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Article

Carlos Amunátegui Perelló

According to tradition, during its first two and a half centuries of existence, seven kings governed Rome. Each of these promulgated regulations, which were known as the “laws of the kings” (leges regiae “royal laws”). Reports of these laws are to be found in many traditional accounts about the early history of Rome (most importantly, Dion. Hal. 2.7-29; Plut. Rom. 9.3; Cic. De rep. 2.8.14; Liv. A.U.C. 1.8), in a chapter of Justinian’s Digest dedicated to the origins of law extracted from a work of the jurist Pomponius (D.1.2.2, Pomponius, libro singulari enchiridii), and some casual statements made by antiquarians, including Varro and Gellius.

The fact that many—but not all—of the laws were attributed to Romulus and Numa Pompilius, the two most unlikely of the seven kings the tradition offers, led scholars generally to discard them as simple myths, historical anticipations (for some of the laws’ contents were repeated in the Twelve Tables), or even as fabrications of Dionysius in a political pamphlet.

Article

Tony Honoré

Roman lawyers were a specialized professional group in Roman society (see law, roman, sociology of ) distinct from those humble clerks and notaries who copied documents and recorded proceedings. That society was unusual in that in the later republic and empire there emerged for the first time in history a class of secular legal experts who, whether they made a living from their profession or not, were regarded as the repositories of a special type of learning useful to the state and private citizens. Until the 3rd cent. bce knowledge of the law and its procedure was a monopoly of the patrician priesthood, the college of *Pontifices , whose advice was sought on the law of the state cult but also on secular forms. From then on (see coruncanius, ti. ; flavius, cn. ) some who were not members of the priestly college began to give advice on law; but until the end of the republic the same people were often expert in sacred, public, and private law. Their functions resembled those of modern lawyers. They gave opinions to people who consulted them (respondere), helped them to draft documents or take other measures to avoid legal pitfalls (cavere), and advised on litigation and its proper forms (agere).

Article

Tony Honoré

Legal literature refers to those works of *Lawyers which in their treatment of legal matters went beyond mere collections of laws and formulae. Legal literature was the most specifically Roman branch of Latin literature, and until the Byzantine age nearly all works on law were in Latin, which remained the language of legislation in the east until ce 535. But they can only be understood in the light of those Greek genres which were imitated in Rome. They were for the most part written in plain but technically accurate language. They consisted of one or more books (libri), generally of 10,000–15,000 words each, divided into titles each with a rubric and often numbered. We depend for their early history mainly on the account given by Sextus *Pomponius . About 300 bceAppius *Claudius Caecus is said to have written a book De usurpationibus (‘On Interruption of Title’). A century later Sextus *Aelius Paetus besides publishing laws and formulae wrote on the interpretation of the *Twelve Tables .

Article

Lorenzo Gagliardi

The leges Liciniae Sextiae are a small set of four Roman legislative acts introduced in 367bce to regulate several matters1. They take their name from their proponents, tribunes of the plebeians C. Licinius Stolo and L. Sextius Lateranus.One of these legislative acts states that in the place of the duumviri sacris faciundis [two magistrates created to perform sacrifices, of patrician status], decemviri were to be elected [and therefore a college of ten members], reserving five places to plebeians and five to patricians. Another, in reference to debt, stated that amounts already paid by way of interest had to be deducted from the capital, and the remaining sum was to be paid in three equal instalments over a three-year period. A third set a limit on lands, prohibiting anyone from holding more than 500 iugera (125 ha). The fourth placed an end to the election of tribuni militum consulari potestate [military tribunes with consular powers] and stated that one of the consuls always had to be a plebeian.

Article

Michael Crawford

(a) Statute, passed by one of the assemblies of the Roman people; the lex Hortensia of 287 bce conferred the force of statute on plebis scita, measures passed by a meeting of the *plebs, and these came in time to be referred to loosely as leges. See plebiscitum. The passage of a lex involved a magistrate presenting a proposal in the form of a question: ‘Would you wish, would you order, Quirites, that…? This then, as I have spoken, so I ask you, Quirites.’ The measure had normally to be promulgated, publicized, at least three market days, nundinae, beforehand (see trinundinum); and there could then be debate in a series of informal gatherings, contiones (see contio); but in the assembly the people could only answer yes or no. Once the measure had been passed, the subjunctives of the dependent clauses of the rogatio were converted into the future imperatives which are characteristic of Roman legislative style. The text was then both published and placed in the archives. In the late republic and for the period of the early empire for which legislation survived, there was a tendency not to bother to carry out this process of conversion: only the enforcement clauses of the sanctio at the end appeared in the future imperative.

Article

It is clear from *Priscian, Institutes 2. 49–50 = 2. 75 Keil, that the concept of leges frumentariae, agrariae, nummariae, and so on (see below) was familiar to the Romans. We discuss a number of these and then list some important examples of some of the different kinds of leges of lex (1). We then append a set of miscellaneous regulations and laws. See in general M. H. Crawford (ed.), Roman Statutes (1996).See agrarian laws and policy; flaminius (1), c.; sempronius gracchus (3), ti., and sempronius gracchus, c.; also lex Thoria (below).statutes regulating minimum ages for and intervals between different magistracies; see cursus honorum; villius (annalis), l.; A. E. Astin, The Lex Annalis before Sulla (1958).statutes conferring *citizenship or Latinity on categories of Latin and Italian communities; the most famous is the lex Julia of 90 bce.

Article

Anna Tarwacka

Lex Aebutia (de formulis) was a statute concerning Roman civil procedure. It related to the transition from legis actiones to formulary proceedings. Both its date and detailed provisions are highly debatable. The archaic procedure per legis actiones consisted of two stages, the first of which took place before a magistrate and required the use of formal words, while the second was held before a judge who decided the case. The introduction of formulae (i.e., instructions for judges written by the praetor giving them authority to condemn or free the defendant) simplified the procedure: there were still two stages, but the parties were able to state their case in an informal way, and the defendant was allowed to present circumstances in his favour.There are very few sources that mention this law. Gaius (Gai. Inst. 4.30) wrote that the legis actiones gradually fell into disuse, because the forefathers had created this law in a way that called for such a high level of exactness that even the slightest formal mistake a party made during the proceedings resulted in his losing the case. That is why the lex Aebutia and the two Julian laws on jurisdiction (see lex Iulia on jurisdiction) abolished the legis actiones, so that the parties could conduct a legal dispute by means of verba concepta, that is by the formulae.

Article

Tommaso Beggio

The lex Agraria dating from 111 bce is an epigraphic law dealing with the distribution and privatisation of public land (ager publicus) in Italy and the provinces. In its first part, concerning public land in Italy, the law first describes five different categories of land declared to be private, before identifying other kinds of land that were and should remain public. In the second part, relating to land in Africa and Greece, the law establishes rules mainly regarding pasture land and the public sale of land, which then had to be declared private; nonetheless, this land was subject to the payment of the vectigal. Therefore, the lex Agraria can be considered as a law that consolidated some of the achievements of the Gracchan reforms that took a significant step towards the privatisation of ager publicus. However, the question remains open as to whether the lex Agraria could be associated with one of the three post-Gracchan laws cited by Appian (B Civ.

Article

The lex Aquilia was the statutory foundation for the institutional delict damnum iniuria, relating to wrongful loss and damage to property. A plebiscite referred to as lex, its enactment is often dated just after lex Hortensia (287bce), which gave the enactments of the concilium plebis the force of lex without senatorial approval. However, its origins have also been linked to economic instability associated with the Second Punic War.1 The earliest surviving commentary is attributed to Brutus, in the late 2nd centurybce (Dig. 9.2.27.22). Two of its provisions survive into Justinian’s codification: chapters 1 and 3. They have distinct harm elements and methods of quantifying damages, but share a fault element. Chapter 2, ostensibly concerning co-promises, survives only in Gaius’s Institutes (G. 3.215-216) and was apparently in disuse by high classical law (Dig. 9.2.27.4).2Chapter 1 concerned the killing of slaves and pecudes, a category of four-footed grazing animals that came to include pigs, elephants, and camels (Dig.

Article

Peter Candy

The lex Cincia, most likely a plebiscite of 204 bce, was a law that placed restrictions on the giving and receiving of gifts. It contained both an absolute prohibition on gifts made to advocates for the pleading of cases and a general prohibition on gifts exceeding a certain (unknown) value. The general prohibition did not, however, apply to persons who enjoyed a specifically exempted relationship. The law was probably intended to curb the extortionary abuse of gift giving by social and economic elites who, after the devastation of the Second Punic War, were motivated to extract ever-more considerable gifts from their clients. The lex Cincia probably served an expressive function more than anything else, since it made no provision for voiding gifts and only provided for sanctions in limited circumstances.The lex Cincia was a law that placed restrictions on the giving and receiving of gifts. Both Cicero (De Or.

Article

James R. Townshend

Sometimes referred to in scholarship as the plebiscitum Claudianum, the lex Claudia prohibited senators and their sons from possessing seafaring ships capable of carrying more than 300 amphorae. The only source that discusses the law is Livy (21.63.3–4). Livy reports that the law was proposed by a tribunus plebis, Q. Claudius, about whom nothing more is known. According to Livy, the consul-elect C. Flaminius(1) was the only senator to support the bill. Despite the bitter opposition of the senate, the law was nevertheless enacted (res per summam contentionem acta). Livy remarks that Flaminius’s support for the law generated hostility among the senators but won him the favour of the plebs and then a second consulship, which he began in 217bce. Flaminius’s first consulship had been in 223bce (with its own controversy), and he had served as censor in 220–219. The periocha of Livy, Book 20 indicates that the details of his censorship were covered in that book, including the reorganization of the libertini across the four urban tribes and the construction of both the Circus Flaminius and Via Flaminia.

Article

Andrew Drummond

In the late republic a law carried through the curiate assembly (represented by thirty lictors) was deemed necessary to the full legitimacy of those holding the upper, and perhaps also the lower, magistracies (cf. especially M. *Valerius Messalla(2) ‘Rufus’ (consul 53 bce) in Gell. NA 13. 15. 4, although the text is controversial). See comitia; magistracy, roman. The centuriate assembly passed a comparable law for *censors. This and the use of the archaic curiae (see curia(1)) suggest that the practice of passing a curiate law is ancient and could even go back to the monarchy, although only *Cicero (Rep. 2. 25, etc. ) and Tacitus (1) (Ann. 11. 22. 4) explicitly ascribe it to the regal period. See rex; rome, history. The most significant modern theories of its (original) function are: (i) it conferred *imperium on those magistrates entitled to it; (ii) it conferred rights to auspices (see auspicium); (iii) it defined, conferred, or confirmed a magistrate's powers in general; (iv) it acknowledged or recognized the assumption of office; (v) it was an oath of obedience.

Article

Kaius Tuori

The Lex de imperio Vespasiani ( CIL VI 930, 31207=ILS 244) is an epigraphic text on a bronze tablet, now partially lost, containing part of a law that granted some or all powers of the emperor to Vespasian in the year 70 ce.1 The text appears to be a piece of comitial legislation. The extant text is on a large bronze tablet discovered by Cola di Rienzo in the 14th century and currently held at the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The text is fragmentary: because there is no introduction to the text, it is assumed that there would have been another tablet preceding the surviving one. Whether Cola di Rienzo saw the missing tablet is disputed. The commonly used title of the law is a modern reconstruction. The law was promulgated in Rome in January, before Vespasian had arrived from Alexandria.2

The surviving text of the law contains eight clauses and a sanction. The beginning of the text is missing, including the preamble.

Article

Jakob Fortunat Stagl

The lex Falcidia is a plebiscitum (41–40 bce) that restricts the testator’s capacity to charge his testament with legacies, namely sums of money or objects the heir must transfer to a third person (legatum).1 According to the lex Falcidia, legacies decreed by the deceased cannot exceed by more than three quarters the worth of the whole estate.2 In consequence, the heir must receive at least one fourth of the estate free from legacies, he must obtain so called “Falcidian quarter.”The Law of the Twelve Tables declared that the testator had total freedom to charge the testament with as many legacies as he wished.3 To the extent that testators availed themselves of this freedom, the heirs designated in the testaments declined from accepting the inheritance, having only obligations arising from it without any compensation. Since a testament without an heir could not exist in the Roman conception, such a testament was therefore void. As a further consequence, this entailed intestate succession and the nullity of all dispositions in the initial testament. To avoid these consequences, which were detrimental to all parties involved, the Romans started to legislate against this tendency to charge the heir with too many legacies. They considered legacies a luxury because the institution of an heir was necessary for social and religious reasons, whereas the bestowal of legacies was not. The first attempts at limiting legacies, the lex Furia (181–169bce), which prohibits the acceptance of legacies of more than 1000 asses, and the lex Voconia (bce), which stated that legacies of deceased from the highest census class could not exceed the sum bestowed upon the heirs, were awkward insofar as they made use of absolute limits to the testator’s freedom.

Article

Lorenzo Gagliardi

Lex Hortensia was a law submitted for comitia approval in 287bce by the plebeian dictator Q. Hortensius. The law established that plebiscites would be valid for the entire Roman population and would have the force of law.1 A small group of ancient sources agree on the description of the law’s contents.2Scholars are uncertain as to which assembly considered the proposal. Pliny the Elder places the approval in Aesculeto3: this is an unknown location, which is nonetheless considered to be outside the pomerium.4 If this opinion is correct, it can be assumed that the centuriate comitia voted on the law.The law was presented and voted upon during a period of political and economic conflict between the patricians and plebeians, and during the third secession of the latter (in this case, on the Janiculum5).6 It represented a fundamental step for plebeian progress. It can be said that the lex Hortensia marked the final moment in the Struggle of the Orders.

Article

The law of Augustus concerning the regulation of marriage (18 bce), a plebiscite often treated in conjunction with the consular law of Papius and Poppaeus (lex Papia Poppaea, 9 ce, together as lex Iulia et Papia), primarily obliges all Roman citizens to enter into marriage with the purpose of producing legitimate offspring. With this goal, the law probably contained set age limits at which point one was expected to have been married, an age likely reflective of the fertility age, and an extensive list of rewards and privileges for those producing (legitimate) offspring.The literary sources of the 1st and 2nd centuries ce emphasize the reward structure the law contained. For example, Tacitus, in Tac. Ann. 2.51 suggests the number of children was crucial for the election of a praetor. The general overviews of the laws enacted by Augustus in Suetonius, Augustus 34 and Cassius Dio, Historia Romana.

Article

Georgy Kantor

The lex Iulia municipalis was a law of uncertain content and scope concerning municipal institutions passed by Iulius Caesar or less likely Augustus. It is attested in a single inscription from Patavium, commemorating a certain Marcus Iunius Sabinus as quattuorvir aediliciae potestatis “in accordance with the lex Iulia municipalis” (CIL V 2864 = ILS 5406) and may have been a piece of legislation dealing specifically with Patavium or a general regulation dealing with municipal institutions in Italy, and possibly reorganising aedilician powers of local magistrates. It may be alluded to by Cicero, Fam. VI.18.1, mentioning a ban on heralds (praecones) taking municipal office.1Earlier scholarship frequently identified the lex Iulia municipalis with a collection of material from Roman statutes on a bronze tablet broken into two pieces found in 1732 in the territory of the city of Heraclea (CIL I2 593; Roman Statutes, no. 24).

Article

Anna Tarwacka

The lex Iulia on jurisdiction was a complex regulation concerning both civil and criminal proceedings. The archaic procedure per legis actiones was generally abolished and substituted with the formulary proceedings. The purpose of the law was to simplify and shorten the trials.Lex Iulia on jurisdiction is a term referring to lex Iulia iudiciorum privatorum and lex Iulia iudiciorum publicorum, laws promulgated by Augustus in 17 bce. At that time the princeps was acting within the bounds of his potestas tribunicia, so one may infer that the laws were passed in the plebeian assembly, which technically makes them plebiscites. These were laws on civil and criminal procedure, respectively. They were part of Augustus’ political programme to simplify and shorten proceedings.Gaius (Gai. Inst. 4.30) writes that the two Julian laws (together with the lex Aebutia) abolished the legis actiones—that is the civil procedure of the Twelve Tables in use since the archaic law period, bringing in the formulary procedure. Gaius’ use of the plural “Julian laws” led Wlassak to think that there might have been two .

Article

Kimberley Webb

The lex Ogulnia or, more precisely, the Ogulnian plebiscite (see plebiscitum), promulgated in 300bce by the tribunes Q. Ogulnius and Cn. Ogulnius,1 created additional vacancies within the pontifical and augural colleges (see collegium) that were exclusively reserved for plebeians. This increased the number of pontifices in office from four to eight and augures from four to nine. It has often been viewed in the context of the so-called Struggle of the Orders as one of the final measures that opened previously patrician roles to the plebeians, and the publication of the legis actiones and the religious calendar in 304bce by Cn. Flavius.2 Hölkeskamp, in what remains the seminal discussion of the plebiscite, proposed that this measure reflected the already established consensus between the patrician and plebeian orders.3Livy provides the only detailed account of the passing of the lex Ogulnia, with the exception of a cursory reference in .

Article

Ville Vuolanto

The lex Oppia, decreed in 216 bce, regulated the use of wealth by the Roman women. There are different modern interpretative approaches to the law, dealing with its original contents and purpose (as a sumptuary law or as a wartime emergency measure), its abrogation in 195 bce with Cato the Elder’s speech and women’s demonstrations, and its uses in Livy and the debates in Rome in the late 1st century bce.The lex Oppia was a plebiscitum decreed after a proposal by the people’s tribune Gaius Oppius in 215bce; it was repealed in 195bce. According to Livy, it provided that no woman should have (habere) more than one half an ounce (semiuncia, c. 14 grams) of gold, wear luxuriously coloured (versicolor) clothing, or ride in a carriage (iunctum vehiculum) in Rome, in any town, or within a mile of the settlement in question, except in the performance of public religious rites (.