Examples on the Development of Roman Law

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 5/19/2013

"At the beginning of our city, the people began their first activities without any fixed law, and without any fixed rights: all things were ruled despotically, by kings"

The Roman Twelve Tables of Law

A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.

If one shall permit himself to be summoned as a witness, if he does not give his testimony, let him be noted as dishonest and incapable of acting again as witness.A person who had been found guilty of giving false witness shall be hurled down from the Tarpeian Rock.

If the theft has been done by night, if the owner kills the thief, the thief shall be held to be lawfully killed.It is unlawful for a thief to be killed by day....unless he defends himself with a weapon; even though he has come with a weapon, unless he shall use the weapon and fight back, you shall not kill him. And even if he resists, first call out so that someone may hear and come up.

Whatever the people had last ordained should be held as binding by law.

Lex Aelia Sentia (4 AD) - Freed slaves who had committed certain offenses could quickly have their liberty taken away.
Lex Fufia Caninia (2 BC) - consular law imposed by Augustus, limited the number of slaves that an owner could free in his will.
Lex Aelia Sentia (AD 4) –  has made limitations on manumissions of slaves
Lex Fufia Caninia (2 BC) – limitation of manumission

The Roman Twelve Tables of Law: Marriages should not take place between plebeians and patricians.
Lex Canuleia (445 BC; which allowed the marriage between patricians and plebeians)
Lex Ogulnia (300 BC; plebeians received access to priest posts)

Lex Iulia de Maritandis Ordinibus (18 BC) - young widows that won't marry were debarred from receiving inheritances and from attending public games. Similar penalties on the married but childless, and Senators couldn't marry freedwomen.
Lex Voconia (169 BC) – disallowed women from being the main heir to a dead man's estate, including cases were there were no male relatives alive
Lex Oppia (215 BC) – it restricted not only a woman’s wealth, but also her display of wealth, it forbade any woman to possess more than half an ounce of gold, to wear a multi-colored garment, or to ride in an animal-drawn vehicle in the city or any town or within a mile.

Leges Genuciae (342 BC) - by plebeian consul L. Genucius, prohibited loans which carry interest

Lex Iulia de Adulteriis Coercendis (18 BC) - made conjugal unfaithfulness a public as well as a private offense with banishment a possible penalty.

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