Law in Roman Philosophy
- 1.1k Downloads
Legal philosophy in late antiquity must be understood in relation to Roman law, a system which continued to evolve from the traditional founding of Rome (753 B.C.) until the fall of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire (A.D. 1453). Rome was at first ruled by kings about whom little is certain. A set of laws attributed to them (leges regiae) and compiled by Papirius a priest (pontifex) were probably statements of customary and religious norms, concerning marriage, family relations, funeral rites, and so forth (Johnson, Coleman-Norton, and Bourne 1961, 3–6). The Roman Republic (509–27 B.C.) was initially threatened by internecine conflict between the patrician and plebeian orders. This was resolved in part through the Twelve Tables (451–450 B.C.), a written public code composed by officials called decemviri, which could not be arbitrarily changed by patrician magistrates. This collection of statutes, which the Roman historian Livy called “the fount of all law, public and private” (Roman History 3.34.6, trans. Jones), was lost, although many quotations, paraphrases, and descriptions were preserved by later Roman authors (Johnson, Coleman- Norton, and Bourne 1961, 9–18; Warmington 1967; see also A. Watson 1975).