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Rescriptum

(223 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (the 'reply letter') is one of the most important sources for Roman imperial law. In Gai. Inst. 1,5, the rescriptum is simply called epistula ('letter'), but classed as belonging to the constitutiones ('imperial laws'). Already in the Principate, the emperor received queries and proposals from officials and private persons on every matter imaginable. The emperor replied commensurate with the preparation in the chancellery ab epistulis with a rescriptum, a draft of which was archived. Starting with Hadrian (beginning of the 2nd cent. AD), the rescripta more and mo…

Furor

(203 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The expression for  mental illness in Roman law. The person affected by this, the furiosus, according to the Twelve Tables ( c. 450 BC), found himself in a special relationship of authority and dependence (foster-care, cura furiosi). The agnate (  agnatio ) and, when needed, in early times the gentile (  gens ) were entitled to the office of the curator (Cic. Inv. 2,148; Rhet. Her. 1,23). The position of the curator, similar to that of a trustee, corresponded to a great extent to that of a guardian (  tutela ) and was valid not only for the person but also for the property of the furi…

Contractus

(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…

Interpolation, critique of

(483 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman legal history critique of interpolation specifically refers to the examination of the transmitted version of the texts of the Corpus Iuris for falsifications compared with the original. This is of particular relevance to the fragments from the writings of the classical jurists (1st cent. BC - 3rd cent. AD) in the  Digesta , but also to the  Institutiones in comparison to their models and even to the older imperial pronouncements collected in the  Codex Iustinianus . With regard to the Digesta, emperor Justinian himself had already given an express…

Imaginarius

(208 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (literally: ‘imaginary’) in Roman law the term for a legal transaction which expressed something other than what the parties actually intended. The most graphic example is the  mancipatio nummo uno, a transfer against, and by payment of, a merely symbolic copper coin ( aes). Its outward appearance was that of a cash purchase; its actual effect, however, was to enable transfer for any purpose, it could thus be ‘abstract’ - an imaginaria venditio (Gai. Inst. 1,113). In early Roman law, surety meant subjugation to the power of seizure vested in the creditor. Release ( solutio…

Concussio

(159 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Digests (Title 47,13) label cases of a forced granting of benefits to an officeholder as concussio (blackmail). Possibly, this is a further development of the reclamation procedure (  repetundarum crimen ). Punishable behaviour in office due to concussio was not prosecuted by a iudicium publicum but by extraordinaria   cognitio . Therefore, it was probably only considered an independent offence in the Imperial period (2nd cent. AD). The sources present pretending a (higher) official authority, orders of a superior and threats of an unfounded suit as means of concu…

Postliminium

(202 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('right to return home', more common in the combination ius postliminii) is explained in Just. Epit. 1,12,5 as deriving from limen (threshold), and this was supposed to have been metaphorically transferred to the boundary of Roman state territory, so that a prisoner of war, who on his return would be crossing back from beyond ( post) the 'threshold' into the Roman state, would have the right to return to his earlier position before being taken prisoner. On being taken captive by enemies (Prisoners of war), a Roman citizen would become…

Furtum

(819 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Overview Furtum is the offence against property in Roman law. At least in the classical period (1st-3rd cents. AD) the term furtum includes not only theft and embezzlement, but also the mere use of items that are not one's own ( furti usus), the removal of one's own property, e.g. from a collateral creditor ( furtum possessionis, possession theft), fraud, receiving stolen goods and aiding and abetting the perpetrator of a furtum. The object of furtum could in addition to res corporales be slaves and persons under paternal authority. In the classical period, …

Capitale

(86 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Romans used the word capitale whenever the  death penalty (also poena capitis) was concerned: for the crime itself, the legal process, as well as in passing and executing a sentence, but also for the loss of personal freedom or citizenship (  deminutio capitis ) and particularly with reference to exile (  exilium ), when -- from the late Republican period -- this indeed replaced the death penalty for Roman citizens. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography E. Cantarella, I supplizi capitali in Grecia e a Roma, 1991.

Manumissio

(17 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Latin term for Manumission (C.), the freeing of slaves. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Iactus

(175 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The technical term in Roman law for ‘jettison’, the unloading of goods at sea from a ship in distress. The so-called lex Rhodia de iactu held that in these cases a community of endangerment of all involved existed: between the damaged party, the mariner ( nauta) and the owners of the salvaged load. In fact, this lex was a customary law throughout the Hellenistic world. Specifically, the damaged party could demand his share of compensation from the mariner in a service contract suit ( actio locati), while the mariner could in turn demand a compensation from the oth…

Persona

(227 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Masks see Masks Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) [German version] [2] Legal In modern parlance, persona is indeed a loan word received from Latin; however, persona in Latin certainly did not have the central meaning that it now conveys in modern legal culture based on rational law (cf. Person). In Ulp. Dig. 50,17,22 pr., Ulpian does indeed mention a persona servilis, that is, the personality (even) of a slave. However, this is in connection with the conclusion that slaves are not entitled to any legal claims. Rather, the slave was -- a…

Institutiones

(404 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The Roman jurists were probably the first who derived institutiones as a title for elementary textbooks from the term institutio (teaching course) in the 2nd cent. The significance of this Roman genre for European legal history extends far beyond what one might expect of ancient introductory didactic works: when the work of codifying Roman juristic law in the form of the  Digesta had advanced to a point that their success seemed certain, in AD 533 emperor Justinian commissioned his minister of justice  Tribonianus as well as the Byzantine l…

Dispensator

(169 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ( ab aere pendendo, Varro, Ling. 5,183). In earlier times the dispensator would presumably weigh unminted precious metals for his master or the state. The post developed into that of bookkeeper, cashier and steward, much like the Greek oikonómos. It is frequently encountered in Roman inscriptions. Many dispensatores were slaves or freedmen. In Gaius Inst. 1,122 they are distinguished as a special type of slaves: servi, quibus permittitur administratio pecuniae, dispensatores appellati sunt (‘slaves entrusted with the management of money are called dispensatores…

Adulterium

(329 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version]  Adultery ( a.) in Roman law according to the l. Iulia de adulteriis coercendis was a matter for public criminal proceedings ( iudicium publicum). The factual proximity of this ruling to Augustus' other marriage legislation suggests that the law on adultery originates from the same year as the l. de maritandis ordinibus (18 BC). According to a report by Paulus (Coll. 4,2,2), from the late classical period, several earlier laws were rescinded by the l. Iulia. So adulterium must already have been prosecuted at the time of the Republic, probably by the holder of authority ( pat…

Repudium

(187 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law, initially the unilateral repudiation of a wife by her husband. From the literal sense (from pudor, 'shame', 'chastity'), repudium would have had serious misconduct (especially adultery, adulterium ) by the wife as a prerequisite. According to the Twelve Tables, as reported by Gai. Dig. 24,2,2,1, for repudium, the man had to call upon the woman to leave ( baete foras) and to take her things with her ( tuas res tibi habeto). As early as the 3rd cent. BC, repudium was possible without any fault committed by the woman (cf. Gell. NA 4,3,1 f.); no late…

Intestabilis

(124 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law, legally incapable of being a witness ( testis). The Inst. Iust. (2,10,6) lists as intestabiles: women, minors, slaves, the dumb, the deaf, the mentally ill, legally incapacitated wastrels and those who had been declared improbus (dishonourable) and intestabilis by a special law. Legal arrangements of this kind result, for example, (according to Ulp. Dig. 47,10,5,9) from the lex Cornelia de iniuriis against authors or distributors of articles with offensive content or (according to Cassius Dig. 1,9,2) from the lex Iulia de repetundis against those re…

Carnifex

(103 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The hangman, who in Roman society as in virtually every place and time fulfilled a despised function, to be performed beyond the pale of civic life. Execution of  capital punishment by the carnifices was supervised under the Roman Republic by the   tresviri capitales . Whether they were state slaves, as was generally supposed in the past, is entirely uncertain. In Cumae and Puteoli it was the independent undertakers, during the imperial age soldiers too, who fulfilled the duties of the carnifex. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography W. Kunkel, Staatsordnung …

Legacy

(81 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The technical term legacy in modern law is a literal translation of the Roman legatum . In the testamentary settlement of the succession of property rights after death, Roman law differentiated between the appointment of the fully valid legal successor as heir ( heres, for this see Succession, law of III.) - or several heirs - and the allocation of individual objects as legacies. Other ancient laws contain no comparable construction. Fideicommissum; Testament [2] IV. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Capitatio

(111 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The poll-tax of the late Roman Imperial Age from Diocletian (AD 297). As capitatio plebeia, it was probably levied on the urban population. With regard to the taxation of the rural population, it is disputed whether the capitatio was raised independently or was -- as an indicator of income -- only an important unit in the calculation of the land-tax ( iugatio). Widows and orphans, soldiers and veterans were entirely or partly exempted from the capitatio.  Annona;  Iugum Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography W. Goffart, Caput and Colonate: Towards a Histo…
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