Twelve Tables (5th cent. BC) do recognize the death penalty in some cases, but primarily as a private punishment; it is not called supplicium in reports on the law. A supplicium more maiorum ('punishment according to the tradition of the forefathers') is mentioned several times i…

Volksrecht

(1,908 words)

Author(s): W.KA. | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Term Volksrecht, a term coined by L. Mitteis [1. 4-9] in 1891, refers to the local legal traditions in the provinces of the Imperium Romanum in contrast to Roman law as Reichsrecht. Conferment of Roman citizenship ( civitas [2]) on (virtually?) all free inhabitants of the empire by the Constitutio Antoniniana (AD 212; see [2; 3]), contrary to some sources (e.g. Theod. Gr. aff. Cur. 9,13 Raeder), did not result in an orientation of provincial legal life towards Roman law. This has been proven by papyri, inscriptions, and by legal opinions from imperial rescripts ( rescript…

Iuridicus

(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The term iuridicus (‘person employed in law’) appears in sources of the Roman Imperial period with very different meanings. 1. From Hadrian, perhaps even Vespasian, iuridici provinciae, more frequently called legati iuridici, appear in imperial provinces. They are representatives of the provincial governor's jurisdiction, sometimes for the whole province, sometimes only for districts. It is disputed whether the juridical powers of the iuridicus were merely derived from the governor (e.g. [1. 1149]) or were genuine imperial powers (as in [2]). 2. The iuridicus …

Libel

(97 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Libel was prosecuted as serious injury to the character in both Greek (Attic) and Roman law. In Athens, libel may have come under kakēgoría (cf. also loidoría ) and have led to a fine in a private suit. In Roman law, libel was likewise a civil offence as a form of iniuria (a wrongful act). Possibly related to libel was the carmen famosum (‘defamatory poem’) of the Twelve Tables ( tabulae duodecim ). An aggravated form of libel was the Roman calumnia (false accusation), which could lead to harsh punishments. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

War, law of

(436 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The origin of the ancient law of war, like that of international law, cannot be attributed to a particular event or treaty. Already before the Greek and Roman periods there were concepts and customs that may retrospectively be understood as part of a law of war. Thus, in ancient Mesopotamia and Homeric Greece, taking spoils was considered legitimate, and a particularly important part of the spoils was the enslavement of prisoners of war and subjugated peoples ( War booty). The OT …

Divortium

(442 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (from divertere, to turn away) is divorce in Roman law. Its basis is clearly set out in a rescript of Alexander Severus in AD 223 (Cod. Iust. 8,38,2): libera matrimonia esse antiquitus placuit (it was recognized of old that marriage is free). Whether this was true of marriages in the early times that were celebrated with special rites is doubtful. But even here extant sources mention that provision was made for a form of divorce (  diffarreatio ). The ‘freedom’ of marriage meant in particular that no grounds were required for its dissolu…

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…

Documents

(6,763 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Gröschler, Peter
I. General [German version] A. Term In legal terms, a document is a written declaration regarding a legal transaction. In modern opinion it is a declaration of intent in a suitable written form that is intended to provide proof in legal transactions and that permits recognition of the issuing party (e.g., [2; 8]). In general, documents include all non-literary and partially literary texts (exceptions are, e.g., poetry and amulets), i.e., apart from business documents, trial and administrative document…

Falsum

(195 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law the crime of forgery. Gell. NA 20,1,53 calls the false bearing of a witness, which according to the XII Tables was punishable with death, testimonium falsum. However this probably had nothing to do with the criminal acts for which Sulla (probably in 81 BC) introduced a public suit ( quaestio de falso) in the lex Cornelia testamentaria nummaria (Dig. 48,10). The jurisprudence of the Imperial period dealt not just with the forging of wills and the counterfeiting of coins as Sulla's law but also for example with the bribing of wi…

Matrimonium

(158 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Besides nuptiae the Roman term for marriage. Matrimonium (‘motherhood’) was associated with the root mater (‘mother’), from which the word is derived. Linguistically, a woman was led or given into matrimonium, and a man had a woman in matrimonio. In law, too, matrimonium was primarily significant because of motherhood: iustum (recognised by law) or legitimum (lawful) matrimonium is a marriage between Roman citizens or between a Roman and a woman who was entitled to conubium . The children of such a marriage were Roman citizens, and their status followed the ius civile, …

Furtum

(819 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Overview Furtum is the offence against property in Roman law. At least in the classical period (1st-3rd cents. AD) the term furtum includes not only theft and embezzlement, but also the mere use of items that are not one's own ( furti usus), the removal of one's own property, e.g. from a collateral creditor ( furtum possessionis, possession theft), fraud, receiving stolen goods and aiding and abetting the perpetrator of a furtum. The object of furtum could in addition to res corporales be slaves and persons under paternal authority. In the classical period, …

Fictio

(422 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Fictio, rooted in Roman jurisprudence, describes a technique still used in modern legal practice in order to arrange sanctions for different circumstances from those originally addressed by the law through working on the assumption that both sets of circumstances are identical, even though in reality they are not. This concept developed from the religious rule stating simulacra pro veris accipiuntur (‘images are accepted as reality’): Priests as the first legal experts in Rome's early history transferred the concept expressed in this reli…

Crux

(354 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Little is known about the origin and spread of crucifixion in ancient legal systems. There is probably no evidence for it in classical Greece [1]. Herodotus (1,128; 4,43; 202) reports on it as a form of execution among the barbarians, Polybius (1,24,6) among the Phoenicians. Little likely is the idea of the Romans adopting it directly from the Phoenicians [2] (differing views in [3; 4]). Crucifixion however does come to be used as capital punishment among the Romans from about 200 BC (cf. Plaut. Mil. 359). The   tresviri capitales probably introduce…

Syro-Roman law book

(350 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The SRLB is a juristic collection of Late Antiquity which survives in several Syriac, Arabic and Armenian versions of differing scope. It was widespread in the territory of the Oriental churches, but contained secular Roman law. The interest in imperial law in the eastern provinces makes itself felt in terms of the history of transmission, first in the Sententiae Syriacae, a paraphrase of imperial laws, esp. from the reign of Diocletian and primarily from the years AD 293/4. The translation into Syriac was not directly from the (lost) Lat…

Suppositio Partus

(20 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law the punishable act of substituting children, partus suppositus . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Comparatio publica

(125 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] was probably not a technical term at first (therefore also c. venalitium, c. specierum). It referred to the public purchases of provisions for the Roman State, primarily concerning military equipment and public grain supplies ( Logistics,   cura annonae ). Comparatio publica (CP) did not become a legal category until the Cod. Theod. (under headings 11,15). There, it is designated as a highly regulated type of business including sales obligations (in modern law: contract obligations) and exact price …
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