Author: Imperator Iustinianus I. (Imperium Byzantinum)
Publisher: Penguin UK
The Civil Law of Rome in its developed form -- in its clarity, simplicity and orderliness -- is undoubtedly one of the supreme achievements of the human mind and spirit. Brought to its finest flowering by the Emperor Justinian, it has had a continuing and pervading influence on subsequent civilizations. Soon after becoming emperor, Justinian put in train the codification of the law, which had evolved over thirteen centuries. In 533 the Commission, headed by 'the eminent Tribonian', published "The digest", their most celebrated and substantial work. The selections contained in this volume constitute the Roman law of delicts. Most of the cases discussed arise from everyday events and provide a fascinating picture of the ordinary life of the Roman world: from town to country and from cool villa to densely packed tenement. [Back cover].
Provides a comprehensive description of the system of Roman law, discussing slavery, property, contracts, delicts and succession. Also examines the ways in which Roman law influenced later legal systems such as the structure of European legal systems, tort law in the French civil code, differences between contract law in France and Germany, parameters of judicial reasoning, feudal law, and the interests of governments in making and communicating law.
This book is not about the rules or concepts of Roman law, says Alan Watson, but about the values and approaches, explicit and implicit, of those who made the law. The scope of Watson's concerns encompasses the period from the Twelve Tables, around 451 B.C., to the end of the so-called classical period, around A.D. 235. As he discusses the issues and problems that faced the Roman legal intelligentsia, Watson also holds up Roman law as a clear, although admittedly extreme, example of law's enormous impact on society in light of society's limited input into law. Roman private law has been the most admired and imitated system of private law in the world, but it evolved, Watson argues, as a hobby of gentlemen, albeit a hobby that carried social status. The jurists, the private individuals most responsible for legal development, were first and foremost politicians and (in the Empire) bureaucrats; their engagement with the law was primarily to win the esteem of their peers. The exclusively patrician College of Pontiffs was given a monopoly on interpretation of private law in the mid fifth century B.C. Though the College would lose its exclusivity and monopoly, interpretation of law remained one mark of a Roman gentleman. But only interpretation of the law, not conceptualization or systematization or reform, gave prestige, says Watson. Further, the jurists limited themselves to particular modes of reasoning: no arguments to a ruling could be based on morality, justice, economic welfare, or what was approved elsewhere. No praetor (one of the elected officials who controlled the courts) is famous for introducing reforms, Watson points out, and, in contrast with a nonjurist like Cicero, no jurist theorized about the nature of law. A strong characteristic of Roman law is its relative autonomy, and isolation from the rest of life. Paradoxically, this very autonomy was a key factor in the Reception of Roman Law--the assimilation of the learned Roman law as taught at the universities into the law of the individual territories of Western Europe.
Excerpt from Justinian's Digest, Vol. 20: With an English Translation and an Essay on the Law of Mortgage in the Roman Law In regard to any translation of the Digest, there is room for reasonable doubt whether students derive any benefit at all from such. A translation encourages the student to neglect the original, and thus he acquires a curious kind of artificial knowledge which cannot be called Roman law, and is merely of conventional value. It may be said, however, that something is gained and something lost by the use of a translation. The gain is the saving of time and trouble for those whose know ledge Oi the original language is imperfect; the loss is that of the tone and spirit of the original. Moreover in translating any portion of the Digest, the special difficulty of translating technical expressions arises. There are at least three modes of encountering such a difficulty: Firstly, the expression may be left untranslated and simply given in the original. Mr. C. H. Monro, in his admirable translation of the Digest, Books 1 - 6, considers that, if one universal method is to be followed throughout, this is the best. Secondly, the Latin expression may be translated by means of the nearest corresponding institution in English law. This plan, on the same supposition, Mr. Monro considers the worst; and thinks that the translation of the term Heres by Heir is a fertile source Of error. Dr. H. J. Roby admits that sometimes the nature of the argument makes it necessary to retain the original expression, and that for some expressions it is not easy to find a tolerably correct English equivalent. But, except in these two cases, Dr. Roby takes an opposite view to Mr. Monro, and sees no ground for pedantic retentions which make the subject difficult for a student to comprehend and are repulsive in point of style. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
This book collects Honoré's groundbreaking work on the composition of Justinian's Digest, among the most important texts in Roman Law. It reconstructs the methodology of the Digest's composition, and examines the broader issues raised by the Digest's creation - how it was conceived by its compilers, its purpose, and its impact.
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