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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


II. From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER VIII - Law, Religion, Military System, Economic Condition, Nationality


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Page 6

Modifications in the Laws

Along with these changes a humanizing and modernizing tendency showed itself slowly, but yet clearly enough, in the development of Roman law. Most of the enactmerits of the Twelve Tables, which coincide with the laws of Solon and therefore may with reason be considered as in substance innovations, bear this character; such as the securing the right of free association and the autonomy of the societies that originated under it; the enactment that forbade the ploughing up of boundary-balks; and the mitigation of the punishment of theft, so that a thief not caught in the act might henceforth release himself from the plaintiff's suit by payment of double compensation. The law of debt was modified in a similar sense, but not till upwards of a century afterwards, by the Poetelian law.(6)

6. Cf. II. III. Laws Imposing Taxes

The right freely to dispose of property, which according to the earliest Roman law was accorded to the owner in his lifetime but in the case of death had hitherto been conditional on the consent of the community, was liberated from this restriction, inasmuch as the law of the Twelve Tables or its interpretation assigned to the private testament the same force as pertained to that confirmed in the curies. This was an important step towards the breaking up of the clanships, and towards the full carrying out of individual liberty in the disposal of property.

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