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Supplicium

(250 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('Punishment') is used in Roman law similarly to poena , but confined to 'public' punishment (Penal Law) and more specifically the death penalty. One can only speculate on how supplicium (originally probably a plea for forgiveness) came to acquire the meaning of a punishment. The Twelve Tables (5th cent. BC) do recognize the death penalty in some cases, but primarily as a private punishment; it is not called supplicium in reports on the law. A supplicium more maiorum ('punishment according to the tradition of the forefathers') is mentioned several times i…

Anquisitio

(149 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] is a part of Roman criminal proceedings of the republican period in crimes against the state. The comitia passed judgement on them in a iudicium publicum. The anquisitio preceded this: first of all the peoples' tribunes, as the magistrates responsible, pleaded the intended charge three times before the assembled people (  contio ). Contrary to the opinion of Mommsen [1], the comitia were not just a pardoning body which decided after a   provocatio against the sentence previously passed by the magistrate. As Brecht [2] and Kunkel [3] discovered from their studies, the anqu…

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…

Instrumentum

(362 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The term instrumentum (an object that has been ‘erected’ or ‘set up’) has widely differing meanings in Roman legal terminology: 1. in the Imperial period, especially in late antiquity, instrumentum was the document recorded by a document writer (  Tabellio ) concerning a civil legal transaction or (as instrumentum publicum) by an authority regarding a private or public matter. The instrumentum publicum and the instrumentum of the document writer, which was attested as authentic by three witnesses and also by the tabellio in writing, had full status as proof in…

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…

Nomen

(61 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (pl. nomina). In Roman law, the term for debts. Gai. Inst. 128-133 distinguishes between ‘cash debts’ ( nomina arcaria), which arose e.g. from loans ( mutuum , see also condictio ), and ‘ledger debts’ ( nomina transscripticia), which arose by an entry in the ‘ledger’ of the creditor as an obligation from a litterarum obligatio . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

N. N.

(28 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Abbreviation of the all-inclusive designation N(umerius) N(egidius), which in Roman jurisprudence is used to describe the defendant; analogous to A.A. Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

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.

Tabulae nuptiales

(226 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (lit. 'marriage tablets'). Marriage contracts in Roman law, set out in documents from the Imperial period onwards (cf. Tac. Ann. 6,45,5 on Messalina [2] and Silius in AD 48). In Roman law, marriage itself was not a (formal) contract, it was sexual communion with the intention of living a married life ( affectio maritalis). The subject of the TN, by contrast, were question of property connected with marriage, primarily the pledging of a dowry ( Dos ) to the husband for the wife's maintenance, in Late Antiquity probably also the husband's…

Sectio bonorum

(91 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('liquidation of assets') is the model for the Roman collection of debts ( missio in possessionem ) executed against debtors in Roman law. If someone, esp. a tax collector ( publicani ), owed money to the state, all his assets were liquidated. The buyer had to assume the debt. The purchase price went to the treasury ( aerarium ). Guarantors ( praedes) whom the state debtor often had to procure were subject to SB as well. Debt Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) Bibliography M. Kaser, K. Hackl, Das römische Zivilprozeßrecht 21996, 389 f.

Lawcourt

(459 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] The institution of the law court (LC) has existed from the beginning of state control in antiquity. It is no longer possible to deduce whether and where a phase of arbitration preceded it. In the documents of the Ancient Orient LCs are attested on many occasions [1; 2; 3]. The respective city prince or king was probably also the master of the court although in Mesopotamia there was also local jurisdiction (i.e. within certain groups) [2]. The scribes were suited for work as judg…

Revocatio

(161 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] ('Revocation') occurs in two special senses in Roman law: (1) as revocatio in servitutem (' revocatio into slavery'), the revocation of manumission, probably only current in Late Antiquity (cf. Cod. Iust. 6,7,2 pr.); (2) in civil actions. There, the convicted party, having already paid, could demand retrial ( restitutio ) only with the risk of being compelled to pay the claimant for the litigation a second time by revocatio in duplum (' revocatio for double the value') if the restitution failed. This applied for the formula procedure ( formula ) and…

Elogium

(352 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Roman honorary inscription for deceased men An honorary inscription placed by the Romans on the tombs of deceased men of rank, on statues and wax masks within buildings or on public places. Most of the elogia on public display were removed by the censors of 158 BC. Most extant material dates from the Imperial period, where it was at times employed in the exalted reconstruction of times long since past. This also applies to the most important and best known examples of elogia, i.e. the inscriptions on the marble statues of the Mars temple on the Forum Augustu…

Compensatio

(709 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Compensatio (charging to account) was a rather complicated institution in Roman law. The basic idea, however, is simple: when two parties involved in a court case have claims against each other, the claims are not treated separately, but are offset one against the other -- as far as the amounts cover each other. Both claims are thereby paid off, so that the complaint becomes groundless and the defendant can no longer sue for his counter-claim. The complication in Roman law resulted from the different legal procedures connected to the different reasons leading to claims. Ga…

Banishment

(57 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] In Graeco-Roman Antiquity banishment largely replaced the death penalty for members of the upper class, but also existed as an independent  punishment, as in the Attic ostrakismós . For details for Greece, particularly Athens, see phygḗ , aeiphygía , apeniautismós , for Rome see exilium , deportatio , relegatio . Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)

Carcer

(329 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] According to Varro, Ling. 5,151, the term carcer, i.e. a place for individual detention, is derived from coercere; it is thus linked to the magistracy's powers of   coercitio for the direct enforcement of its authority, and not the punishment of criminal misconduct. ‘The carcer has to be maintained for the detention, not the punishment of people’: carcer enim ad continendos homines, non ad puniendos haberi debet (Ulp. Dig. 48,19,8,7). Civil law offences and other obligations, for which the obligator was liable in person, were regulated by the XI…

Synallagma

(288 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] (συνάλλαγμα/ synállagma, literally: 'mutual exchange'). Greek expression for a (business) transaction, sometimes for any type of legal obligation regardless of its creation, be it an offence or a contract. It did not have a precise juridicial meaning. Nevertheless, the Roman jurists M. Antistius [II 3] Labeo (about the time of the birth of Christ) and Titius Aristo (late 1st cent. AD) adopted the Greek word synallagma in Latin to refer to agreements that resulted in obligations for both parties. These might be so-called innominate contracts th…

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…

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 …

Crux

(354 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] Little is known about the origin and spread of crucifixion in ancient legal systems. There is probably no evidence for it in classical Greece [1]. Herodotus (1,128; 4,43; 202) reports on it as a form of execution among the barbarians, Polybius (1,24,6) among the Phoenicians. Little likely is the idea of the Romans adopting it directly from the Phoenicians [2] (differing views in [3; 4]). Crucifixion however does come to be used as capital punishment among the Romans from about 200 BC (cf. Plaut. Mil. 359). The   tresviri capitales probably introduce…
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