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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Law and Life of Rome (ANHI10058)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course offers an introduction to the study of the
relationship between law and life in Roman society.
Whilst the legal debates and decisions of ancient (esp.
imperial) Rome have produced the single largest body
of textual evidence from Roman antiquity ('Roman
law'), students of ancient history are only rarely
exposed to this rich source material, made up primarily
of compilations and handbooks produced in the mid to
late Roman Empire (e.g. the Digest, Justinian's
Institutes, Gaius' Institutes, etc.). Next to the study of
topics that are crucial for our understanding of Roman
society (e.g. aspects of slavery, gender relations), the
course aims in particular to investigate the
interrelationship between law and life, and with this the
question as to how the legal evidence available for
study today may be used to understand better ancient
Roman society.
The course is taught in tandem with LAWS10067 and
deliberately seeks to enhance student peer learning by
bringing together two quite different study
constituencies - one from Classics and one from Law.
In both content and form, the course is a direct
reflection of the research and teaching interests of the
course organisers, Dr Paul du Plessis (Law;
LAWS10067) and Dr Ulrike Roth (Classics; ANHI10058).
Course description W1: Introduction: The development of Roman legal writing
W2: Men, women, and the law
W3: Slave and free in Roman law
W4: The family in Roman law
W5: Private property and legal protection
W6: Revision and formative coursework writing week
W7: Orators and jurists
W8: Insult, libel and Roman virtues
W9: 'Thou shall love thy neighbour'
W10: The strange case of the rainwater pipe in Roman law
W11: Conclusion: From legal texts to law and/or ancient history?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A Pass in Ancient History 2A (ANHI08014) AND Ancient History 2B (ANHI08013) are usually required; or at the Course Organiser's discretion.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting Students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. By the end of the course, students who complete the course successfully will have demonstrated
    in written coursework as well as class room discussion knowledge and understanding of:
    i. a sizeable amount of the Roman legal evidence
    ii. a variety of Roman legal sources
    iii. the different types of questions asked by historians of this type of evidence
    iv. the different types of questions asked by lawyers of this type of evidence
    v. the different problems that this body of evidence poses for the historian compared with the
    problems posed by other source bodies
    vi. the location (or locations) of the Roman legal sources in the Roman 'evidential' landscape
    vii. a variety of topics covered by the legal sources (as well as an understanding of what types of
    topics are not covered by these sources)
    iix. the differences between the approaches of ancient historians to this body of evidence and
    those of legal scholars and lawyers
    ix. the relatedness of the study of ancient law with the study of other aspects of the ancient
    (Roman) world
    x. the importance of wide-reaching reading, as well as independent and original thought to come
    to terms with the relationship of law and life at Rome
    In similar fashion, they will demonstrate skill and expertise in:
    xi. dealing independently with a wide-ranging body of information pertaining to the study of Roman
  2. In similar fashion, they will demonstrate skill and expertise in:
    xi. dealing independently with a wide-ranging body of information pertaining to the study of Roman law, digest, structure and comment on this information;
    xii. 'thinking on their feet' about the relationship between law and life at Rome, i.e. to make fast and
    spontaneous connections between different aspects covered in the source material, often not
    studied in one and the same class;
    xiii. 'intellectual problem solving' within the given field of study, i.e. the production of answers to
    questions that demand independent soliciting and 'discovery' of source materials and secondary
    reading pertaining to the study of the weekly study themes and Roman law in general;
    xiv. maintaining complex information about Roman law over a sustained period of time and to
    access this information as and when necessary;
    xv. accessing, understanding, and employing the standard conventions in the field, from
    publisher's conventions (e.g. bibliographical styles, referencing systems, text displays, etc.) to
    scholarly conventions in the study of Roman legal evidence and related source materials (e.g.
    epigraphic abbreviations, legal and literary referencing, etc.)
Reading List
Alexander: The Case for the Prosecution in the Ciceronian Era (2002)
Birks: New light on the Roman legal system: the appointment of judges 1988 Cambridge LJ 36-60
Birks: A new argument for a narrow view of litem suam facere 1984 TvR 373-387.
Brennan: The Praetorship in the Roman Republic (2000)
Buckland: The Roman Law of Slavery (1908)
Cairns and Du Plessis: Beyond Dogmatics. Law and Society in the Roman World (2007)
Cifferi: Cicero¿s conception of iurisprudentia 1991 RIDA 103-119
Crook: Legal Advocacy in the Roman World (1995)
Daube: The peregrine praetor 1951 JRS 66-70
Du Plessis: Borkowski's Textbook on Roman Law (2010)
Du Plessis: The slave in the window, in Roth (ed.) By the Sweat of Your Brow. Roman Slavery in
its Socio-Economic Setting (2010) 49-60
Du Plessis: The creation of legal principle 2008 RLT 46-69
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills In addition to the ILOs described above, students will also demonstrate a number of transferable
skills, such as
¿ reading skills of a high volume (i.e. the digestion of large quantities of textual material)
¿ general analytical skills
¿ written and verbal communication skills
¿ oral presentation and discussion skills
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled, contact must be made with a Course Secretary on 50 3580 in order for approval to be obtained.
Course organiserDr Ulrike Roth
Tel: (0131 6)50 3586
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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