This chapter explores the history of state formation in the Anatolian States, focusing on the Hittite state, which it explains arose in north-central Anatolia early in the Late Bronze Age while the Middle Bronze Age saw the rise of an Indo-European dynasty. It also considers the role of Pithana and his son and successor Anitta in establishing the first great Anatolian empire and the conquests made by the Hittites.
Steven J. Garfinkle
This chapter examines the history of the formation of city-states in the Fertile Crescent. It provides a working definition of city-state in both spatial and social terms, and describes the city-state, focusing on the historical periods of early Mesopotamia. The chapter also considers the ideology of the city-state, the administration of an integrated economy, the emergence of kingship and institutions of government, and the replacement of the city-state system with territorial kingdoms.
This chapter explores the importance of writing in the legal practices of the Greek poleis. After discussing writing materials and kinds of documents, illustrating the different functions documents on the same media could have and the problems in tracing ancient archives and reconstructing the role they played in the mechanisms of public administration, it concentrates on two case studies: written records concerning land transactions (in particular registers of sales) and the role of written documents in Athenian judicial procedures. It argues that the impact of written documents on the legal sphere and in establishing fair social relations within the polis was much more significant than is generally recognized.
The Athenian Reconciliation Agreement of 403 bce and its Legacy for Greek City-States in the Classical and Hellenistic Ages
This chapter surveys amnesty agreements throughout the Greek world in the Classical and Hellenistic ages and argues that in many the principle of political forgiveness was both important and necessary when reconciling communities in the aftermath of civil conflict. The most successful amnesties were those which made use of the law and prohibited the revisiting of old grievances which led to or stemmed from a period of internal strife. Where and when exceptions were made to this rule they normally had to be spelled out in the terms of a treaty. The methods by which individual cities put this principle into effect varied widely, but the most famous and enduring example, the Athenian amnesty of 403 BCE, illustrates that a community could only successfully reconcile if its citizens were willing to forgo vindictive instincts which otherwise would have destabilised it. Robust procedures were put in place to restrain vengeance and protect the rights of individuals.
This chapter examines the history of state formation in ancient Greece during the Bronze Age, providing an overview of the nature of the Minoan states and the extent of control exercised by Mycenaean states. It describes the key features of the states in the Mycenaean period, which include state structure and organization, palatial centers, military organization, economic organization and administration, and systems of communication and representation.
This chapter examines the history of state formation in Carthage, explaining that the history of the Carthaginian state is one with a changing constitution, with new institutions emerging and old institutions losing importance. It investigates why Carthage did not go the way of many other poleis like those in Greece. The chapter also argues that the end of Carthage is inextricably bound up with the question of Roman imperialism and that while its ruling aristocracy died with its city, there was no doubt that the Carthaginians had identified themselves with their city, its history, and its traditions.
This chapter concentrates on the issues in which the Roman jurisdiction of the Empire intervened in the relationships between parents and their (minor) children. It discusses the ownership and use of the property of the children, the consequences of legal incapacity of the children, guardianship, limits of patria potestas and filial and parental duties. Children were to be constantly under someone else’s authority. This meant not only restrictions in managing property, and in incapacity to represent oneself or others, but also some privileges. Moreover, while patria potestas was an important tool in organising family finances, in propagating Romanness and proper family relationships during the Roman Empire, it was not without limits. The powers of the fathers were balanced by the requirement of pietas between parents and the children.
Jonathan S. Perry
Focusing on a few key passages, derived principally from law codes and literary sources, this chapter sketches out the legal situation of collegia vis-à-vis “the state”. However, this material is weighed against the rich epigraphic evidence (i.e. inscribed documents) that suggests the widespread and, in practical effect, unrestricted nature of Roman associations. It suggests that the appearance of governmental interference and regulation, from the late Republic throughout the Principate, was itself merely a pretext, as the government continued to encourage the development and proliferation of collegia as a means of social and political control. It questions whether the senate and the emperors had an interest in actually regulating and licencing collegial assembly, and whether legal texts can be reconciled with the inscriptional material attesting extensive collegial organisation, particularly in Italy and the Empire’s western provinces.
P. J. Rhodes
This chapter discusses public law and the political institutions in the Greek poleis and other political units. The first part surveys modes of citizenship with a focus on political participation. The second provides an extensive account of deliberative bodies and procedures in the Greek poleis. The third section discusses officials, their appointment and duties, and their accountability.
The Roman law of contract has developed itself around the idea of obligation. At the beginning of its history, transactions were possibly differentiated only at an economical level, while from the juristic point of view only the obligatio mattered, so that the judicial remedies were general actions. This was probably a legacy of archaic law and society—which valued community more than the individual—some features of which were retained until the end of the Republic. However, changes in civil procedure caused the arising of a contractual system based on typicality, and this had the further consequence that the transactions not received into the system were considered atypical, their protection being provided by the reuse of the ancient general actions under new form. At the end of the Principate, changes in society and civil procedure reduced the importance of typicality, and some characteristic features of classical contract law were lost.
Chapter 7 considers Demosthenes’ use of court procedures and the role played by arbitration, first by describing the early stage of a dispute. In particular, it examines pre-litigation arbitration, more often known as ‘private arbitration’, and how it could occur at any stage in a dispute, even after formal charges had been filed. It then discusses the steps taken to initiate litigation when efforts to settle a dispute privately failed, such as choosing the kind of offence (for example, assault, theft, or impiety) and the procedure. The chapter goes on to explain private and public procedures, or dikê and graphê, respectively, and the distinction between them. Finally, it looks at the remaining steps in initiating litigation, namely: filing the charge, the preliminary hearing, public arbitration, the trial, presentation of evidence and witnesses, and the jury’s rendering of the verdict.
This article discusses the courts and the judicial system of Roman Palestine. It takes note of the judicial diversity that existed during the time, and considers the Roman provincial jurisdiction that acted as investigating magistrates, among others. The next section looks at the jurisdiction of Roman Palestine, where it introduces the Book of Acts, the literary representation of Roman justice. The article also refers to several sources that reflect the views of the governed about the purpose of Roman administration.
Matthew J. Perry
This chapter examines how law contributed to the definition and establishment of gender in the Roman world, and ways that gender shaped the law. Lawmakers and jurists established distinct legal statuses for men and women, and it was critical to elucidate precisely how individuals fit into this legal framework. Even when not deliberately defining gender to clarify law or legislating overtly gendered matters, legal sources reveal gendered thinking. In establishing the specific rules governing Roman society, lawmakers and jurists drew upon and reproduced prevalent and entrenched assumptions and beliefs about the nature of men and women and their place in the world. The final section of the chapter outlines the legal regulation of sexuality, critical to defining gender norms in the Roman world. The proper performance of sexual conduct was an important element of gender archetypes; those individuals who deviated from established standards were deemed problematic and potentially dangerous.
Richard A. Epstein
The Roman law system of property rights was developed incrementally, in reliance on natural law, without any reliance on economic analysis developed in the twentieth century. Nonetheless, its doctrinal organisation conforms well to the prescriptions of that modern theory. Thus the Roman law draws the right lines between common and separate property, developing efficient rules of acquisition for the former. It also develops coherent rules for the outright transfer and division of assets by way of bailment, usufruct, license, mortgage, trust and servitudes before the onset of modern recordation systems. The Romans also articulated rules for just compensation to deal accessio, confusio and specificatio. The durability of their system across both time and space is a lasting tribute to the intuitive ingenuity of the great Roman lawyers.
Joseph G. Manning
This chapter examines the history of, and the important factors that contributed to, state formation in ancient Egypt during the period from around 3500
This article treats the development of the Egyptian legal system from the Saite to the Roman period (664 BCE to about 150 CE). It addresses the much-disputed question of whether one can speak about a codification under Darius I and presents the known sources for the Egyptian legal corpus, fragments of which are preserved in demotic and Greek manuscripts, and for its accompanying didactic manual. The formation and activities of judges and notary scribes are described, characteristics of demotic legal documents, the different types that were in use, and their development over time are explained, and the best attested areas of Egyptian law—property transfer by sale, matrimonial property settlements and maintenance obligations, tenancy, credits and indebtedness, and heritage—are outlined through evidence from primary sources.
The political space and administrative apparatus of the Imperial government were legally stipulated and enclosed. Politics and administration had to follow the rules of the ius publicum. This was true for traditional magistrates and promagistrates as well as non-senatorial office holders, the praesidial and financial procurators of equestrian rank. The chapter surveys the potential means by which Augustus and his successors might settle problems of society or of general administration or address them for the future through new legal enactments. During the first century AD, lawmaking through one of the people’s assemblies became less frequent, while decisions of the senate became more prominent. In addition, other forms of Imperial decision, by passing legally constituted corporate bodies, achieved ever greater importance, including edicts, systematic rules and ad hoc letters to officials in the provinces, to cities or to individuals, and especially decreta, so-called constitutions, Imperial legal decisions to individuals.
This chapter deals with the role of legal epigraphy within the study of Roman law and Roman society. After an introductory definition of this discipline, in which some of its peculiarities are stressed, it follows a brief description of the different types of epigraphic legal documents, to finish then with a florilegium of this kind of documents. The aim of the work is to stress, through the analysis of a few sources (but not only through well-known sources), the essential contribution, that inscriptions offer us to gain a more complete and more nuanced view of the system of Roman law in all its complexity.
The Roman family was defined at law as a unit controlled by the all-powerful pater familias, its membership determined by relationship through the male line (agnatio). Both formal law and family relations altered between the fifth-century-BC XII Tables and the sixth-century-AD legal compilations ordered by the Eastern Emperor Justinian. In particular, Christianity and married women’s developing capacity to acquire and transmit property drove significant changes in power relations within the family. Scholarly perspectives on Roman law and the Roman family have also changed to take into account the religious and ethnic diversity of the Roman Empire and the social realities behind the rigid legal categories of the law. This chapter surveys these strands of scholarship.
Common interests in Roman law have brought Romanists and historians to a close and invaluable dialogue. Whether it is understanding law in a social context or society in light of law, historians without legal training tend to have different expectations about the role played by the law in society than lawyers, and not without controversy. This chapter explores lawyers’ and historians’ approaches to Roman law, and their underlying law and society assumptions, against the background of legal science and sociology of law traditions. It suggests that contemporary socio-legal scholarship, in dialogue with legal science, provides a sound theoretical and methodological framework for the study of law and society in Roman world.