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(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.


(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…

Law, codification of

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Codification of law, in the sense of the comprehensive and conclusive regulation of a major and more or less finite subject area, must be discounted for pre- and extra-Roman cultures, regardless of all ancient pronouncements (Egypt: Diod. Sic. 1,95,4f.; Greece: Aristot. Ath. Pol. 2,1273a 35 - 1274b 25) and modern discussions (‘Law of Ḫammurapi’: [11; 13]; Achaemenid empire: [4; 14; 16]) (see the articles in [5]; also [6; 13]). The collection, systematization or uni…

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…


(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…


(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 …

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…


(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…


(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…

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…


(117 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Rome the suspension of judicial activity generally ordered by a magistrate (the highest present in Rome) with an edict and associated with further restrictions of transactions, e.g. the closure of the state treasury (  aerarium , Cic. Har. resp. 55) or the stores in the Forum (Liv. 9,7,8). By the late Republic this order had to be preceded by a resolution of the Senate (Liv. 3,3,6). The iustitium was not solely an emergency measure but already in the Republican period could be caused by public mourning over a military defeat (Liv. 9,7,8) or the…


(303 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] has two meanings in Roman law: one describing a ‘measure’ primarily of land, the other - according to the matter in hand - the same as the modern concept of an instruction (on a gift or testamentary benefit). M. agri (the land measure) was the subject of a well-known action from Paul. sent. 2,17,4  ( actio de modo agri): if the price of a piece of land was calculated according to its area, the purchaser could demand from the seller double the proportional price as a private penalty, if it transpired that the area was smaller than stated.…

Lex commissoria

(213 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] A Roman forfeiture or cancellation agreement, it was usually a unilateral (hence: lex ) clause inserted in conditions of sale (see emptio venditio D), or a pledge ( fiducia , pignus ). Upon purchase the clause granted the vendor a right of rescission if the purchaser did not pay the purchase price - for instance, in the event of an agreement for payment in instalments or a date of payment. If the vendor exercised the right of rescission, he could request the return of the sold property by means of the actio venditi (according to the Sabinians) or by means of an actio in factum (acco…


(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…
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