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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 7

The fearfully absolute paternal power was restricted by the enactment, that a son thrice sold by his father should not relapse into his power, but should thenceforth be free; to which--by a legal inference that, strictly viewed, was no doubt absurd--was soon attached the possibility that a father might voluntarily divest himself of dominion over his son by emancipation.

In the law of marriage civil marriage was permitted;(7) and although the full marital power was associated as necessarily with a true civil as with a true religious marriage, yet the permission of a connection instead of marriage,(8) formed without that power, constituted a first step towards relaxation of the full power of the husband.

7. Cf. I. VI. Class of --Metoeci-- Subsisting by the Side of the Community

8. Cf. I. V. The Housefather and His Household, note

The first step towards a legal enforcement of married life was the tax on old bachelors (-aes uxorium-) with the introduction of which Camillus began his public career as censor in 351.

Administration of Justice-- Code of Common Law-- New Judicial Functionaries

Changes more comprehensive than those effected in the law itself were introduced into--what was more important in a political point of view, and more easily admitted of alteration--the system of judicial administration. First of all came the important limitation of the supreme judicial power by the embodiment of the common law in a written code, and the obligation of the magistrate thenceforth to decide no longer according to varying usage, but according to the written letter, in civil as well as in criminal procedure (303, 304).

The appointment of a supreme magistrate in Rome exclusively for the administration of justice in 387,(9) and the establishment of separate police functionaries which took place contemporaneously in Rome, and was imitated under Roman influence in all the Latin communities,(10) secured greater speed and precision of justice.

9. Cf. II. III. Praetorship

10. Cf. II. III. Praetorship, II. V. Revision of the Municipal Constitutions, Police Judges

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