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Iurgium

(94 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A term in the Law of the Twelve Tables ( c. 450 BC,   Tabulae duodecim ). Its significance in legal history is still very disputed. Iurgium is a milder form of dispute than the litigation before court (  lis ); otherwise a general term for a dispute. It is conceivable that iurgium meant an out-of-court settlement, perhaps with the support of the pontifices. In the classical period (1st cent. BC - 3rd cent. AD) this form of resolution had long fallen out of use. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography M. Kaser, K. Hackl, Das röm. Zivilprozeßrecht, 21997, 58).

Law [2]

(4,230 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General The most important foundations of later European conceptions of law were laid in OT Judaic law, in Greek law as practical counterpart to the beginnings of philosophical reflection on justice ( Pre-Socratics; Justice), and above all in Roman law as the defining authority for the development of secular European jurisprudence since the late Middle Ages ( Reception). Law always comprises regulation on the part of a sizeable community for the settlement of conflicts between…

Paelex

(65 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] From a statement by the Roman jurist, Paul (Dig. 50,16,144) the meaning of paelex (also pelex, pellex, different in Greek pallakḗ ) is that of a female partner to whom one is not married (i.e not uxor, Marriage III.C.). The legal status of paelex was treated in Roman law mainly in the context of concubinage ( concubinatus ). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Scriptura

(124 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally 'that which is written down'), in the field of law, denoted all Roman documents, and (as literacy increased) from the Principate, but esp. in late antiquity, e.g. the testament, the note of hand ( cheirógraphon ), generally the contract, but also a legal opinion or a legal ruling, provided that these were given in writing. In a narrower sense, probably arising from the fact that the Roman tax farmers ( publicani ) 'marked down' transactions of relinquishment of public pasture to private (sub-)lessees, scriptura was the payment the lessee had to make for…

Diffarreatio

(51 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The actus contrarius of a   confarreatio , which dissolved a marriage joined in this form and followed the same ceremony. At the same time it effected the termination of the (former) husband's spousal powers (  manus ). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography 1 W. Kunkel, s.v. matrimonium, RE 14, 2277 2 Treggiari, 24.

Auctoratus, Auctoramentum

(202 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] An auctoratus is, according to Gai. Inst. 3,199, a dependent person, who is named together with the minor children and wives as well as the indentured servants ( iudicati). The position of the auctoratus probably rested on a willing subjection by oath ( auctoramentum), perhaps also on a duty of service on behalf of the   pater familias of the auctoratus to the employer. Since the end of the Republic, a free man could commit himself as auctoratus as a  gladiator, which did not protect him from the   infamia which was otherwise associated with the pos…

Concubinatus

(520 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law a permanent union between man and woman without affectio maritalis, i.e. without the intention of both parties of permanently entering a legal bond for forming a household, procreating and raising children. Since the marital laws of Augustus, the concubinatus increasingly became a form of living together if marriage was prohibited. Thus, senators and their descendants were prohibited under the l. Iulia de maritandis ordinibus from marrying a freedwoman, actress or daughter of an actor. Freeborn Romans could not enter into a marriage…

Decollatio

(197 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law the ‘simple’ death penalty by decapitation (whence also: capitis amputatio), as opposed to being burned alive (  crematio ) and crucifixion (  crux ). All three methods of execution appear in Paulus, Sent. 5,17,2 as summa supplicia (most severe punishments). Certainly from the time of Caligula capital punishment by damnatio ad bestias (animal combat in the arena) was also current practice. Decollatio was typically reserved for higher-status freemen (  honestiores ), while crematio and crux were carried out on ordinary freemen (  humiliores ) and slaves. D…

Revocatio

(161 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('Revocation') occurs in two special senses in Roman law: (1) as revocatio in servitutem (' revocatio into slavery'), the revocation of manumission, probably only current in Late Antiquity (cf. Cod. Iust. 6,7,2 pr.); (2) in civil actions. There, the convicted party, having already paid, could demand retrial ( restitutio ) only with the risk of being compelled to pay the claimant for the litigation a second time by revocatio in duplum (' revocatio for double the value') if the restitution failed. This applied for the formula procedure ( formula ) and…

Tergiversatio

(193 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally 'to turn your back'). In Roman law, the term refers to the turning away of the private accuser in a criminal trial ( accusatio , delatio nominis ) from the case he had brought against the defendant. Beginning with the SC Turpillianum (AD 61), the tergiversatio led to a case against the accuser himself. When the withdrawal was unjustified, the tergiversatio was punished with a fine (Dig. 47,15,3,3). Beyond that, the private accuser lost his right to hold an office as well as his civic honour ( infamia , Dig. 48,16,2). The defendant who had…

Nervus

(63 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] An iron chain used to tether a debtor's feet  ( ferreum vinculum, quo pedes impediuntur, Fest. 162,1-2). According to the Twelve Tables (Lex XII tab. 3,3),  a creditor was apparently permitted to use the nervus to take the debtor into a kind of coercive detention, if the latter did not pay his debts despite having been sentenced.  Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Indulgentia

(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. …

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…

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…

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…

Notary

(88 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ( notarius). In legal cultures favouring the written record of acts of law, a notary is needed as an officially appointed scribe. This function was held, in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt for example, by the agoranómoi , and in the Roman Imperial period and especially in Late Antiquity, the tabellio (documentary scribe). The Latin technical term notarius designates in Late Antiquity a senior official or officer with a special imperial mission, and also the secretary of the consistorium (as tribunus et notarius). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Criminal procedure

(366 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] From a historical perspective it is only possible to speak of a criminal procedure (CP) in the technical sense if we can distinguish a field of criminal prosecution in the public (state) interest ( Punishment; Criminal law) from legal prosecution in the civil interest (including any civil law penalties, Lat.   poena ). The fact, for example, that private  revenge is channelled via the obligation to conduct a judicial procedure still does not constitute a CP: to protect public peace and state authority, only the …

Carmen famosum

(180 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The carmen famosum (CF) (according to Paulus, Sent. 5,4,6) or malum carmen (defamatory poem) is a criminal offence like the   occentatio placed beside each other in the Tabulae duodecim (8,1). It is possible that this crime was only barely comprehensible even for ancient writers (e.g. Cic. Rep. 4,12), particularly because of the extremely severe penalty for mere defamation: probably  death penalty. It was a matter of private punishment, though, so it was barely more than a legally p…

Litis contestatio

(653 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Term In Roman legal language, lis is the expression for a dispute, in particular when it is taken to court. Litis contestatio (LC) thus refers to the ‘witnessing’ of such a dispute (Fest. p. 34,50 L.). The instigation of a claim (action) and defence (repudiation of action) in front of witnesses determined the course of a (civil) law suit. Until the predominance of the imperial cognitio procedure around AD 300, LC was the crucial point [1. 77] in the entire proceedings. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] B. Legis actio procedure The necessity of summonin…

Vincula

(309 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally 'chains'). In legal provisions as early as the Twelve Tablets (Tab. 3,3; Tabulae Duodecim ) a creditor could place a debtor in vincula for the purpose of legal enforcement. In this way a culpability was established. Initially its goal was to force the payment of a debt by the debtor himself or a third party, but was also a transitional stage in taking control, after the expiry of a deadline, of the person of the debtor in order to sell him e.g into slavery or to have him work off the amount he was convicted of in bonded labour. This former function of vincula is alluded t…

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…

Verdict

(105 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Greek and Roman Antiquity, the verdict was determined entirely by the preceding complaint or charge, e.g. in Athens by dike [2] (civil complaint) and graphe [1] (criminal charge). For a verdict to be pronounced, there then remained nothing further to be established; it was merely a question of counting the votes of the deciding committee. The function of the ‘judge’ ( iudex ) in Roman law was essentially confined to hearing evidence. The legal judgement was anticipated by the admission of the complaint ( actio [2]), in particular by the praetor . Pro…

Elogium

(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Roman honorary inscription for deceased men An honorary inscription placed by the Romans on the tombs of deceased men of rank, on statues and wax masks within buildings or on public places. Most of the elogia on public display were removed by the censors of 158 BC. Most extant material dates from the Imperial period, where it was at times employed in the exalted reconstruction of times long since past. This also applies to the most important and best known examples of elogia, i.e. the inscriptions on the marble statues of the Mars temple on the Forum Augustu…

Querela non numeratae pecuniae

(189 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] 'Claim owing to failure to make monetary payment', in Roman law a development of the corresponding exception ( exceptio ). With this querela, the debtor could annul the validity of an abstract promise to pay ( stipulatio ), if he had entered into the stipulatio in the expectation of a loan payment, but the monetary payment had then not been made. The QNNP was, like the exceptio non numeratae pecuniae from the end of the 2nd cent. AD, among the easements accorded to debtors by the Roman emperors in the proceedings of the cognitio extraordinaria (cf. Cod. …

Mores

(457 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The plural of mos ( mos maiorum , ‘custom of the ancestors’) describes an entire complex of normative requirements in Roman society. While the ideological value of tradition and conservatism stands in the foreground with the word mos, until the early Imperial period mores invoked in the first place a concrete system of norms and sanctions that is most clearly recognizable in the ‘moral jurisdiction’ ( regimen morum) of the censors ( censores ). The censor's reprimand ( nota censoria ) and the censor's harsh sanction of down-grading politica…

Manumission

(1,306 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Early legal systems The manumission of slaves is not attested for all ancient legal systems. Thus the Mesopotamian statutes of Eshnunna and Hammurabi make no such stipulations [1. 161]. In Hittite law too, nothing is known of manumission. The existence of manumission is, however, assumed for Egypt, although categorisation of the unfree (or rather, not entirely free) ‘bondsmen’ as slaves as such is disputed [2. 147]. This circumstance suggests that the legal systems of Greece and Rome also did not know of manumission from their beginnings. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tü…

Ius

(4,952 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
A. Historical Overview [German version] 1. Ius in ancient Rome Ius, the Roman expression for law, went through considerable changes during the thousand-year history of the Roman state. Ius was originally the criterion by which the permitted exercise of liberty, particularly the legitimate exercise of power (over people and things) was distinguished from the disruptive exercise of force ( vis). Ius in modern terminology was thus subjective law. It attested its legal character ‘by observing a generally known and practised ritual’ [1. 253] in the way it was…

Verbera

(152 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally 'strokes, lashes'), e.g. with a stick ( ferula) or a whip ( flagella), were a means of punishment ( castigatio) in Rome. They occurred as an independent (police) punishment primarily for slaves and members of the lower classes ( humiliores, see Honestiores ) in the framework of the policing powers of the magistrates ( Coercitio ), in particular of the Tresviri [1] capitales in the Republican period, then of the emperor and his agents and of the provincial governors. In Roman penal law - as is known from the flagellation of Jesus - verbera were also an 'additiona…

Coitio

(165 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman criminal law, a type of criminal association, e.g. between thieves and publicans, as mentioned by Ulpia (Dig. 4,9,1,1), but in particular, the punishable election alliance (a defined case of election fraud,   ambitus ). Election alliances between candidates were probably regarded as harmless as long as only personal relationships, friendships and clientele connections were combined for common success in an election. Distinctly different was the joint bribing of electors on a large scale, against which the lex Licinia by Crassus (55 BC) was directed,…

Ampliatio

(130 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] An ampliatio (continuation of the case at another date) happened in Roman criminal proceedings if part of the jury (e.g. according to the l. Acilia it had to be a third) by special declaration or withdrawing of vote in the question of guilt made it clear that they did not yet regard the case as ripe for judgement ( non liquet). Ampliatio should be distinguished from   comperendinatio , legally prescribed in certain cases. Republican legislation had, it seemed, already tried to oppose the proliferating use of ampliatio by threatening fines against the judges in the c…

Ignorantia

(193 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] An old Roman legal rule deals with ignorantia, also ignoratio (ignorance). According to Paulus (3rd cent. AD, Dig. 22,6,9 pr.) it reads: iuris ignorantia nocet, facti vero ignorantia non nocet (‘ignorance of the law is harmful, but not ignorance of the facts’). The preferred term since the Middle Ages is error. For the Romans error and ignorantia were probably synonymous. Error in law neither prevents responsibility for individual behaviour (under criminal and civil law), nor the effectiveness of the   consensus in legal transactions inter vivos or in declarations…

Petitio

(325 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The word petitio ('request') referred to a specific form of action used in the Roman formulary procedure ( formula ), for example for the actio (action), which arose out of a specific object or a specific sum of money (Dig. 12,1), or the action of the true heir against the possessor of an inheritance ( hereditatis petitio, Dig. 5,3; Cod. Iust. 3,31). Besides these, claims arising from the cognitio procedure ( cognitio ) were mostly referred to as petitio. A strong conceptual distinction between actio, petitio and persecutio (prosecution) did not exist in Roman legal…

Patria potestas

(908 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The PP, which continued to exist as paternal power in the German Civil Code was only replaced in Germany following an interim stage of parental power with effect from 1.1.1980 by paternal care, in Rome referred to the extensive right of control which the pater familias exerted over the family. Originally the PP, like the manus over the wife (Marriage III.C.), probably had no legal boundaries, but merely moral and religious ones. The transgression of these could, for example lead to a loss of honour or an exclusion from the nobility or the equites. In Imperial times the PP…

Condictio

(1,036 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Type of suit in the ius civile Sentencing to a particular payment could be achieved with the   legis actio per condictionem after the 3rd cent. BC: certa pecunia based on a lex Silia, other certae res based on a lex Calpurnia (cf. Gai. Inst. 4,17 b-19). The condictio (‘announcement’) is merely a procedural designation: the court date was not granted immediately but only after the expiry of an ‘announced’ term of 30 days to allow the debtor the option of compliance without court procedure. The certum in this suit is, in the first place, a payback guarantee for an …

International law

(1,438 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Overview International law (IL) was established as a field in its own right during the early modern period (especially by Hugo Grotius, 1583-1645). The term   ius (A.2.) gentium, which originated in Roman law, established itself as its name. However, in antiquity this term did not mean IL but those concepts of  law in general that were assumed to be common to all peoples. This also included principles that belong to IL in its narrow sense such as the inviolability of diplomatic representatives (Dig. 50,7,18). Antiquity did not have a term for IL per se. However, ancient …

Castigatio

(189 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Expression describing an educational measure, as can be inferred from the meaning of the word ( castum agere, ‘to make pure’). The person carrying out the punishment is often excluded from liability for the consequences of castigatio upon the punished: thus the master punishing his apprentice (e.g. Dig. 9,2,5,3). The same goes for the paterfamilias with regard to his children and the master to his slaves (Dig. 7,1,23,1; 48,19,16,2). Castigatio as a policing or juridical measure is partly linked to such private authority-based relationships: by the …

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)

Gesta

(320 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the Republican period in Rome the records (also   commentarii ) that a magistrate made or had made regarding the orders decreed by him (  acta ). They were personally archived by the magistrate after the end of his period in office (Cic. Sull. 42). From the 3rd cent. AD the term gesta superseded the expression commentarii for the official records. Apart from gesta the word cottidiana occurs in the same sense . With this meaning gesta can be found in all levels of the administration of late antiquity. Ultimately the recording of official files and negotiations by gesta was tr…

Vidua

(16 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Latin expression and Roman legal term for widow (II.). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Calumnia

(295 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In classical Roman law, the deliberate, groundless and bullying filing of suits and charges. In the regulatory procedure for disputes amongst private individuals, the Praetor awarded a special iudicium calumniae decimae partis, i.e. a penalty for failure to observe correct procedure of 1/10 of the value of the claim (Gai. Inst. 4,175). In the case of manumission or status claims the sanction against the fiduciary claimant (  adsertor in libertatem ) amounted to as much as 1/3 of the value of the slave. The person affected could demand four times the value ( quadruplum) wi…

Discussor

(154 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A discussor (Greek logothétēs, etym. from discutere in the meaning of ‘to check, investigate’) was an official of the late antique Roman state, to whom article 10,30 of the Cod. lust. was dedicated. The main tasks of the discussores lay in tax administration. In that context, they apparently carried out external audits of the tax bases set by the   census through self-assessment ( professio). They also appear as auditors for customs, public building projects, and state regulated prices. Administrative acts issued by the discussores were called   sententiae

Legacy

(81 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The technical term legacy in modern law is a literal translation of the Roman legatum . In the testamentary settlement of the succession of property rights after death, Roman law differentiated between the appointment of the fully valid legal successor as heir ( heres, for this see Succession, law of III.) - or several heirs - and the allocation of individual objects as legacies. Other ancient laws contain no comparable construction. Fideicommissum; Testament [2] IV. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

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…

Peregrinus

(645 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (perhaps from peregre, 'outside the fields', namely the territory of Rome) was the most important technical term of Roman law referring to foreigners (Aliens, the position of), who did not belong to the community of rights of the Roman citizens ( civitas ) but who was nevertheless an enemy or completely without rights. The dediticii , who as members of communities subjected by Rome had been given neither Roman nor Latin citizen law (Latin law), were sometimes partially distinguished from peregrini, and sometimes treated as a special group of peregrini In the time of t…

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 …

Crematio

(340 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (Burning at the stake) was a form of Roman capital punishment. The execution may originally have been left to the injured party and his agnates (  agnatio ) in a kind of ‘channelled’ private revenge. In that case, the criminal proceedings served only to establish the prosecutor's right to carry out the private punishment. This is probably how we should understand Gaius' report in his comm. on the Twelve Tables (Dig. 47,9,9), which states that this law (pl. 8,10) ordered execution by fire for premeditated arsons: igni necari iubetur (interpretation according to [1], b…

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…

Abolitio

(109 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The abolitio, which has come down to us in the Digest title 48,16, is in Roman law discontinuation of criminal proceedings, often with the effect of a pardon (  indulgentia ), but mainly with the possibility of renewing the charge, as with the abolitio publica, ordered by the Senate or in exceptional cases by the emperor, and the abolitio privata, pronounced by the judge at the request of a private prosecutor. The abolitio ex lege, for example, takes effect on the death of the prosecutor. In any event this first appears under the designation abolitio in the imperial period…

Estate register

(390 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In contrast to the  land register that existed ─ probably based on an Old Egyptian model [1] ─ in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt (and, in antiquity, possibly only there) as a safeguard for private property transactions, the primary purpose of estate registers (ER) and similar registers was the levy of land taxes as well as the administration of state leases. Thus, almost inevitably, they were just as widespread as those very forms of state income. A prerequisite for starting up archive…

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…

Remancipatio

(163 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law, the actus contrarius ('reversion') of the mancipatio (formal alienation). It served, for instance, for the return of objects given for fiduciary safekeeping ( fiducia ). The remancipatio was also a constituent act in the complex ceremonies of the emancipatio (release from the family group). Above all, however, it was an important element in divorce proceedings in the old manus marriage (cf. also Marriage III): if such a marriage was to be dissolved, the wife had to be released from the special authority of the husband. This remancipatio consisted of a ce…

Intestabilis

(124 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law, legally incapable of being a witness ( testis). The Inst. Iust. (2,10,6) lists as intestabiles: women, minors, slaves, the dumb, the deaf, the mentally ill, legally incapacitated wastrels and those who had been declared improbus (dishonourable) and intestabilis by a special law. Legal arrangements of this kind result, for example, (according to Ulp. Dig. 47,10,5,9) from the lex Cornelia de iniuriis against authors or distributors of articles with offensive content or (according to Cassius Dig. 1,9,2) from the lex Iulia de repetundis against those re…

Confusio

(232 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the confusio (the ‘merging’) the same person is both debtor and creditor or owner and holder of a limited material right, e.g. a usufruct. In Roman law confusio led to the extinction of the claim or the right. The late classic jurists (3rd cent. AD) occasionally use the term consolidatio for confusio without creating material distinctions. The effect of the confusio could not be prevented by the will of the parties. However, the Roman jurists occasionally assume a duty to refound the claim or right. The opinion of the Proculians ( Law schools) that the   noxalis actio

Mater familias

(157 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] While the word pater familias indicates a clearly defined legal status, the designation of the Roman mother of a family is a social rather than a legal one. Originally, MF was the honorary title for a married woman living in the → manus (marital control) of her husband, with whom she had children. Her social position was, in contrast with (and in compensation for) her legal status ( Manus), a high one. She had precedence over all other members of the household apart from her husband. By the time the manus marriage had fallen into disuse, the term MF - literally the mot…

Minores

(735 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (more complete: minores viginti quinque annis; singular: minor) in Roman law those under the age of 25. In a narrower (and originally technical) meaning, persons aged 15 to 24 were called minores, in a broader sense anyone who had not reached the age of majority (at least 25 in Roman law). The legal regulations for minores in the narrow sense concerned their ability to enter into contracts and other legal transactions (contractual capacity). This must be distinguished from legal capacity, that is the ability to establish and acquire r…

Translatio

(166 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] see Status [1] A. see Status [1] A. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [2] Legal expression Translatio iuris ('transfer of rights') finds expression in the famous phrase: "A person cannot transfer to another person rights greater than those he has himself" (' nemo plus iuris transferre potest quam ipse habet', Ulp. Dig. 50,17,54). This formula from the early 3rd cent. AD reflects the concept in classical Roman law that subjective rights do not emerge anew in the person receiving them -- as was assumed in the ear…

Novellae

(881 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Overview Novellae is the abbreviation for the Latin novellae leges (‘new laws’, also Greek nearaí diatáxeis). In general, it refers to the legislation of the emperors in Late Antiquity, enacted chronologically after the official collections of the Codices Theodosianus and Iustinianus ( codex II.C.). In a narrower sense, it refers to the novellae of Iustinianus [1], which in modern editions of the Corpus iuris constitute the fourth and last part of this 6th-cent. collection. In contrast to the other parts ( Institutiones Iustiniani, Digesta, Codex Iustinianus), h…

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…

Confarreatio

(182 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] According to Gai. Inst. 1,112, the term confarreatio is based on the fact that during this religious act a farreus panis (a bread made of emmer but not spelt) was sacrificed by the bridal couple to Iuppiter farreusfar ). Apart from the   coemptio and a one-year valid duration of the marriage ( usus), the confarreatio was the third option of establishing the   manus (male power) over the wife. This effect was probably an ancillary result of the confarreatio while the highly festive conclusion of the marriage probably took centre stage in the ceremony. It to…

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…

Signum

(297 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
(Literally 'sign', pl. signa). [German version] [1] (Name) see Supernomen (Name) see Supernomen Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [2] (Military matters) see Ensigns; Signals (Military matters) see Ensigns; Signals Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [3] Brand mark for slaves The brand mark by which the Romans identified slaves (Slavery). It was used to prevent escape and deter theft, and for criminals in general if they were condemned to work in the mines ( in metallum), thus becoming slaves. Those who had been branded in this manner could …

Inscriptio

(131 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Technical term for the listing of sources at the beginning of the fragments of the digests (  Digesta ) and of the constitutions in the Codex Iustinianus ( Codex II C). The Digesta list the author from the Classical period (e.g. Ulpian), his work (e.g. ad edictum = edict commentary), and the number of the ‘book’ (e.g. libro quinto for 5th bk.); the Codex Iustinianus - as already the Codex Theodosianus - lists the emperor who enacted the respective constitution and the addressee. The inscriptiones in the Digesta were the most important sources for reconstructing the…

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…

Delator

(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…

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.

Parens

(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…

Torture

(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…

Vindicius

(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…

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…

Privilegium

(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 …

Divisor

(157 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (‘One who apportions endowments’). From the 2nd cent. BC or earlier war spoils of the Roman state were occasionally distributed among the people of Rome. In the absence of an official ‘Body of Apportionment’ it fell to private citizens, divisores, to assume that function. By the end of the Republic this had led to a system of canvassing that has been described in detail in Cicero Planc. 48ff. Divisores promised in single   tribus a ‘reward’ to a sufficient number of tribus members in the event of a particular candidate being elected. If the tribus was won over and the cand…

Tabulae duodecim

(1,105 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
('Twelve Tables', or, more completely, lex duodecim tabularum, 'Law of the Twelve Tables'), the most important legislation of the Roman Republic. The name originates in the tradition that they were written on twelve oak ( roboreas, as it ought to read, rather than eboreas, 'ivory', in Pompon. Dig. 1,2,2,4) tablets. However, they have not survived in epigraphic form. Text and content must be reconstructed from ancient literature. It may be assumed, in the light of accounts of the legislative process in ancient authors (esp. Liv. 3,32 ff.), that they were written around 450 BC. …

Orbi

(138 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The childless who, according to Roman law dating from the time of Augustus, suffered certain legal penalties: to promote a higher birthrate, women who had many children benefited through the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus and the lex Papia ( ius liberorum ), while on the flip-side childless people (men and women) were restricted in their capacity ( capacitas) to accept inheritances and legacies: what was left to orbi under a will, was halved (in the case of a surviving spouse reduced to a tenth). The remainder, known as the caducum (a lapsed inher…

Iustitium

(117 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Rome the suspension of judicial activity generally ordered by a magistrate (the highest present in Rome) with an edict and associated with further restrictions of transactions, e.g. the closure of the state treasury (  aerarium , Cic. Har. resp. 55) or the stores in the Forum (Liv. 9,7,8). By the late Republic this order had to be preceded by a resolution of the Senate (Liv. 3,3,6). The iustitium was not solely an emergency measure but already in the Republican period could be caused by public mourning over a military defeat (Liv. 9,7,8) or the…

Modus

(303 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] has two meanings in Roman law: one describing a ‘measure’ primarily of land, the other - according to the matter in hand - the same as the modern concept of an instruction (on a gift or testamentary benefit). M. agri (the land measure) was the subject of a well-known action from Paul. sent. 2,17,4  ( actio de modo agri): if the price of a piece of land was calculated according to its area, the purchaser could demand from the seller double the proportional price as a private penalty, if it transpired that the area was smaller than stated.…

Lex commissoria

(213 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A Roman forfeiture or cancellation agreement, it was usually a unilateral (hence: lex ) clause inserted in conditions of sale (see emptio venditio D), or a pledge ( fiducia , pignus ). Upon purchase the clause granted the vendor a right of rescission if the purchaser did not pay the purchase price - for instance, in the event of an agreement for payment in instalments or a date of payment. If the vendor exercised the right of rescission, he could request the return of the sold property by means of the actio venditi (according to the Sabinians) or by means of an actio in factum (acco…

Denuntiator

(89 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Someone who has something to announce or proclaim. In a narrower sense the term is applied to those who, whether as a private individual or on behalf of an office, report a criminal offence. Denuntiator is then very often synonymous with   delator . The excesses of the latter had a lasting effect on the public opinion on denunciation. Denuntiatores crop up in Rome even as junior officials in the role of heralds. For similar functions in Greek law   menysis ,   sykophantes . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Conubium

(399 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Rome being eligible to marry ( conubium) was a prerequisite for a legally valid marriage. Both partners had to have the conubium: Conubium est uxoris iure ducendae facultas. Conubium habent cives Romani cum civibus Romanis: cum Latinis autem et peregrinis ita, si concessum sit. Cum servis nullum est conubium (‘ Conubium is the legal ability to marry a woman. Roman citizens have the conubium to marry each other but, only by special dispensation, to marry Latins and other foreigners . There is no conubium with slaves’; Ulp. 5,3-5). That description omits to mentio…

Suicide

(502 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Suicide, from neo-Latin suicidium ('self-killing'), a parallel formation on homicidium , was a subject of lively intellectual debate in Greek and Roman Antiquity: in schematic comparison it can be said that the followers of and successors to Plato, as well as Aristotle [6] and Neo-Platonism, condemned suicide, whereas some Sophists, and the Cynics (Cynicism) even more, acknowledged suicide as an expression of individual freedom, even expressly endorsing it. This point of …

Lawcourt

(459 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The institution of the law court (LC) has existed from the beginning of state control in antiquity. It is no longer possible to deduce whether and where a phase of arbitration preceded it. In the documents of the Ancient Orient LCs are attested on many occasions [1; 2; 3]. The respective city prince or king was probably also the master of the court although in Mesopotamia there was also local jurisdiction (i.e. within certain groups) [2]. The scribes were suited for work as judg…
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