Speculum Iuris: Roman Law as a Reflection of Social and Economic Life in Antiquity

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Roman public and private law regulated many aspects of life in Antiquity. The legal sources, statutes, juristic opinions, textbooks, documents and reports preserve a wealth of information that illuminates Roman society and economy. However, the use of this kind of evidence can be extremely difficult. With this volume, classicists, historians, and legal scholars propose various ways to integrate the legal evidence with other sources for ancient social and economic history.

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Overview


Roman public and private law regulated many aspects of life in Antiquity. The legal sources, statutes, juristic opinions, textbooks, documents and reports preserve a wealth of information that illuminates Roman society and economy. However, the use of this kind of evidence can be extremely difficult. With this volume, classicists, historians, and legal scholars propose various ways to integrate the legal evidence with other sources for ancient social and economic history.

Speculum Iuris examines the complex relationship between law and social practice from the particular angle of Roman legislation and jurisprudence as conditioned by or reacting to a specific social, economic, and political context. Using various strategies, the editors and contributors mine a huge body of texts to study attitudes and behaviors of the Roman upper class, whose social concerns are reflected in the development of legal rules.

A close reading of juristic opinions and Republican or imperial legislation allows the contributors to find rationales behind rules and decisions in order to explain practices and mentalities of the elite within a larger social context. This book demonstrates clearly that Roman law was not divorced from the realities of daily life, even if some jurists may have been working with purely hypothetical cases.

Speculum Iuris provides a multidisciplinary approach to the question of the interplay of legal and social forces in the Roman world. As such, it will be a helpful study for general classicists and ancient historians, as well as for legal historians, social historians, economic historians, sociologists, and cultural anthropologists.

Jean-Jacques Aubert is Professor of Latin Language and Literature, University of Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland. Boudewijn Sirks is Professor of the History of Ancient Law, the History of European Private Law, and German Civil Law, Institute for the History of Law, Germany.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472112517
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 7/9/2002
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Introduction 1
Sulla's Law on Prices and the Roman Definition of Luxury 15
Gifts between Husband and Wife: The Social Origins of Roman Law 34
The Augustan Marriage Legislation and Social Practice: Elite Endogamy versus Male "Marrying Down" 46
A Double Standard in Roman Criminal Law? The Death Penalty and Social Structure in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome 94
Sailing in the Off-Season with Reduced Financial Risk 134
Roman Law and the Study of Land Transportation 151
Conclusion: Some Reflections 169
Conclusion: A Historian's Point of View 182
Contributors 193
General Index 195
Index of Sources 201
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