Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 February 2021

lex (Rubria) de Gallia Cisalpinafree

  • Georgy Kantor

The lex de Gallia Cisalpina is the usual modern title given to the fragment of a Roman statute on a bronze tablet found at the ancient town of Veleia in 1760, the surviving part of which deals with provisions for and restrictions on local jurisdiction in Cisalpine Gaul (CIL XI 1146; I2 592; FIRA I 19; Roman Statutes, no. 28).1 An additional small fragment found at Veleia (CIL XI 1144; I2 601, included in the Roman Statutes edition) is usually associated with it, and it remains a matter of debate whether the so-called fragmentum Atestinum (CIL I2 600; Roman Statutes, no. 16) represents a copy of a different part of the same law.2 The main tablet from Veleia is numbered IV and contains chapters 19–23 of the law. The law of the Veleia tablet is usually, though not entirely securely, associated with the otherwise unattested tribunician lex Rubria, which is twice mentioned in the sample formulae for local trials included in it (col. I, lines 29 and 38); from these references, the lex Rubria must have included other regulations concerning the role of municipal magistrates. A tribune of this name is not attested elsewhere.

The law of the Veleia tablet clearly belongs in the context of the enfranchisement of Cisalpine Gaul by Iulius Caesar (Dio Cass. 41.36.3) and the later abolition of its provincial status and its incorporation in Italy under the Triumvirate (Appian, B Civ. 5.22; Dio Cass. 48.12.5). It does not include any references to the role of the provincial governor and mentions jurisdiction only by the peregrine praetor at Rome and by local authorities, and so it is likely to belong to the beginning of the period when Cisalpine Gaul was already a part of Italy, rather than to 49 or 48 bce, as had been argued in some of the earlier scholarly treatments.3 If we can associate the fragmentum Atestinum with the law of the Veleia tablet, the abolition of the province of Gallia Cisalpina may have been enacted by the tribunician lex Roscia mentioned in the former (Roman Statutes, no. 16, lines 12–14), but the problems with treating both as part of the same law are substantial.

The lex de Gallia Cisalpina is a significant source for the late Republican legal procedure in private law cases, the degree of municipal autonomy in private law jurisdiction, and the forms of municipal organisation in Cisalpine Gaul. The examples of the standard formulae for damnum infectum (potential damage to one’s property) in chapter 20, based on the edict of the peregrine praetor at Rome, are among our earliest extant evidence for the specific wording of formulae. The context envisaged is that of fully Roman communities, and so it does not bear directly on the problems of legal autonomy in Roman provinces.

The most significant provisions of the law concern the recognition of local jurisdiction in a range of cases and its systematic subordination to the praetor in Rome, whose involvement is required for some procedural tools, notably for the missio in bona (creditor’s enforced entry into possession of the property) of the insolvent debtor. The surviving clauses deal with the operis novi nuntiatio (applications to prevent new construction), damnum infectum, litigation for pecunia certa credita (debts for a specific sum) in Roman coinage to the limit of 15,000 sesterces, and other obligations where the whole sum at stake did not exceed the same upper limit. We have only the beginning of the clause dealing with the division of family property. It is notable that the limits are considerably higher than in the later Flavian municipal charters in Spain, and the range of legal remedies specifically discussed is broader; but it is also significant that local jurisdiction is seen as operating within a framework of regular interaction with the praetor and that available legal remedies for Cisalpine Gaul are set out prescriptively in a statute rather than in the praetorian edict or local regulations.


  • Bruna, Franciscus J. Lex Rubria: Caesars Regelung für die richterlichen Kompetenzen der Munizipalmagistrate in Gallia Cisalpina. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1972.
  • Crawford, Michael H. “Ateste and Rome.” Quaderni Ticinesi 19 (1989): 191–200.
  • Crawford, Michael H. (Ed.). Roman Statutes. London: Institute of Classical Studies, 1996.
  • Ferrary, Jean-Louis. “Le découverte des lois municipales (1755–1903). Une enquête historiographique.” In Gli Statuti Municipali Romane. Edited by Emilio Gabba and Luigi Capogrossi Colognesi. Pavia, Italy: IUSS Press, 2006.
  • Frederiksen, Martin W. “The Lex Rubria: Reconsiderations.” Journal of Roman Studies 54, nos. 1–2 (1964): 129–134.
  • Hardy, Ernest George. Six Roman Laws. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911.
  • Laffi, Umberto. “La Lex Rubria de Gallia Cisalpina.” Athenaeum 64 (1986): 5–44.
  • Laffi, Umberto. “Di nuovo sulla datazione del fragmentum Atestinum.” Athenaeum 68 (1990): 167–175.
  • Mainino, Gianluca. Studi sul caput XXI della lex Rubria de Gallia Cisalpina. Milan: Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto, 2012.
  • Rodger, Alan. “Jurisdictional Limits in the Lex Irnitana and the Lex de Gallia Cisalpina.” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 110 (1996): 189–206.
  • Wolf, Joseph Georg. “La lex Irnitana e le tavole di Veleia e Ateste.” In Gli Statuti Municipali Romane. Edited by Emilio Gabba and Luigi Capogrossi Colognesi. Pavia, Italy: IUSS Press, 2006.
  • Yavetz, Zwi. Julius Caesar and His Public Image. London: Thames and Hudson, 1983.


  • 1. For its discovery and the early history of its study, see Jean-Louis Ferrary, “Le découverte des lois municipales (1755–1903). Une enquête historiographique,” in Gli statuti municipali romane, ed. Emilio Gabba and Luigi Capogrossi Colognesi (Pavia, Italy: IUSS Press, 2006), 58–85 and 101–103 (for the fragmentum Atestinum).

  • 2. The arguments for identifying the two laws have been advanced most extensively by Umberto Laffi, “La lex Rubria de Gallia Cisalpina,” Athenaeum 64 (1986): 19–22; and Umberto Laffi, “Di nuovo sulla datazione del fragmentum Atestinum,” Athenaeum 68 (1990): 167–175. The opposite view is argued most effectively by Michael H. Crawford, “Ateste and Rome,” Quaderni Ticinesi 19 (1989), 191–200, and in Roman Statutes, vol. 1, 313–318. See also Franciscus J. Bruna, Lex Rubria: Caesars Regelung für die richterlichen Kompetenzen der Munizipalmagistrate in Gallia Cisalpina (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1972), 308–322.

  • 3. See above all Umberto Laffi, “La lex Rubria de Gallia Cisalpina,” Athenaeum 64 (1986), 10–19; for earlier views, compare Zwi Yavetz, Julius Caesar and His Public Image (London: Thames and Hudson, 1983), 66–70.