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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


IV. The Revolution

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 XIII - Literature and Art


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Page 58

The reaction of political relations on the development of law has been already indicated on several occasions; it was not always advantageous. By the institution of the tribunal of the -Centumviri- to deal with inheritance,(38) for instance, there was introduced in the law of property a college of jurymen, which, like the criminal authorities, instead of simply applying the law placed itself above it and with its so-called equity undermined the legal institutions; one consequence of which among others was the irrational principle, that any one, whom a relative had passed over in his testament, was at liberty to propose that the testament should be annulled by the court, and the court decided according to its discretion.

38. Cf. IV. X. Permanent and Special -Quaestiones-

The development of juristic literature admits of being more distinctly recognized. It had hitherto been restricted to collections of formularies and explanations of terms in the laws; at this period there was first formed a literature of opinions (-responsa-), which answers nearly to our modern collections of precedents. These opinions--which were delivered no longer merely by members of the pontifical college, but by every one who found persons to consult him, at home or in the open market-place, and with which were already associated rational and polemical illustrations and the standing controversies peculiar to jurisprudence--began to be noted down and to be promulgated in collections about the beginning of the seventh century.

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