The Making of Roman Law

History 280/285A

Fall 2014
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
F 2-5P
CCN for 280A002is: 39855
CCN for 285A is: 39938
This seminar examines the “making” of Roman law in three distinct but interrelated senses: (i) as the institutional enactment and promulgation of new laws (statutory law); (ii) as the lived experience of Roman law in its social and cultural contexts (“law in action”); and (iii) as the official compilation of Roman laws in comprehensive and authoritative form (codification).  We will explore each of these topics in turn, focusing, respectively, on the middle and late Republic, the early and middle empire, and the late empire.  Emphasis throughout will be on public law, institutions, and collectivities.  This is not, then, a course on Roman private law (we will not have much to do with the jurists), but an investigation of law as a framework for structuring the relationship between state and society in the Roman world.  Central themes will include Republican political culture and the workings of the legislative assemblies; the language, dissemination, and archiving of statutes; the evolution of Roman public law in relation to imperial expansion; the impact of monarchy on the machinery of Roman law; the adjudication of disputes, especially in the provinces; the complex relationship between Roman law and local law; the politics of, and procedures behind, the late Roman compilation of laws, and the implications for the study of Roman laws as historical sources.
The seminar is intended for graduate students in ancient Greek and Roman History (and related disciplines, especially Classics), who will be expected to do some of the reading in Greek and Latin, and at least one modern foreign language (German, French, Italian).