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Article

Massimo Nafissi

Lycurgus was the legendary founder of Sparta’s political order and of many of its social institutions. His legend initially developed as part of the transformation that gave Sparta its distinctive features during the Archaic period. The role that Spartan tradition attributed to Lycurgus ended up subsuming and eventually cancelling any memory of this process, and his role in the establishment of the city’s laws and customs, along with Apollo’s blessing, rendered them more legitimate and binding. As it was Lycurgus’s laws that granted Sparta her distinctive greatness, the lawgiver continued to be an influential source of civic identity throughout antiquity, and in Sparta, his legend continued to be revived through a process known as invention of tradition. Throughout the Greek world, Lycurgus and his legislation were the object of deep historical, political and ethical-philosophical interest, usually admired or idealised, but occasionally viewed more critically.

Scholarly views concerning ancient evidence relating to Lycurgus vary.

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

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

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

James R. Townshend

The only direct reference to the law is by Livy (40.44.1), when he briefly summarizes the legislative and electoral activities for the year 180bce. Livy reports that in that year (eo anno) a bill was proposed by the tribunus plebis L. Villius (Annalis) which established the ages at which one could seek and hold each magistracy: quot annos nati quemque magistratum peterent caperentque.1 That the bill was carried can be inferred from Livy’s further note that as a result (inde) the Villius family received the cognomen Annalis. Little more is known of Villius, though he was praetorperegrinus in 171bce (Livy 42.28.5 and 31.9).Livy does not state what motivated Villius’s proposal. Cicero asserts that those who used leges annales to set a minimum age for the consulship were afraid of the rashness of young men (adulescentiae temeritatem uerebantur, Cic. Phil. 5.47). Many have taken this at face value and attributed the same motive to Villius. There is good reason, however, for seeing the law as one of a number of measures at the beginning of the 2nd centurybce designed to constrain electoral competition.

Article

Jacob Giltaij

The lex Papia Poppaea was enacted in 9 ce by the suffect consuls, M. Papius Mutilus and Q. Poppaeus Secundus, probably on the initiative of the Emperor Augustus. The law complemented, supplemented, and enhanced the provisions of the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus (the law of Augustus concerning the regulation of marriage, enacted in 18 bce). The two laws, referred to jointly as the lex Iulia et Papia, had the primary effect of obliging all Roman citizens to marry and have (legitimate) heirs.There are several pre-Justinian sources in which the lex Papia Poppaea is treated separately from the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus. For example, in Gaius, Institutes 2.286a, the lex Papia Poppaea is said to have determined that those who did not have children (orbi) would lose half of their estates and legacies upon death. Moreover, Gaius indicated that the lex increased the rights of patrons in the case of the death of their freedmen, providing them with an equal share irrespective of whether the freedmen had left a will (.

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

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.