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Citations, law governing

(318 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The law known in modern literature as the law governing citations is an order by the Roman emperor declaring which jurists from earlier centuries should be drawn on and cited in legal decisions. With the crisis of the Roman empire in the mid 3rd cent. AD even Roman jurisprudence (  iuris prudentia ) lost the political, social and economical conditions for productive continuation. Legal literature from the 1st cent. BC, the beginning of its ‘classical’ period, therefore changed from being a fund for a discourse o…

Tabulae nuptiales

(226 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (lit. 'marriage tablets'). Marriage contracts in Roman law, set out in documents from the Imperial period onwards (cf. Tac. Ann. 6,45,5 on Messalina [2] and Silius in AD 48). In Roman law, marriage itself was not a (formal) contract, it was sexual communion with the intention of living a married life ( affectio maritalis). The subject of the TN, by contrast, were question of property connected with marriage, primarily the pledging of a dowry ( Dos ) to the husband for the wife's maintenance, in Late Antiquity probably also the husband's…

Repudium

(187 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law, initially the unilateral repudiation of a wife by her husband. From the literal sense (from pudor, 'shame', 'chastity'), repudium would have had serious misconduct (especially adultery, adulterium ) by the wife as a prerequisite. According to the Twelve Tables, as reported by Gai. Dig. 24,2,2,1, for repudium, the man had to call upon the woman to leave ( baete foras) and to take her things with her ( tuas res tibi habeto). As early as the 3rd cent. BC, repudium was possible without any fault committed by the woman (cf. Gell. NA 4,3,1 f.); no late…

Compensatio

(709 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Compensatio (charging to account) was a rather complicated institution in Roman law. The basic idea, however, is simple: when two parties involved in a court case have claims against each other, the claims are not treated separately, but are offset one against the other -- as far as the amounts cover each other. Both claims are thereby paid off, so that the complaint becomes groundless and the defendant can no longer sue for his counter-claim. The complication in Roman law resulted from the different legal procedures connected to the different reasons leading to claims. Ga…

Partus ancillae

(220 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The offspring of a slave which, according to Roman law - similar to the young of a domestic animal which belonged to the owner of the female animal - were born as slaves of the dominus of their mother. This was in accordance with the general principle that a child acquired the status of its mother (Gai. Inst. 1,81f.). No legal relationship with the father existed. Only in the time of Justinian [1] (AD 527-565) attempts were made, regarding a (freed or freeborn) father and child to allow them the legal consequences in terms of succession accorded to illegitimate offspring ( natura…

Imaginarius

(208 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally: ‘imaginary’) in Roman law the term for a legal transaction which expressed something other than what the parties actually intended. The most graphic example is the  mancipatio nummo uno, a transfer against, and by payment of, a merely symbolic copper coin ( aes). Its outward appearance was that of a cash purchase; its actual effect, however, was to enable transfer for any purpose, it could thus be ‘abstract’ - an imaginaria venditio (Gai. Inst. 1,113). In early Roman law, surety meant subjugation to the power of seizure vested in the creditor. Release ( solutio…

Dispensator

(169 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ( ab aere pendendo, Varro, Ling. 5,183). In earlier times the dispensator would presumably weigh unminted precious metals for his master or the state. The post developed into that of bookkeeper, cashier and steward, much like the Greek oikonómos. It is frequently encountered in Roman inscriptions. Many dispensatores were slaves or freedmen. In Gaius Inst. 1,122 they are distinguished as a special type of slaves: servi, quibus permittitur administratio pecuniae, dispensatores appellati sunt (‘slaves entrusted with the management of money are called dispensatores…

Anquisitio

(149 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] is a part of Roman criminal proceedings of the republican period in crimes against the state. The comitia passed judgement on them in a iudicium publicum. The anquisitio preceded this: first of all the peoples' tribunes, as the magistrates responsible, pleaded the intended charge three times before the assembled people (  contio ). Contrary to the opinion of Mommsen [1], the comitia were not just a pardoning body which decided after a   provocatio against the sentence previously passed by the magistrate. As Brecht [2] and Kunkel [3] discovered from their studies, the anqu…

Nomen

(61 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (pl. nomina). In Roman law, the term for debts. Gai. Inst. 128-133 distinguishes between ‘cash debts’ ( nomina arcaria), which arose e.g. from loans ( mutuum , see also condictio ), and ‘ledger debts’ ( nomina transscripticia), which arose by an entry in the ‘ledger’ of the creditor as an obligation from a litterarum obligatio . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Instrumentum

(362 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The term instrumentum (an object that has been ‘erected’ or ‘set up’) has widely differing meanings in Roman legal terminology: 1. in the Imperial period, especially in late antiquity, instrumentum was the document recorded by a document writer (  Tabellio ) concerning a civil legal transaction or (as instrumentum publicum) by an authority regarding a private or public matter. The instrumentum publicum and the instrumentum of the document writer, which was attested as authentic by three witnesses and also by the tabellio in writing, had full status as proof in…

Lex, leges

(2,519 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Concept Lex (‘law’, pl. leges) in Roman law denotes stipulation by a private individual, an office-bearer or a legislative body. The etymology is obscure. A derivation from legere (‘to read out’), referring to the method of stipulation by way of a ceremonial formula (cf. B. below on nuncupatio) remains speculative. Crucial to the lex is its mandatory character. On the other hand, in the original use of the term it lacks the ‘abstract’ (claiming general validity) and ‘general’ (directed at a large number of people) character of mod…

Delatio nominis

(412 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ‘To indicate the name (of a suspect)’ is originally only the very first step in initiating a public prosecution in Rome. Plaut. Aul. 416 uses the expression in this way regarding the campaign conducted by the   tresviri capitales against underclass criminality. In proceedings before these magistrates, a kind of police-court justice, the meaning of delatio nominis ─ entirely in the sense of a modern complaint to the police ─ is evidently confined to the sole process of reporting a criminal act [1. 60, 78]. In the 3rd and above all the 2nd cents. BC, alongside the …

Furor

(203 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The expression for  mental illness in Roman law. The person affected by this, the furiosus, according to the Twelve Tables ( c. 450 BC), found himself in a special relationship of authority and dependence (foster-care, cura furiosi). The agnate (  agnatio ) and, when needed, in early times the gentile (  gens ) were entitled to the office of the curator (Cic. Inv. 2,148; Rhet. Her. 1,23). The position of the curator, similar to that of a trustee, corresponded to a great extent to that of a guardian (  tutela ) and was valid not only for the person but also for the property of the furi…

Blood feud

(326 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Greek law According to the oldest Greek traditions, the relative of someone who had been killed had a religious duty to obtain revenge with the blood of the killer. As the polis grew stronger, in Athens at any rate from the time of  Dracon (7th cent. BC), the relatives were limited to judicial pursuit of the killer through a δίκη φόνου ( díkē phónou: action for homicide). Even in the Classical Period this remained a private action. In Dracon's time the blood feud (BF) could be brought to an end by payment of monetary compensation (ποινή, poinḗ: wergeld) if those seeking re…

Coemptio

(159 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Probably the usual type of arrangement for setting up a marriage in which the   manus power relationship applied to the woman. Coemptio cannot simply be interpreted as the purchase of a bride (even as a practice in a very early phase of development) because it is connected to the formal transaction of the   mancipatio , which, at a very early stage separated the actual procedure from that of the conceptual image the term evokes. One can assume that originally, the bride's father ‘transferred’ the power over his daugh…

Aequitas

(674 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The word aequitas has several meanings. There is a particularly fluid transition to iustum. The latter usually tends to refer to fidelity to positive law, aequitas to justice characterizing and penetrating the whole of law. Linguistic kinship to the horizontal points to equality in the sense of the corollary of performance and counter-performance, misconduct and sanction. Additionally aequitas includes the meaning of proper appropriation of facts as equal or unequal to the cases already decided in positive law. Going still further at th…

Manumissio

(17 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Latin term for Manumission (C.), the freeing of slaves. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Tutelage

(67 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Tutelage played an important part in both Athenian (cf. epitropos [2]) and Roman law (cf. tutela [1]). It applied not only in respect of infants and impubes ('those under the age of discretion') not under the patria postestas ('paternal power'), but also in a wider context as a gender-based tutelage in respect of women ( Kyrios [II], Tutela, [1 III]). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Manus

(730 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Manus is used in Roman law in the sense of the ‘controlling and protecting hand’, expressing the family law concept of a relationship based on domination. Originally, manus may have described the hegemony of the head of the family ( pater familias ) not merely over his children ( patria potestas ) but also over his wife. Already in the Law of the Twelve Tables (5th cent. BC), however, paternal power is treated separately. The meaning of manus is accordingly restricted to the husband's relationship of power over his wife. Our best source for manus are the ‘Institutions’ of …

Carcer

(329 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] According to Varro, Ling. 5,151, the term carcer, i.e. a place for individual detention, is derived from coercere; it is thus linked to the magistracy's powers of   coercitio for the direct enforcement of its authority, and not the punishment of criminal misconduct. ‘The carcer has to be maintained for the detention, not the punishment of people’: carcer enim ad continendos homines, non ad puniendos haberi debet (Ulp. Dig. 48,19,8,7). Civil law offences and other obligations, for which the obligator was liable in person, were regulated by the XI…
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