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Lending

(381 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Handing an object to someone for use free of charge probably occurs in all societies every day. Legal conflicts hardly ever result from it. Many legal systems therefore manage without special regulations for these circumstances. It was probably generally the same in antiquity. Roman law, however, equally contains two institutions for the social phenomenon of the loan: the precarium (loan at request) and the commodatum, a binding contract by which the lender is obligated to hand over the object until the end of its usage or until the expiry of …

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

Naturales liberi

(370 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (also known as liberi naturales ). In Late Antiquity, ‘natural children’ were the issue of an illegitimate union ( concubinatus ). Compared to other children of illegitimate descent ( spurius ), they were privileged in many respects. Thus, the possibility of a legitimation, that is the eventual acquisition of the legal status of legitimate offspring ( legitimi), existed only for NL. In what was probably initially intended as an incentive to contract marriage with one's partner in concubinage, the parents' marriage brought about the ful…

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…

Capitatio

(111 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The poll-tax of the late Roman Imperial Age from Diocletian (AD 297). As capitatio plebeia, it was probably levied on the urban population. With regard to the taxation of the rural population, it is disputed whether the capitatio was raised independently or was -- as an indicator of income -- only an important unit in the calculation of the land-tax ( iugatio). Widows and orphans, soldiers and veterans were entirely or partly exempted from the capitatio.  Annona;  Iugum Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography W. Goffart, Caput and Colonate: Towards a Histo…

Abortio

(196 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] also partus abactio, is  abortion in late Roman law. For a long time abortion in Rome was apparently not punishable, any more than it was in Greek law (  amblosis ). This was consistent with a legal system which even allowed abandonment of children. It is possible, though, that the censor made sure there was effective social control with regard to evident abuses. Not until a rescript of Sept. Severus and Caracalla (cf. Marcianus Dig. 47,11,4) was exile imposed on married and divorced women w…

Deportatio

(214 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Banishment to an island or a desert oasis was a capital punishment in Roman law; in the Principate (at the latest from Trajan's time, soon after AD 100), it replaced the   aqua et igni interdictio , which had replaced the death penalty for upper-class citizens towards the end of the Republic. The aqua et igni interdictio and deportatio involved lifelong loss of citizenship rights and property. As the offender had not escaped penalty by voluntary flight into exile, banishment ─ generally to a quite specific location (Dig. 48,22,6,1) ─ bec…

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…

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 …

Homicide

(422 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Thür, Gerhard (Graz) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General In antiquity homicide is often not yet differentiated from other crimes of killing ( Killing, crimes of). In many ancient laws the special reprehensibility or danger of a behaviour that resulted in the death of another human being was not yet considered a reason for a respective sanction. Thus, in the case of ancient Oriental laws, it would be inappropriate both with regard to the term and the matter to speak of particular offences amounting to homicide within the framework of crimes of killing. Neumann, Hans (Berlin) [German version] II. Greece In archaic Gre…

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…

Contract

(1,677 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General points A contract is an agreement between two or more persons (possibly implicit) for the purpose of a legal result (e.g., a purchase as exchange of goods against money). Relative to the purpose of the transaction, contracts that in legal terms directly refer to the purpose, the ‘abstract’ legal transaction, which is independent of it, and the ‘ ad hoc legal transaction’ must be differentiated. A legal procedure is abstract if the legal effect is legally not linked to the result that the parties are attempting to achieve (e.g., r…

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. …
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