The Invention of Law in the West

The Invention of Law in the West


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Law is a specific form of social regulation distinct from religion, ethics, and even politics, and endowed with a strong and autonomous rationality. Its invention, a crucial aspect of Western history, took place in ancient Rome. Aldo Schiavone, a world-renowned classicist, reconstructs this development with clear-eyed passion, following its course over the centuries, setting out from the earliest origins and moving up to the threshold of Late Antiquity.

The invention of Western law occurred against the backdrop of the Roman Empire's gradual consolidation—an age of unprecedented accumulation of power which transformed an archaic predisposition to ritual into an unrivaled technology for the control of human dealings. Schiavone offers us a closely reasoned interpretation that returns us to the primal origins of Western legal machinery and the discourse that was constructed around it—formalism, the pretense of neutrality, the relationship with political power. This is a landmark work of scholarship whose influence will be felt by classicists, historians, and legal scholars for decades.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674047334
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/02/2012
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 1,010,324
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Aldo Schiavone is Full Professor in Roman Law at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, of which he was the founder, and the Director from 2006 until 2010.

Table of Contents

Preface viii

Part 1 The Tradition and the History

1 Roman Law and the Modern West 3

2 History Rediscovered 19

3 The Jurists in Rome 31

Part 2 The Birth of a Technique

4 Origins 45

5 Kings, Priests, Wise Men 64

6 Rituals and Prescriptions 74

7 The Model of Statutory Law 85

8 The Logos of the Republic 105

Part 3 Science, Forms, Dominion

I Preservation and Change in the Age of Conquest 131

9 his civile and die Praetors: The Idea of Fairness 133

10 Oraiity and Writing 154

II The Building of Legal Science: From Quintus Mucius To Servius And Cicero 175

11 The Quest for Order 177

12 The New Paradigm: Abstraction and Formalism 169

13 An Aristocratic Theology 226

14 A Separate Reason: Entities, Rules, Cases 245

15 Politics and Destiny 270

16 Legitimacy and Power: The Doctrine of Natural Law 285

Part 4 In the Heart of the Empire

I The Compromise and the Alliance: From Labeo to Gaius and Pomponius 309

17 Hermeneutics and the Politics of Law 311

18 The Definition of Characteristics 338

19 Jurists and Emperors 367

II The Government: Ulpian 391

20 The Great Systematization 393

21 The Custodians of Law 416

22 Equality Ancient and Modern 449

Abbreviations 463

Notes 465

General Index 585

Index of Sources 607

What People are Saying About This

Bruce Frier

Everyone recognizes that during the early Roman Empire law emerged as a professionalized and vital part of statecraft, but few understand the wrenching intellectual controversy that accompanied the transformation. Aldo Schiavone's terrific book brings this historic debate into dazzling focus.
Bruce Frier, University Michigan

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