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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter surveys various typological divisions of Roman law that invoke terminology such as “criminal” and the like—based on explicit ancient categorisation; sets of procedural features; organization of juristic texts; and/or substantive features—and suggests that the implicit analogies to modern criminal law are not useful. The various Roman categories are less well defined than is usually imagined, and the various means of categorisation are often at cross-purposes. Even the most plausible composite Republican-era category is significantly narrower than the “criminal”, and at any rate the composition would be under-motivated. Imperial law develops a superficially more similar jurisdiction over time, but it is increasingly shaped by factors that have little to do with any particular conceptualization of the subject matter.

Keywords: crime, delict, penalties, legal evolution, popular actions

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