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The Law of Rome





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As a legal system, Roman law has affected the development of law in most of Western civilization as well as in parts of the East.

The term Roman law today often refers to more than the laws of Roman society. In a large part of Germany, until the adoption of a common code for the whole empire in 1900, the Roman law was in force as “subsidiary law”; that is, it was applied unless excluded by contrary local provisions. Its basis was indeed the Corpus Juris Civilis – the codifying legislation of the emperor Justinian I – this legislation had been interpreted, developed, and adapted to later conditions by generations of jurists from the 11th century onward and had received additions from non-Roman sources. Roman law was first truly realized with an attempt at codification.

Roman law concerned itself with matters of succession (who was to inherit what), obligations (including contracts, such as loans, entered into by individuals), property and possessions, and persons (which included family, slaves, and citizenship). In the early period, near-absolute power (patria potestas) was retained by the paterfamilias, the landowner and head of the household. It was he who legally owned all the property (including slaves), even what property would normally be thought of as belonging to his wife or children. A daughter remained under her father's power until she might decide (or have it decided for her) to marry; thereafter she would be put under her husband's power. In time, many of the harsher aspects of this system were mitigated, but much remained until the very end.

Valid, to influence, to use, try, lawyers, to undertake to bind, questions, to stay, by law, unpleasantly rough, after that time

 

Task 9. Match the words on the left with their definitions on the right.

1. promulgated a) a native registered or naturalized member of a state, nation, or other political community.
2. landowner b) a former title of the pagan high priest at Rome, later used of popes and occasionally of other bishops, and now confined exclusively to the pope
3. pontiff c) a person who owns land, esp. a large amount of land
4. patrician d) a monarch who rules or reigns over an empire
5. emperor e) a member of the hereditary aristocracy of ancient Rome. In the early republic the patricians held almost all the higher offices.
6. slave f) a person versed in the science of law, esp. Roman or civil law; a writer on legal subjects
7. jurist g) a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them
8. citizen h) put into effect (a law, decree, etc.), esp by formal proclamation
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