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date: 31 October 2020

arbitration, Romanlocked

  • A. N. Sherwin-White
  •  and Antony Spawforth


For private arbitration see D. Roebuck and B. de Loynes de Fumichon, Roman Arbitration (2004). The history of Roman inter-state arbitration begins with the intervention of Rome as a great power in the politics of the Hellenistic world. Rome took the place of the kings who had often acted as international arbitrators between the free cities and leagues of the Greeks. Such disputes were referred to the senate, which decided the general issue, but sometimes left particular points to a third party with local knowledge for settlement. Rome did not, in the earliest period, enforce the acceptance of her arbitral awards. While not abusing her influence, Rome tended to accept the state of affairs at the time when the appellants first came under her influence as the standard of reference. This practice tended, as her authority increased, to merge into the defence of the privileges of her allies. With the formation of provinces and the consolidation of the empire, arbitration lost its international character, since, except by special permission, which was sometimes allowed, notably in Sicily, the subject peoples could not turn elsewhere, even if they wished to, although Rome tolerated the Greek institution of ‘foreign judges’ until well into the 2nd cent. ce (see Greek section, above).


  • Economic History

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