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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Roman law is documented in greater detail than that of any ancient Greek state, principally through an enormous corpus of legal writings. The four most important are the so-called Twelve Tables, the Institutes of Gaius, the Codex of Justinian, and Justinian’s Digest. Legal writings can shed important light on slavery in Roman life, especially when combined with the evidence of inscriptions; but much of their content is anecdotal, sometimes hypothetical. Frequency of mention of a given situation in juristic writings does not necessarily correspond to its frequency in litigation, let alone in everyday life. Moreover, little in Roman law is directly or exclusively concerned with slaves—there is, arguably, no Roman law of slavery.

Keywords: Codex of Justinian, Institutes of Gaius, Justinian’s Digest, Twelve Tables, Roman law, Roman slavery

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