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(967 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] A. Ancient Near East There is evidence of personal (corporal) liability through surety (especially standing surety for another, rarely for oneself) as a means of guaranteeing a contract in Mesopotamian cuneiform texts from the mid-3rd millennium BC [2. 253] into the Hellenistic period [3. 64-69], using different terminologies and in different forms. The Gestellungsbürgschaft ('surety of appearance') was common (promise of the guarantor to deliver the debtor to the creditor for enforcement). In the late Babylonian (6th-4th cents. BC) Stillesitzbürgschaft ('s…


(403 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] means (in a narrow sense) malicious deception. Servius Sulpicius defines dolus in that sense as machinationem quandam alterius decipiendi causa, cum aliud simulatur et aliud agitur (a form of dealing to deceive others, in that something is feigned while something else is [actually] done, Ulp. Dig. 4,3,1,2). Along with that meaning dolus in Roman law encompasses a variety of other unacceptable forms of behaviour. In the early Republic dolus first appears as a form of culpability that constitutes an essential element in certain offences (e.g.   furtum ) and crimina (e.g…


(582 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] Transfer, in the legal sense the cession of a right. Distinction is to be made between a) the cession of a claim, b) the cession of all one's property by way of bankruptcy ( cessio bonorum) and c) cession of ownership before the praetorin iure cessio ). a) The modern jurist understands by cession an agreement to transfer a claim, with the effect that, in place of the former creditor (cessor), claim against the debtor ( debitor cessus) falls to a new creditor (cessee). The idea of such a transfer without the agreement of the debtor is foreign to the Romans. They see the   obligatio


(208 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] (literally 'announcement', 'revocation'). In Roman civil law, renuntiatio mostly indicates a unilateral declaration requiring acknowledgement, by which a right (e.g. a legacy) was waived or a legal relationship was ended. This includes the unilateral termination of an engagement or marriage, but especially the cancellation of a commission ( mandatum ) by the contractor (Paulus Dig. 17,1,22,11) and the dissolution of a society ( societas , cf. Paulus Dig. 17,2,65). The legitimacy of a renuntiatio depended on the type of contract and the precise agreemen…


(179 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] (from iubere, to order). A unilateral declaration which acts as a legal command or authorization. In private law iussum is found in particular 1. as a direction by someone in authority to those under his authority (slaves or children of the house) to perform a specific legal act, e.g. to acquire something for him; 2. as authorization by the person in authority to a third person to conduct a particular transaction with someone under his authority at his expense (for which the person in authority takes responsibility by means of actio quod iussu); 3. at the   delegatio


(520 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] In Roman private law, the delegatio is a three-person relationship by which the instructing party (delegant) authorizes the instructed party (delegate) to make a payment to or enter into an obligation with a third party, the recipient of the instruction (delegatee), in his own name but at the expense of the party instructing him. The basis of the delegatio is a unilateral informal declaration (  iussum ) accepting liability for the action of another person. It represents one of the most important transactions in Roman credit l…


(114 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] (from redimere, 'repurchase') describes in Roman law: 1) a purchaser or acquirer, particularly a person, who buys claims and has the actions transferred to him ( cessio ) in order to collect when they are due and thus earn a profit (cf. Anastasius, Cod. Iust. 4,35,22,2); 2) one who purchases another's freedom (from slavery, captivity or punishment; cf. the Christian term redemptor for Jesus Christ as 'Redeemer'); 3) someone who gains something through bribery; 4) a tenant or lessee, especially a public lessee, who contracts with the state as the custodian ( manceps , condu…


(101 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] Watchman, keeper, supervisor. Custos is also an epithet for Jupiter appearing on coins of the emperors from Nero to Hadrian. It is said that after the Vitellian attack Domitian built a temple to Jupiter Custos for rescuing them, in which an image was put up that shows the emperor standing under the protection of the god (Tac. Hist. 3,74). Corporis custos was the name for bodyguards of ancient potentates, particularly for the German bodyguard of the Julio-Claudian house (CIL VI 8803; 8804). Custos urbis is often found as a synonym for the praefectus urbi. Meissel, Franz-Ste…


(460 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] The Roman safekeeping agreement materialized as a real contract when the depositor entrusted an object to the custodian (bailee) for cost-free safekeeping. Paid safekeeping comes under   locatio conductio . The bailee became neither the owner nor possessor of the object but merely its detentorposessio ): he was not permitted to use the object, use of the object qualified as   furtum . At the depositor's request the custodian was expected to return the object intact. In cases of intentional unauthorized appropriation, even the XII Tables provided for a p…

Litterarum obligatio

(422 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] In Roman law a liability that has arisen through a written document ( litteris). According to Gai. Inst. 3,128ff., this includes the nomina transcripticia (transfer claims) through registration of a payment ( expensum ferre), as on the basis of authorization ( iussum , Cic. Q. Rosc. 1,2) of the debtor (mostly by letter) with a certain date a sum was recorded by the creditor as paid to the debtor without this amount actually having been paid. The entry was made in the house book - described as codex accepti et expensi or tabulae - of the Roman house father ( pater familias


(527 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] The assignment of a benefit in assets without any return (e.g., by transferring ownership of an object, relinquishing a claim or waiving a debt of the beneficiary). If an object is transferred to the recipient with the intent to give ( animus donandi), the donatio constitutes a iusta causa of property acquisition by   traditio or occupancy (  usucapio ). A mere promise of donation is according to Roman law only binding in the form of a   stipulatio . The lex Cincia de donis et muneribus (a   plebiscitum of 204 BC) prohibited acceptance of donations …


(217 words)

Author(s): Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] (from transigere, 'to come to an agreement, to transact, to settle'). Denotes an out-of-court agreement between two parties by means of which contentious or doubtful points in a Roman legal relationship were settled without formal procedure (cf. Dig. 2,15; Cod. Iust.. 2,4). In respect of a point of contention resolved by a compromise, the respondent could, in classical Roman law, raise an exceptio pacti ('exception of compact'; according to Papin. Dig. 2,15,17 an exceptio transacti negotii, 'exception of transacted business'). The obligations arising from the tran…


(438 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin) | Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] I. Constitutional law In Roman Republican constitutional law, the intercessio (from intercedere = to step in-between) denoted a veto against magisterial decrees (  Decretum ), against Senate resolutions (  Senatus consultum ) and against  rogations of all types presented to the various people's assemblies. It rendered decrees ineffective unless an intercessio was unlawful, as for example in the case of magisterial court decrees during an ongoing legal proceeding. Senate resolutions were reduced to mere recommendations (  auctoritas ) …