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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…


(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…


(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…


(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. collection. In contrast to the other parts ( Institutiones Iustiniani, Digesta, Codex Iustinianus), h…


(331 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] is the unanimous will of the parties of a contract (  contractus ). In Roman law it was the basis of the binding character of buying (  emptio venditio ), contracts of lease, work and employment (  locatio conductio ), of commission (  mandatum ) and association (  societas ). The ‘invention of’ consensus as the central element of a system of civil law is one of the ‘grandest juridical achievements, and one of the most influential for further development’ [1. 180]. The liability resulting from consensus necessitates neither a specific form nor an advance nor perfo…


(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…


(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Gai. Inst. 3,88 contractus constitutes, with delicts, one of the two higher branches of the whole Roman law of obligations. This has led many analysts to translate contractus simply as ‘contracts’. Originally, however, contractus was really not limited to a commitment as a contract but actually meant literally only ‘to incur (an obligation)’. In the period of the principate contractus was indeed understood to be linked to an agreement ( consensus, conventio) (Dig. 2,14,1,3). Even then, however, not every agreement would necessarily lead to a contractus. As no co…


(297 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
(Literally 'sign', pl. signa). [German version] [1] (Name) see Supernomen (Name) see Supernomen Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [2] (Military matters) see Ensigns; Signals (Military matters) see Ensigns; Signals Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [3] Brand mark for slaves The brand mark by which the Romans identified slaves (Slavery). It was used to prevent escape and deter theft, and for criminals in general if they were condemned to work in the mines ( in metallum), thus becoming slaves. Those who had been branded in this manner could …


(94 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A term in the Law of the Twelve Tables ( c. 450 BC,   Tabulae duodecim ). Its significance in legal history is still very disputed. Iurgium is a milder form of dispute than the litigation before court (  lis ); otherwise a general term for a dispute. It is conceivable that iurgium meant an out-of-court settlement, perhaps with the support of the pontifices. In the classical period (1st cent. BC - 3rd cent. AD) this form of resolution had long fallen out of use. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography M. Kaser, K. Hackl, Das röm. Zivilprozeßrecht, 21997, 58).


(392 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the history of Roman politics and the ruler cult, parens (literally: either physical parent, in reality, the father) is, in the combination parens patriae (father of the fatherland), a linguistic forerunner of the exalted name for the emperor pater patriae . The best-known example of its use is in 63 BC when the title parens patriae was bestowed on Cicero by Q. Lutatius [4] Catulus in the Senate after the suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy (Cic. Sest. 121; Cic. Pis. 6). The title meant that Cicero had saved the Republic. Thi…


(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 …

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…

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…


(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…

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…


(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…

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 …


(157 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (‘One who apportions endowments’). From the 2nd cent. BC or earlier war spoils of the Roman state were occasionally distributed among the people of Rome. In the absence of an official ‘Body of Apportionment’ it fell to private citizens, divisores, to assume that function. By the end of the Republic this had led to a system of canvassing that has been described in detail in Cicero Planc. 48ff. Divisores promised in single   tribus a ‘reward’ to a sufficient number of tribus members in the event of a particular candidate being elected. If the tribus was won over and the cand…

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. …


(138 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The childless who, according to Roman law dating from the time of Augustus, suffered certain legal penalties: to promote a higher birthrate, women who had many children benefited through the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus and the lex Papia ( ius liberorum ), while on the flip-side childless people (men and women) were restricted in their capacity ( capacitas) to accept inheritances and legacies: what was left to orbi under a will, was halved (in the case of a surviving spouse reduced to a tenth). The remainder, known as the caducum (a lapsed inher…
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