Lives behind the Laws: The World of the Codex Hermogenianus

Overview

In this exploration of the administration of law and its role in the lives of ordinary people in the northern provinces of the Roman Empire, Serena Connolly draws upon a rich but little-known legal collection from the late third century known as the Codex Hermogenianus. The codex is composed of imperial responses to petitions sent to Rome, written by a team of the emperor's legal experts. These petitions and responses provide a wealth of information about provincial legal administration and the lives of the ...

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Lives behind the Laws: The World of the Codex Hermogenianus

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Overview

In this exploration of the administration of law and its role in the lives of ordinary people in the northern provinces of the Roman Empire, Serena Connolly draws upon a rich but little-known legal collection from the late third century known as the Codex Hermogenianus. The codex is composed of imperial responses to petitions sent to Rome, written by a team of the emperor's legal experts. These petitions and responses provide a wealth of information about provincial legal administration and the lives of the non-elite petitioners. The man who prostituted his wife, the mother whose malicious son undersold her farm, and the slaves who posed as free men to get a loan are just a few of the lives to encounter. Lives behind the Laws makes a valuable contribution to Roman social, political, and legal history.

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Editorial Reviews

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This is truly a fine book, as readable and engaging as it is insightful.... [I]t should surely be on the shelves of every Roman social and legal historian" —Bryn Mawr Classical Review

American Historical Review

"The clear analytical design, up-to-date and well-researched bibliography, and demonstrated capacity for logistic analysis make this a valuable contribution to the social and administrative history of the later Roman Empire." —American Historical Review, 116.1, February 2011

Phoenix

"[A] highly thought-provoking as well as finely written and carefully argued work, which will doubtlessly prove useful to those studying the Roman legal system and Diocletian's reign." —Phoenix

Michael Peachin

"A very interesting contribution to our picture of the imperial system of petition and response.... Connolly gives us... a synoptic view of what was arguably the most important role of the Roman emperor during the Early Empire." —Michael Peachin, New York University

The European Legacy

"The diverse material from the CH, its description, analysis, and proposed contextual explanation, will pique different curiosities in different readers, and Connolly’s carefully argued and overall persuasive book will satisfy them all to some extent." —The European Legacy

From the Publisher
"The clear analytical design, up-to-date and well-researched bibliography, and demonstrated capacity for logistic analysis make this a valuable contribution to the social and administrative history of the later Roman Empire." —American Historical Review, 116.1, February 2011

"This is truly a fine book, as readable and engaging as it is insightful.... [I]t should surely be on the shelves of every Roman social and legal historian" —Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253221476
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 1/11/2010
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Serena Connolly is Assistant Professor of Classics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

List of Abbreviations xix

Introduction 1

1 Seeking Justice in the Roman World 16

Petitioning in the Roman World 22

2 The Rescript System 39

The Codex Hermogenianus 39

The Rescript System in Motion 47

The Work of the scrinium libellorum 55

3 The Rescript System in Context 63

Petitioners 67

Places 83

4 Using the System 98

"With the Law" 102

"Before the Law" 112

"Against the Law" 129

5 The Emperor and His Petitioners 137

Petitioners in Need: The New Understanding of Poverty 138

The Roles of the Emperor 140

Limits on the Emperor 154

The Nexus of Power: Emperor, Officials, Petitioners 155

Conclusion 159

Appendix 1 The Skaptopara Inscription 167

Appendix 2 Catalog of Extant Entries from the Codex Hermogenianus 175

Map 205

Notes 207

Bibliography 245

Index 261

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