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Robbery

(1,088 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General Robbery is the appropriation of a moveable object belonging to another with violence against that person or by the use of threats with present danger to life and limb and with intent to appropriate the object in contravention of the law (§ 249 German Criminal Code). In law, robbery is a combination of theft and duress. In the popular mind of today, robbery is regarded as a more serious offence than simple theft. However, in ancient legal systems and until the Middle Ages, theft (by stealth) was seen as worse than (public and violent) dispossession. Hengstl, Joachi…

Pledge, law of

(1,278 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The requesting of a surety to secure a contract is documented in the laws of the Ancient Orient to varying degrees. Requiring a pledge plays a large role in debt trials in agrarian societies. For example, if tenants were in arrears with their obligations, the forfeiting of a personal surety often led to debt-bondage [1; 2; 15. 179f.] with the resultant negative consequences for the social balance of a society ( Leasehold I.). The requesting of a pledge has been documented in cuneiform legal texts by documents of varying complexity from t…

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…

Leasehold

(919 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt Leasehold in the sense of the limited taking over of the use of land used for agricultural or gardening purposes against payment of a rent, was attested in Mesopotamia from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Both institutional households ( Palace; Temple) as well as private individuals could function as lessors. The rent was set either at an absolute value in kind or silver, or as a part of the harvest. The one third leasehold, which meant that the lessor received 1/3 of the harvest and the leaseholder received 2/3, was typical above all for the ea…

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…

Volksrecht

(1,908 words)

Author(s): W.KA. | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Term Volksrecht, a term coined by L. Mitteis [1. 4-9] in 1891, refers to the local legal traditions in the provinces of the Imperium Romanum in contrast to Roman law as Reichsrecht. Conferment of Roman citizenship ( civitas [2]) on (virtually?) all free inhabitants of the empire by the Constitutio Antoniniana (AD 212; see [2; 3]), contrary to some sources (e.g. Theod. Gr. aff. Cur. 9,13 Raeder), did not result in an orientation of provincial legal life towards Roman law. This has been proven by papyri, inscriptions, and by legal opinions from imperial rescripts ( rescript…

Surety

(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…

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…

Fides

(1,654 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
[German version] I. Religion F. is the cultically venerated personification of faith and veracity [1]. According to Varro (Ling. 5,74), she had been adopted in Rome from the Sabini; her cult is still in evidence at the end of the 2nd cent. AD (Tert. Apol. 24,5). F. is depicted as a woman, her head adorned with a garland or veil, dressed in a   chitṓn and péplos [2]. She appears frequently in poetry, but rarely in prose. She was considered to be a very ancient deity (Sil. Pun. 1,329f.; 2,484ff.) and therefore referred to as cana (Verg. Aen. 1,292). According to Agathocles Perì Kyzíkou (Fest. 328 L…

Civil law

(3,179 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Witthuhn, Orell (Marburg) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. General The term civil law (CL), which is derived from Roman law, covers the legal position of individuals in legal transactions and with respect to family and society. Depending on the definition, family and inheritance law are part of CL.  Legal texts in cuneiform -- as opposed to mature Roman law -- as a pre-scientific legal system are legal institutions derived from practice -- the modern categories used here are anachronistic. Sources and preliminary work on t…

Documents

(6,763 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Gröschler, Peter
I. General [German version] A. Term In legal terms, a document is a written declaration regarding a legal transaction. In modern opinion it is a declaration of intent in a suitable written form that is intended to provide proof in legal transactions and that permits recognition of the issuing party (e.g., [2; 8]). In general, documents include all non-literary and partially literary texts (exceptions are, e.g., poetry and amulets), i.e., apart from business documents, trial and administrative document…

Wills and testaments

(3,807 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] [1] (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] [2] History of law (History of law) Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] I. General Testament (from the Latin testamentum in the sense of the final will made before witnesses; see below IV.) denotes a unilateral 'last will and testament' (or, in common E…

Punishment, Criminal law

(1,758 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Römer, Malte (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East The Sumerian-Akkadian terminology regarding punishment and criminal law implies that in Mesopotamia, this was already understood to be a consequence of mischief [1. 77 with note 35], directed either against the divine order [2] or the (state-sanctioned) political and social structures [3]. The same is true of Egypt [4. 68]. There was no distinction between civil and criminal law in the modern sense. The relationship between private law and so-called public law (an…

Status

(1,436 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
(lit. 'standing', 'condition', 'position'). [German version] [1] In rhetoric (Rhetoric). The Latin rhetorical term status (Quint. Inst. 3,6,1; Cic. Top. 25,93) or constitutio (Quint. Inst. 3,6,2: 'ascertainment' i.e. of the point in dispute) equates to the Greek στάσις/ stásis (Quint. Inst. 3,6,3; Cic. Top. 25,93; Isid. Orig. 2,5,1). Walde, Christine (Basle) [German version] A. Definition In the rhetorical system (Rhetoric), status ('standing of the matter of dispute') was the determination, arrived at by a series of questions ( summa quaestio, 'crucial question': Quint. I…

Subscriptio

(1,214 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Gamillscheg, Ernst | Caldelli, Elisabetta (Cassino)
('subscription, signature'). [German version] I. Ancient legal documents The 'subscription/signature' (Gk. ὑπογραφή/ hypographḗ, Lat. subscriptio.) is an element of ancient documents. From the 2nd cent. BC onwards, private documents on papyrus in Egypt were given a signature ( hypographḗ). This probably not only consisted of the mark or full written name, but also contained a brief recapitulation of the most important content of the document, e.g. the admission of owing a certain amount of money. Thus the debtor indicated his awareness of the obligation assumed. However, the subsc…

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
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