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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)

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…

Gestio

(309 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (also gesta). Generally an expression for transactions relevant to business (not necessarily legal transactions). In Roman civil law the following are significant: (1) the pro herede gestio (behaviour as an heir), informal behaviour (e.g. taking possession) as an expression of the desire to come into an inheritance ( Succession, law of). (2) the negotiorum gestio (modern law: conducting business without a commission). In Roman law it concerns all affairs in the conduct of someone else's transactions that are not commissioned (  mandatum ) or…

Taxatio

(163 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (the 'appraisal') in the Roman formula process was the upper limit to which the iudex ('judge') could set the sentence sum on conviction ( condemnatio ), by instruction of the praetor. The taxatio typically occurred in cases of (1) liability of the master for the property ( peculium ) of the slave or filiusfamilias from the actio de peculio or the actio de in rem verso, in respect of asset gains made by the action of such individuals under his power ( patria potestas ), (2) an exception sought by the debtor because of distress ( beneficium competentiae) and (3) an appeal for iniur…

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…

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…

Contractus

(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Gai. Inst. 3,88 contractus constitutes, with delicts, one of the two higher branches of the whole Roman law of obligations. This has led many analysts to translate contractus simply as ‘contracts’. Originally, however, contractus was really not limited to a commitment as a contract but actually meant literally only ‘to incur (an obligation)’. In the period of the principate contractus was indeed understood to be linked to an agreement ( consensus, conventio) (Dig. 2,14,1,3). Even then, however, not every agreement would necessarily lead to a contractus. As no co…

Interpolation, critique of

(483 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman legal history critique of interpolation specifically refers to the examination of the transmitted version of the texts of the Corpus Iuris for falsifications compared with the original. This is of particular relevance to the fragments from the writings of the classical jurists (1st cent. BC - 3rd cent. AD) in the  Digesta , but also to the  Institutiones in comparison to their models and even to the older imperial pronouncements collected in the  Codex Iustinianus . With regard to the Digesta, emperor Justinian himself had already given an express…

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…

Concussio

(159 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Digests (Title 47,13) label cases of a forced granting of benefits to an officeholder as concussio (blackmail). Possibly, this is a further development of the reclamation procedure (  repetundarum crimen ). Punishable behaviour in office due to concussio was not prosecuted by a iudicium publicum but by extraordinaria   cognitio . Therefore, it was probably only considered an independent offence in the Imperial period (2nd cent. AD). The sources present pretending a (higher) official authority, orders of a superior and threats of an unfounded suit as means of concu…

Postliminium

(202 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('right to return home', more common in the combination ius postliminii) is explained in Just. Epit. 1,12,5 as deriving from limen (threshold), and this was supposed to have been metaphorically transferred to the boundary of Roman state territory, so that a prisoner of war, who on his return would be crossing back from beyond ( post) the 'threshold' into the Roman state, would have the right to return to his earlier position before being taken prisoner. On being taken captive by enemies (Prisoners of war), a Roman citizen would become…

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, …

Capitale

(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.

Manumissio

(17 words)

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

Mora

(998 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
(μόρα; mόra). [German version] [1] Division of the Spartan army In the Spartan army no later than from 403 to 371 BC mora was the usual term for the six largest divisions of the infantry and cavalry assigned to it (Xen. Lac. pol. 11,4; Xen. Hell. 2,4,31; 4,5,3-19; Diod. 15,32,1). Each mora was commanded by a polémarchos   (Xen. hell. 4,4,7; 5,4,51), had a required strength of more than 1,000 men and was organised into lochoi ( lóchos). Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) Bibliography 1 J.F. Lazenby, The Spartan Army, 1985, 5ff. [German version] [2] Default in Roman law Default in Roman law. Schiemann…

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…

Persona

(227 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Masks see Masks Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [2] Legal In modern parlance, persona is indeed a loan word received from Latin; however, persona in Latin certainly did not have the central meaning that it now conveys in modern legal culture based on rational law (cf. Person). In Ulp. Dig. 50,17,22 pr., Ulpian does indeed mention a persona servilis, that is, the personality (even) of a slave. However, this is in connection with the conclusion that slaves are not entitled to any legal claims. Rather, the slave was -- a…

Institutiones

(404 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Roman jurists were probably the first who derived institutiones as a title for elementary textbooks from the term institutio (teaching course) in the 2nd cent. The significance of this Roman genre for European legal history extends far beyond what one might expect of ancient introductory didactic works: when the work of codifying Roman juristic law in the form of the  Digesta had advanced to a point that their success seemed certain, in AD 533 emperor Justinian commissioned his minister of justice  Tribonianus as well as the Byzantine l…

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…

Adulterium

(329 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version]  Adultery ( a.) in Roman law according to the l. Iulia de adulteriis coercendis was a matter for public criminal proceedings ( iudicium publicum). The factual proximity of this ruling to Augustus' other marriage legislation suggests that the law on adultery originates from the same year as the l. de maritandis ordinibus (18 BC). According to a report by Paulus (Coll. 4,2,2), from the late classical period, several earlier laws were rescinded by the l. Iulia. So adulterium must already have been prosecuted at the time of the Republic, probably by the holder of authority ( pat…
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