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Ignorantia

(193 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] An old Roman legal rule deals with ignorantia, also ignoratio (ignorance). According to Paulus (3rd cent. AD, Dig. 22,6,9 pr.) it reads: iuris ignorantia nocet, facti vero ignorantia non nocet (‘ignorance of the law is harmful, but not ignorance of the facts’). The preferred term since the Middle Ages is error. For the Romans error and ignorantia were probably synonymous. Error in law neither prevents responsibility for individual behaviour (under criminal and civil law), nor the effectiveness of the   consensus in legal transactions inter vivos or in declarations…

Petitio

(325 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The word petitio ('request') referred to a specific form of action used in the Roman formulary procedure ( formula ), for example for the actio (action), which arose out of a specific object or a specific sum of money (Dig. 12,1), or the action of the true heir against the possessor of an inheritance ( hereditatis petitio, Dig. 5,3; Cod. Iust. 3,31). Besides these, claims arising from the cognitio procedure ( cognitio ) were mostly referred to as petitio. A strong conceptual distinction between actio, petitio and persecutio (prosecution) did not exist in Roman legal…

Patria potestas

(908 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The PP, which continued to exist as paternal power in the German Civil Code was only replaced in Germany following an interim stage of parental power with effect from 1.1.1980 by paternal care, in Rome referred to the extensive right of control which the pater familias exerted over the family. Originally the PP, like the manus over the wife (Marriage III.C.), probably had no legal boundaries, but merely moral and religious ones. The transgression of these could, for example lead to a loss of honour or an exclusion from the nobility or the equites. In Imperial times the PP…

Condictio

(1,036 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A. Type of suit in the ius civile Sentencing to a particular payment could be achieved with the   legis actio per condictionem after the 3rd cent. BC: certa pecunia based on a lex Silia, other certae res based on a lex Calpurnia (cf. Gai. Inst. 4,17 b-19). The condictio (‘announcement’) is merely a procedural designation: the court date was not granted immediately but only after the expiry of an ‘announced’ term of 30 days to allow the debtor the option of compliance without court procedure. The certum in this suit is, in the first place, a payback guarantee for an …

International law

(1,438 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Overview International law (IL) was established as a field in its own right during the early modern period (especially by Hugo Grotius, 1583-1645). The term   ius (A.2.) gentium, which originated in Roman law, established itself as its name. However, in antiquity this term did not mean IL but those concepts of  law in general that were assumed to be common to all peoples. This also included principles that belong to IL in its narrow sense such as the inviolability of diplomatic representatives (Dig. 50,7,18). Antiquity did not have a term for IL per se. However, ancient …

Castigatio

(189 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Expression describing an educational measure, as can be inferred from the meaning of the word ( castum agere, ‘to make pure’). The person carrying out the punishment is often excluded from liability for the consequences of castigatio upon the punished: thus the master punishing his apprentice (e.g. Dig. 9,2,5,3). The same goes for the paterfamilias with regard to his children and the master to his slaves (Dig. 7,1,23,1; 48,19,16,2). Castigatio as a policing or juridical measure is partly linked to such private authority-based relationships: by the …

Effractor

(68 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Roman law the thief who obtains his loot through break and entry. According to Dig. 47,18 he commits a criminal act that is prosecuted as a   crimen ( publicum). In the Republic it was still a civil offence. An escapee was called an effractor ( carceris) and was also prosecuted as the perpetrator of a crimen in a   cognitio extra ordinem . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Gesta

(320 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In the Republican period in Rome the records (also   commentarii ) that a magistrate made or had made regarding the orders decreed by him (  acta ). They were personally archived by the magistrate after the end of his period in office (Cic. Sull. 42). From the 3rd cent. AD the term gesta superseded the expression commentarii for the official records. Apart from gesta the word cottidiana occurs in the same sense . With this meaning gesta can be found in all levels of the administration of late antiquity. Ultimately the recording of official files and negotiations by gesta was tr…

Vidua

(16 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Latin expression and Roman legal term for widow (II.). Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Calumnia

(295 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In classical Roman law, the deliberate, groundless and bullying filing of suits and charges. In the regulatory procedure for disputes amongst private individuals, the Praetor awarded a special iudicium calumniae decimae partis, i.e. a penalty for failure to observe correct procedure of 1/10 of the value of the claim (Gai. Inst. 4,175). In the case of manumission or status claims the sanction against the fiduciary claimant (  adsertor in libertatem ) amounted to as much as 1/3 of the value of the slave. The person affected could demand four times the value ( quadruplum) wi…

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

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)

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…

Peregrinus

(645 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (perhaps from peregre, 'outside the fields', namely the territory of Rome) was the most important technical term of Roman law referring to foreigners (Aliens, the position of), who did not belong to the community of rights of the Roman citizens ( civitas ) but who was nevertheless an enemy or completely without rights. The dediticii , who as members of communities subjected by Rome had been given neither Roman nor Latin citizen law (Latin law), were sometimes partially distinguished from peregrini, and sometimes treated as a special group of peregrini In the time of t…

Inscriptio

(131 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Technical term for the listing of sources at the beginning of the fragments of the digests (  Digesta ) and of the constitutions in the Codex Iustinianus ( Codex II C). The Digesta list the author from the Classical period (e.g. Ulpian), his work (e.g. ad edictum = edict commentary), and the number of the ‘book’ (e.g. libro quinto for 5th bk.); the Codex Iustinianus - as already the Codex Theodosianus - lists the emperor who enacted the respective constitution and the addressee. The inscriptiones in the Digesta were the most important sources for reconstructing the…

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…

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…

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.

Parens

(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…

Torture

(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 …
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