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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…

N. N.

(28 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Abbreviation of the all-inclusive designation N(umerius) N(egidius), which in Roman jurisprudence is used to describe the defendant; analogous to A.A. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

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…

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 …

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. …

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…

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. …

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…

Absolutio

(227 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] in Roman court proceedings is the opposite of ‘condemnation’ (  condemnatio ). In civil proceedings the formula in which the praetors set down the programme for the iudex ends stereotypically with the judicial command ... condemnato. Si non paret, absolvito. Both absolutio and condemnatio were final and absolute, in other words the decision -- apart from the special case of   appellatio -- was irrevocable, the dispute was definitively concluded and the exceptio rei iudicatae (demurrer of legal force) stood in the way of a new action. The saying omnia iudicia absolutor…

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…

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…

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…

Banishment

(57 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Graeco-Roman Antiquity banishment largely replaced the death penalty for members of the upper class, but also existed as an independent  punishment, as in the Attic ostrakismós . For details for Greece, particularly Athens, see phygḗ , aeiphygía , apeniautismós , for Rome see exilium , deportatio , relegatio . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

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…

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…

Vindicta

(93 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the Roman legal procedure of legis actio sacramento in rem ('legal assertion of claim'): the staff that was symbolically applied to the slave or item of property in order to give concrete expression to the plaintiff’s claim and the defendant’s counterclaim to the item. The etymology of vindicta is disputed (cf. most recently [1. 47 f.12]). The most probable connection appears to be with vim dicere ('to assert that one has - legally founded - power over the item'). Rei vindicatio Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography 1 A. Bürge, Römisches Privatrecht, 1999.

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. …

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…

Vidua

(16 words)

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

Basilics

(144 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The ‘Basilics’, after the Greek term basiliká (n.pl.: ‘imperial’; sc. law books), are a compilation in Greek of the most important parts of the   Corpus iurisDigesta and   Codex (II)Iustinianus, as well as extracts from   Institutiones and   Novellae C.) from the time of the Byzantine emperor Leo(n) [9] VI (886-912). For five-and-a-half centuries the Basilics secured the continuance of Roman law in Byzantium (I. B.3). At the same time, they are an invaluable secondary source for the survival of the Corpus iuris, above all the Digesta (A.3). The Basilics also f…

Supplicium

(250 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('Punishment') is used in Roman law similarly to poena , but confined to 'public' punishment (Penal Law) and more specifically the death penalty. One can only speculate on how supplicium (originally probably a plea for forgiveness) came to acquire the meaning of a punishment. The Twelve Tables (5th cent. BC) do recognize the death penalty in some cases, but primarily as a private punishment; it is not called supplicium in reports on the law. A supplicium more maiorum ('punishment according to the tradition of the forefathers') is mentioned several times i…

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…

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)

Delatio nominis

(412 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ‘To indicate the name (of a suspect)’ is originally only the very first step in initiating a public prosecution in Rome. Plaut. Aul. 416 uses the expression in this way regarding the campaign conducted by the   tresviri capitales against underclass criminality. In proceedings before these magistrates, a kind of police-court justice, the meaning of delatio nominis ─ entirely in the sense of a modern complaint to the police ─ is evidently confined to the sole process of reporting a criminal act [1. 60, 78]. In the 3rd and above all the 2nd cents. BC, alongside the …

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…

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, …

Tutelage

(67 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Tutelage played an important part in both Athenian (cf. epitropos [2]) and Roman law (cf. tutela [1]). It applied not only in respect of infants and impubes ('those under the age of discretion') not under the patria postestas ('paternal power'), but also in a wider context as a gender-based tutelage in respect of women ( Kyrios [II], Tutela, [1 III]). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

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…

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

Aequitas

(674 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The word aequitas has several meanings. There is a particularly fluid transition to iustum. The latter usually tends to refer to fidelity to positive law, aequitas to justice characterizing and penetrating the whole of law. Linguistic kinship to the horizontal points to equality in the sense of the corollary of performance and counter-performance, misconduct and sanction. Additionally aequitas includes the meaning of proper appropriation of facts as equal or unequal to the cases already decided in positive law. Going still further at th…

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…

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…

Dictio dotis

(219 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Under Roman law a unilateral promise to provide a dowry (  Dos ). Proculus (Dig. 50,16,125) gives the form of words used to make the promise: dotis filiae meae tibi erunt aurei centum (‘as dowry for my daughter you will have 100 gold pieces’). The words were said by the father or another male ancestor of the bride, or by herself, or by someone in her debt designated by her (such as a previous husband forced to return the dowry he himself had once received, following an actio rei uxoriae, a divorce). Despite its one-sided declaration the dictio dotis was considered a settlement…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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…

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…

Divorce

(474 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The dissolution of marriage through divorce appears to have been possible everywhere in antiquity from Mesopotamia to Rome, of course not always in the same way for men and women. Thus in Egypt in the 1st millennium BC it was possible for women as well as men to make a declaration of divorce; in ancient Jewish law, as probably also in Mesopotamia, on the other hand, the repudiation was only declared by the husband. In any case, Jewish law also linked the dissolution of the marriag…

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…

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…

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)

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…

Divinatio

(235 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Roman term for the procedure of allowing one of several litigants in a private case (  delatio nominis ) to appear before a public criminal court ( iudicium publicum); the origin of this term is unknown. What Gellius NA 2,4 has to say about the word expresses no confidence; it would therefore seem that its history was no longer known to Romans of the 2nd cent. AD. The employment of a religious term would indicate a very early origin. There is however no basis for a reconstruction. In [1] it is convincingly s…

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…

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)

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 …

Spado

(156 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Latin term for a eunuch, but also for someone who is sterile without having been castrated ( castratio ; Ulp. Dig. 50,16,128). In Roman law, special family and inheritance rights applied to a spado: whereas we have a regulation from the 2nd cent. AD that, in general, allowed a spado to adopt (Gai. Inst. 1,103), under Justinian (6th cent. AD), a distinction was made: the earlier rule applies only to a natural s pado, not to a castrated person (Inst. Iust. 1,11,9). This corresponds to a  general trend against castration in Late Antiquity: permission to marry for a s pado, but …

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)

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…

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…

Emancipatio

(577 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Under Roman law the   pater familias generally held paternal authority over his children for as long as he lived. Releasing sons from the control of the pater was possible only by means of a formal and complicated legal process: the emancipatio. It was linked to formal alienation by   mancipatio , by which not only a dominus could sell his slaves but also a father his sons. By means of this ‘sale’ a father gave his sons into servitude with another pater. Even in the period of the Twelve Tablets (5th cent. BC) no suitable business practice other than the ‘sale’ …

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…

Mores

(457 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The plural of mos ( mos maiorum , …

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 …

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…

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…

Caelibatus

(260 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The unmarried state ( caelibatus) was a significant object of social evaluation and legal regulation in Rome. In the Republican period, perhaps following early precursors as early as 403 BC (Val. Max. 2,9,1), the censor (102, not 131 BC) Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus spoke out against the unmarried state and childlessness in a speech to the people (Gell. NA 1,6). Augustus took this up, expressly to justify the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus, in the first main piece of his legislation relating to marriage (18 BC) (Liv. 59). This law made it obligatory for unmarried men between the ages of …

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…

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…

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…

Thesaurus

(256 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law, thesaurus refers to a treasure found by someone (Just. Epit.. 2,1,39). The Late Classical jurist Iulius [IV 16] Paulus (early 3rd cent. AD) uses the term thensaurus, which he defined as "money that was put away so far back in the past that no memory of it exists and it therefore no longer has an owner" ( vetus quaedam depositio pecuniae, cuius non existat memoria, ut iam dominium non habeat

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 …

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 ev…

Latini Iuniani

(411 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Roman freedmen, whose manumission ( Manumissio ) was deficient. For this reason the freedman did not receive citizenship and in general had an inferior legal status compared to other freedmen. The term Latini Iuniani ( LI) is derived from a lex Iunia ( Norbana?), probably of AD 19. It legally equated certain groups of freedmen with Latini coloniarii (holders of citizenship in a Latin colony). Therefore, they had no political rights (especially no voting rights) but were able to take part in legal transactions with Roman citizens because they had the commercium

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 …

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 sources; it is also not possible to make such a distinction for the benefit of subsequent classification. The hereditatis petitio was - like the claim to an inheritance which still exists in modern German law - st…

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. …

Castigatio

(189 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Expression descr…

Adfinitas

(91 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (relations by marriage). Gai. Inst. 1,63 speaks of adfinitas in connection with the statement: Item (scil. uxorem ducere non licet) eam, quae nobis quondam socrus, aut nurus, aut priuigna, aut nouerca fuit. According to this in classical Roman law (possibly since Augustus' marriage legislation) marriage to mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepdaughter and stepmother is forbidden. This impediment to marriage was extended in late antiqui…

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   comperendi…

Orbi

(138 words)

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 ( 

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 cha…

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…

Military tenure

(283 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] is the ownership of land - perhaps better described as ‘soldiers' tenure’ - to which military obligations were attached: whether armed service by the owner or the recruiting and equipping of soldiers (as representatives of the owner, so to speak). Military tenure (MT) in this sense occurred particularly in the Ancient Orient. It is relatively well recorded for the Persian empire of the Achaemenidae [2] (6th-4th cents. BC) and the Hittite empire ( Ḫattusa II.); Egyptian military co…

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,…

Coemptio

(159 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Probably the usual type of arrangement for setting up a marriage in which the   manus power relationship applied to the woman. Coemptio cannot simply be interpreted as the purchase of a bride (even as a practice in a very early phase of development) because it is connected to the formal transaction of the   mancipatio , which, at a very early stage separated the actual procedure from that of the conceptual image the term evokes. One can assume that originally, the bride's father ‘transferred’ the power over his daugh…

Carcer

(329 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] According to Varro, Ling. 5,151, the term carcer, i.e. a place for individual detention, is derived from coercere; it is thus linked to the magistracy's powers of   coercitio for the direct enforcement of its authority, and not the punishment of criminal misconduct. ‘The carcer has to be maintained for the detention, not the punishment of people’: carcer enim ad continendos homines, non ad puniendos haberi debet (Ulp. Dig. 48,19,8,7). Civil law offences and other obligations, for which the obligator was liable in person, were regulated by the XI…

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…

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…

Manus

(730 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Manus is used in Roman law in the sense of the ‘controlling and protecting hand’, expressing the family law concept of a relationship based on domination. Originally, manus may have described the hegemony of the head of the family ( pater familias ) not merely over his children ( patria potestas ) but also over his wife. Already in the Law of the Twelve Tables (5th cent. BC), however, paternal power is treated separately. The meaning of manus is accordingly restricted to the husband's relationship of power over his wife. Our best source for manus are the ‘Institutions’ of …

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…

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…

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…

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…

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)

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…
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