Beyond Dogmatics: Law and Society in the Roman World by John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis

By John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis

This e-book is a vital contribution to the present vigorous debate concerning the courting among legislation and society within the Roman international. This debate, which was once initiated through the paintings of John criminal within the 1960's, has had a profound effect upon the research of legislations and background and has created sharply divided critiques at the volume to which legislations should be acknowledged to be a made of the society that created it. This paintings is a modest try and offer a balanced overview of a number of the issues of view. The chapters inside of this publication were particularly prepared to symbolize the controversy. It includes an introductory bankruptcy via Alan Watson, whose perspectives at the courting among legislation and society have brought on a few controversy. within the ultimate chapters a extraordinary overseas team of students tackle this debate by way of targeting reviews of legislation and empire, codes and codification, dying and economics, trade and method. This ebook doesn't purport to supply a whole survey of Roman deepest legislations in mild of Roman society. Its basic target is to deal with particular components of the legislation in order to contributing to the bigger debate.

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71 See already, A Watson, “Artificiality, reality and roman contract law” (1989) 57 TvR 147. indd 31 2/4/07 13:37:14 32 debates and contexts The price must be in money. There is a considerable dispute whether the price of something can consist in other things, a slave, a toga or a piece of land. Our teachers think that it can. That is their inference from the common belief that an exchange of things is a sale, actually the oldest type. They appeal for support to Homer, who at one place says: “Then the long haired Achaeans bought wine, some with bronze and others with shining steel, some with hides and some with live oxen, other with slaves” and so on.

Of course they were; almost all were socially prominent and some were top imperial bureaucrats. But they had a style of interpretation that was inward-looking and not too geared to social engineering. Michael Peachin writes: “Clearly there were also times when this or that jurist produced a legal argument simply for the sake of its own elegantia. ”50 This is topsy-turvy. Elegantia was sometimes the concern of this or that jurist. But never, so far as I am aware, does a jurist argue for a decision on the ground that it is useful.

In Roman law, an heir under a will who was neither a slave of the deceased nor a free person in the deceased’s power who became sui iuris on his death became owner of the inheritance only when he made a formal acceptance. If he refused to accept the inheritance, the will was voided and the inheritance descended according to the rules of intestate succession. If there was intestacy or a will and the nearest heir was a direct descendant of the deceased who became sui iuris, such as a son, he became heir at the moment of death (unless he abstained from the estate).

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