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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses justice and equality in Late Antiquity. It identifies two factors particular to the later Roman Empire. First, the practice of unequal justice was an old and celebrated tradition. Second, the makers of secular law eventually became forceful proponents of Christianity, to whose doctrine the promise of both justice and equality was central. Both Symmachus and Leo, prefect and pope—one representative of the old elite, the other of a new religious order—grappled with the conflict between the theory and practice of justice. Both were willing to bend the rule of the law to serve the cause of justice but neither believed that this was an ideal or sustainable solution.

Keywords: equality, justice, philosophy, Roman law, unequal justice, Symmachus, Leo

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