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(171 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The person who ‘reports’ something to a Roman authority, but in its narrower sense, esp. with regard to the   delatio nominis , the accuser. Considerable advantages were in prospect for the successful delator: as a rule, in the event of a guilty verdict he received a monetary reward in the form of a proportion of the accused man's property ([1]; with additional information in [2]). This naturally resulted in all kinds of abuse (cf. Cic. Rosc. Am. 55: Roscius was probably accused of political corruption in order t…


(86 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Romans used the word capitale whenever the  death penalty (also poena capitis) was concerned: for the crime itself, the legal process, as well as in passing and executing a sentence, but also for the loss of personal freedom or citizenship (  deminutio capitis ) and particularly with reference to exile (  exilium ), when -- from the late Republican period -- this indeed replaced the death penalty for Roman citizens. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography E. Cantarella, I supplizi capitali in Grecia e a Roma, 1991.


(392 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the history of Roman politics and the ruler cult, parens (literally: either physical parent, in reality, the father) is, in the combination parens patriae (father of the fatherland), a linguistic forerunner of the exalted name for the emperor pater patriae . The best-known example of its use is in 63 BC when the title parens patriae was bestowed on Cicero by Q. Lutatius [4] Catulus in the Senate after the suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy (Cic. Sest. 121; Cic. Pis. 6). The title meant that Cicero had saved the Republic. Thi…


(809 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Historical foundations In a legal history sense, torture in Antiquity can be understood primarily as a means for eliciting evidence. Furthermore, torture occurs as a(n additional) punishment. The origins of the legally recognized use of torture is obscure. In the Babylonian law Code of Hammurabi (Cuneiform, legal texts in), for instance, there is no mention of torture at all [1]. By contrast, it was widespread in Greece. The Greek expression for the use of torture, βασανίζειν ( basanízein) is probably a loanword from the Orient, however, so that torture …

Operae libertorum

(309 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The services (more precisely: the daily duties) Roman ex-slaves were obliged to perform for their patron ( p atronus ) after their manumission. The phenomenon of servitude for freed people is also known from other ancient slave-holder societies ( paramonḗ ). OL did not result from the slave-patron relationship itself. Rather, freed men and -women were obliged by oath to their manumitters and repeated the obligation after being set free either in the same form or by  stipulatio . Only by means of this repetition could undertaking of OL bec…

Damnatio in crucem

(149 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Latin   crux or damnatio in crucem (‘sentencing to crucifixion’), Greek during the Hellenistic period ἀνασταύρωσις/ anastaúrōsis (which, however, in Hdt. 3,125 and probably also in Xenophon [10] of Ephesos 4,2 means ‘impaling’) was only one of several ways of exacting the  death penalty (II) in the Roman empire. It probably originated as deterrence against slaves in the context of the   coercitio (‘power of coercion’) by the   tresviri [1] capitales. Damnatio in crucem was perhaps based on Oriental and Punic precedents. At the time of the crucifixion of…


(185 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (also Vindex: Pompon. Dig. 1,2,2,24). A mythical figure in Roman historiography, e.g. Liv. 2,4,5-10. As a slave, V. is supposed to have discovered a plot by the Tarquinii (cf. Tarquinius [7; 12]) in 509 BC to restore rule by kings. As a reward he is supposed to have been freed and admitted to the status of Roman citizen. It is possible that these legends served as a 'historical' explanation for the fact that under Roman law manumission led to the acquisition of citizenship, and not…

Law, codification of

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Codification of law, in the sense of the comprehensive and conclusive regulation of a major and more or less finite subject area, must be discounted for pre- and extra-Roman cultures, regardless of all ancient pronouncements (Egypt: Diod. Sic. 1,95,4f.; Greece: Aristot. Ath. Pol. 2,1273a 35 - 1274b 25) and modern discussions (‘Law of Ḫammurapi’: [11; 13]; Achaemenid empire: [4; 14; 16]) (see the articles in [5]; also [6; 13]). The collection, systematization or uni…

Pater familias

(841 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] From a legal perspective, the head of a family in Rome was the most important person in the family (IV.B.), its 'king' as it were [1. 75]. As holder of patria potestas and manus , he held power at any rate over wife, children (even when adult), grandchildren and slaves. As the autocrat of the family, he was the only member to hold rights and privileges: he alone had the right to dispose of the family's property and only he acquired rights from contracts and other transactions. However, he incur…


(1,088 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General Robbery is the appropriation of a moveable object belonging to another with violence against that person or by the use of threats with present danger to life and limb and with intent to appropriate the object in contravention of the law (§ 249 German Criminal Code). In law, robbery is a combination of theft and duress. In the popular mind of today, robbery is regarded as a more serious offence than simple theft. However, in ancient legal systems and until the Middle Ages, theft (by stealth) was seen as worse than (public and violent) dispossession. Hengstl, Joachi…


(234 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A technical term in Roman law, and as such not to be understood in the broad sense of 'privilege' in the medieval and early modern periods, still less to be equated with the same word in modern colloquial usage, Roman privilegium was a 'law for an individual', and according to the Twelve Tables (tab. 9,1) impermissible as a law of proscription at the expense of an individual: it was forbidden to propose it in the popular assembly ( ne inroganto, Cic. Leg. 3,4,11). During the Principate, prerogatives of certain institutions and groups of people were denoted by means of privilegi…

Ius iurandum

(569 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The oath to be sworn to Roman law (  ius ) or before the court (at the praetor or iudex). The older type of oath is probably the   sacramentum , which however, from the late Republic onwards with the dying out of the legis actio sacramento, essentially described the soldier's oath. The ius iurandum was sworn by  Jupiter, all the gods or by the  genius of the emperor. The magistrates swore the existing laws with a ius iurandum in leges within five days of taking up office, and magistrates stepping down usually also swore the legitimacy of their administration …

Pledge, law of

(1,278 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The requesting of a surety to secure a contract is documented in the laws of the Ancient Orient to varying degrees. Requiring a pledge plays a large role in debt trials in agrarian societies. For example, if tenants were in arrears with their obligations, the forfeiting of a personal surety often led to debt-bondage [1; 2; 15. 179f.] with the resultant negative consequences for the social balance of a society ( Leasehold I.). The requesting of a pledge has been documented in cuneiform legal texts by documents of varying complexity from t…


(284 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The technical term from the beginning of the 3rd cent. AD for a criminal law pardon by the Roman emperor (e.g. Cod. Just. 9,23,5 of the year 225). However there had long been pardons in Rome. They could happen during criminal proceedings (e.g. Mod. Dig. 48,16,17) as well as after them in order to lift the sanction imposed, and even before the initiation of any prosecution. In this way, Julius Caesar ordered the people's tribune M. Antonius to arrange a plebiscite to pardon those condemned according to Pompey's law on electoral fraud (  ambitus ) (Caes. …


(288 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (συνάλλαγμα/ synállagma, literally: 'mutual exchange'). Greek expression for a (business) transaction, sometimes for any type of legal obligation regardless of its creation, be it an offence or a contract. It did not have a precise juridicial meaning. Nevertheless, the Roman jurists M. Antistius [II 3] Labeo (about the time of the birth of Christ) and Titius Aristo (late 1st cent. AD) adopted the Greek word synallagma in Latin to refer to agreements that resulted in obligations for both parties. These might be so-called innominate contracts th…

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…


(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…


(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…
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