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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…

Blood feud

(326 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Greek law According to the oldest Greek traditions, the relative of someone who had been killed had a religious duty to obtain revenge with the blood of the killer. As the polis grew stronger, in Athens at any rate from the time of  Dracon (7th cent. BC), the relatives were limited to judicial pursuit of the killer through a δίκη φόνου ( díkē phónou: action for homicide). Even in the Classical Period this remained a private action. In Dracon's time the blood feud (BF) could be brought to an end by payment of monetary compensation (ποινή, poinḗ: wergeld) if those seeking re…

Edictum

(1,697 words)

Author(s): Willvonseder, Reinhard (Vienna) | Paulus, Christoph Georg (Berlin) | Noethlichs, Karl Leo (Aachen) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Public announcement by magistrates Edictum (from edicere) is a binding public announcement by Roman office bearers (  magistratus ), which presented either concrete orders or a ‘governmental agenda’ [1. 58] for the coming term of office. The word suggests an originally oral announcement [2. 178], but the historically documented form is a recording on an   album (‘white wooden plate’) at the magistrate's office. Literary tradition refers to edicts by   consules ,   aediles ,   praetores , provincial governors, tribuni plebis (  tribunus ),   censores

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.

Purchase

(1,351 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] I. Introduction After the supersession of the concept that the ideal economic form was an autarkic entity of production and consumption not depending upon trade (e.g. the Homeric oîkos), and after the invention of means of payment - whether in the form of unstamped precious metals or coins - purchase, i.e. the exchange of goods for money, was a self-evident element of ancient societies. In spite of its presumably general distribution, however, purchase was underdeveloped in terms of legal provision. Laws and…

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…
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