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(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…


(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…


(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 …


(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 …


(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)


(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…


(16 words)

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


(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…


(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


(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…


(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…


(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…


(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, …


(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, …


(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…


(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…
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