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Plebiscitum

(593 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (pl. plebiscita). The resolutions of the assembly of the Roman plebs ( concilium ; plebs ). From the lex Hortensia (287 BC) onwards, these resolutions were equated with leges (laws, lex ) ( legibus exaequata sunt, Gai. Inst. 1,3) and were also so called. It can now be regarded as disproved that there existed any earlier general binding character to the plebiscitum (summary in [1. 61f.]). Over the following three cents., the plebiscitum formed the core of the entire Roman legislative process. This may partly have been because the convocation of a concilium plebis by the pe…

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

Contumacia

(299 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Derived from contemnere (to despise; this meaning of the word survives today in the contempt of court of British law). In Roman law the contumacia meant above all the defendant's failure to obey a legal summons in the exercise of extraordinaria  cognitio . No similar use of the word contumacia is encountered before the introduction of this procedure in the Principate and of the contumacia, probably under Claudius. Admittedly a comparable function existed in earlier civil proceedings after the XII Tables (5th cent. BC) in a judge's ruling for o…

Partus suppositus

(300 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The PS, the substituted child, played a considerable part in Roman legislation and legal science. This could be easily explained in view of the consequences of legitimate birth in terms of status, civil law and succession. Until the early Imperial period (1st cent. AD) it seems that the problem of dubious birth was mostly resolved within the family: The father, as part of his paternal power ( patria potestas ), had the right to expose newborn children (Exposure of children). Whether an explicit acceptance by the father of the child was required by picking up the child ( toller…

Crimen

(862 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Public criminal prosecution The legal technical category in classical Roman jurisprudence of the Principate applied to public criminal procedures ( iudicium publicum) where crimes were prosecuted based upon accusation (  accusatio ). As with civil legal forms in Roman Law, it is not a characteristic routine legal transaction but should rather be understood as a means of attack and defence in a trial (  actio ,   exceptio ). The meaning of the term crimen predominantly lies in the procedural field. Therefore, crimen appears most frequently in the sources in co…

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…

Patronus

(1,107 words)

Author(s): Lintott, A. W. (Oxford) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Definition In Roman hierarchical relationships, the term patronus refers to the person of higher rank and correlates thus with the term cliens ; the patronus took the cliens into his fides. Lintott, A. W. (Oxford) [German version] B. Private law The patronus was the holder of a right to control, initially probably as a comprehensive authority over friends (guests) and freedmen, but from about the 2nd cent. BC only as a bundle of rights of the former slave owner in relation to the freedmen manumitted by him. In the 12 Tables (tab. 8,21; Tabulae duodecim), the term patronus

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…

Synallagma

(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…

Effractor

(68 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law the thief who obtains his loot through break and entry. According to Dig. 47,18 he commits a criminal act that is prosecuted as a   crimen ( publicum). In the Republic it was still a civil offence. An escapee was called an effractor ( carceris) and was also prosecuted as the perpetrator of a crimen in a   cognitio extra ordinem . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Status

(1,436 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
(lit. 'standing', 'condition', 'position'). [German version] [1] In rhetoric (Rhetoric). The Latin rhetorical term status (Quint. Inst. 3,6,1; Cic. Top. 25,93) or constitutio (Quint. Inst. 3,6,2: 'ascertainment' i.e. of the point in dispute) equates to the Greek στάσις/ stásis (Quint. Inst. 3,6,3; Cic. Top. 25,93; Isid. Orig. 2,5,1). Walde, Christine (Basle) [German version] A. Definition In the rhetorical system (Rhetoric), status ('standing of the matter of dispute') was the determination, arrived at by a series of questions ( summa quaestio, 'crucial question': Quint. I…

Classicism

(1,558 words)

Author(s): Riemer, Peter (Potsdam) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
I. Literary history [German version] A. General Classicism, a term formed early in the 19th cent. analogous and antithetically to ‘Romanticism’, initially means the same as the later neologism ‘classical period’: ‘highest perfection’, which was first attested in 1887 [1. 154] and in both English and French is still recognizable in the remaining ambivalence of the term classicism, especially in the contrast of ‘classicism/neo-classicism’ or ‘classicisme/néoclassicisme’ [2. 3, 5f.]. However, in the typol…

Consensus

(331 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] is the unanimous will of the parties of a contract (  contractus ). In Roman law it was the basis of the binding character of buying (  emptio venditio ), contracts of lease, work and employment (  locatio conductio ), of commission (  mandatum ) and association (  societas ). The ‘invention of’ consensus as the central element of a system of civil law is one of the ‘grandest juridical achievements, and one of the most influential for further development’ [1. 180]. The liability resulting from consensus necessitates neither a specific form nor an advance nor perfo…

Aliens, the position of

(1,324 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Domhardt, Yvonne (Zürich)
[German version] I. General In the states of the Near East, in Egypt and the ancient urban societies of the Mediterranean the alien, temporarily or permanently entering these societies, was in principle outside the protection of the law, in which only fully-qualified citizens of the respective state and indirectly also their slaves and dependants were included. In general aliens were not, however, left without rights, but were subject to a special law for aliens that protected them in differentiated…

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 …

Accusatio

(201 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] according to the Digest title 48,2 is the charge in Roman criminal proceedings. The bearer of the accusatio is in that case a private person. This person first laid a charge (  delatio nominis ). In the later imperial period in an extra ordinem judicial criminal prosecution it was often the case that this was the sum total of the private share in the course of procedure. In the republican procedure (  quaestio ), on the other hand, the delator was always and, even later still regularly, a party after admission of the accusatio by the court magistrate ( receptio nominis) -- simil…

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…

Leasehold

(919 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt Leasehold in the sense of the limited taking over of the use of land used for agricultural or gardening purposes against payment of a rent, was attested in Mesopotamia from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Both institutional households ( Palace; Temple) as well as private individuals could function as lessors. The rent was set either at an absolute value in kind or silver, or as a part of the harvest. The one third leasehold, which meant that the lessor received 1/3 of the harvest and the leaseholder received 2/3, was typical above all for the ea…

Killing, crimes involving

(407 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In judging crimes involving killing, no distinction was made in the ancient Middle East between homicide and manslaughter. Killing, inciting a killing, and having knowledge of a killing were all treated as capital offences and punishable with capital punishment ( Death penalty). In addition, the perpetrator's property and (enslaved) family members could, along with other forms of compensation, be handed over to the victim's family. As the collections of laws show, …

Punishment, Criminal law

(1,758 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Römer, Malte (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East The Sumerian-Akkadian terminology regarding punishment and criminal law implies that in Mesopotamia, this was already understood to be a consequence of mischief [1. 77 with note 35], directed either against the divine order [2] or the (state-sanctioned) political and social structures [3]. The same is true of Egypt [4. 68]. There was no distinction between civil and criminal law in the modern sense. The relationship between private law and so-called public law (an…
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