The Ancient Library

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On this page: Jurisprudence



spread over the whole empire, he finally became the representative of the pagan world in general. He was often identified with the native gods of the provinces, including the sun-god of Heliopolis and D6llche in Syria, who, from the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., was worshipped far and wide under the name of luppiter HeliopolitGnus and Dolichilnus. Antoninus built for the former the magnificent temple of Heliopolis, or Baalbec. He was simi­larly identified with various Celtic and German gods, especially those who were worshipped on Alpine mountain-tops as protectors of travellers. As an example of the latter we have luppiter Optimus Maxi-mus Pcenlnus, whose seat was on the Great St. Bernard.

Jurisprudence. The science of law is the one branch of Roman literature which had a purely national development. From an early date there were definite legal ordi­nances in Rome, and shortly after the expulsion of the kings a collection of leges regies was made by a certain Gaius Papirius. These consisted of archaic cus­tomary laws of a strongly sacerdotal char­acter, and arbitrarily attributed to individual kings (known as the Ids Pdplrlanum). However, the foundation of the collective legal life of the Romans was primarily the well known law of the Twelve Tables, b.c. 451-450. (See twelve tables.) This put an end to the want of a generally known law; for the knowledge of previous legal decisions, like the whole of the judicial procedure, had been hitherto kept in the exclusive possession of the patricians. The administration of the law remained as formerly in the hands of the patricians alone, for they kept from the plebeians all knowledge of the dies fasti and nlfasti, i.e. the days on which legal proceedings might or might not be taken, as also the forms of pleading which were regularly employed (legla acttSnes). The latter were so highly important that the least infraction of them would involve the loss of the cause. This condition of things existed for a long time, until Appius Claudius ccecms drew up a calendar of the days on which causes could be pleaded, and a list of the forms of pleading. These were made public about 304 b.c. by his secretary, Gnseus Flavius, after whom they were then called lus Flavi&num. By these means a knowledge of the law became generally attainable. It soon had eminent repre­sentatives among the plebeians in the

persons of Publius Sempronius STiphns and Tiberius Coruncanlus. In ancient days, however, the work of the jurists was purely practical. It was considered an honourable thing for men learned in the law to allow people to consult them (consMere, hence iuris, or iure consulti) either in the Forum or at appointed hours in their own houses, and to give them legal advice (respontia). It was mainly by a kind of oral tradition that the knowledge of law was handed down, as the most eminent jurists allowed younger men to be present at these consultations as listeners (audltores or discipilli). The beginning of literary activity in this depart­ment, as in others, dates from the second Punic War. It begins with the earliest exposition of existing law. Sextus ^Elius Cdtus published in 204 b.c. a work named TripertUa (from its being divided into three parts) or lus jElianum, which consisted of the text of the laws of the Twelve Tables together with interpretations, and the legal formulcp- for carrying on suits. From the middle of the 2nd century it became common to make collections of the responsa of eminent jurists, and to use them as a source of legal information. Among others, Marcus Porcius Cato, the son of Cato the Elder, made a collection of this kind. In some families knowledge of the law was in a measure hereditary, as in those of the jElii, Porcii, Sulpicii, and Mucii. A member of the last family, the pontifex Quintus Muc.ius Sc.cevBla (died b.c. 82), was the first who, with the aid of the formal precision of the Stoic philosophy, gave a scientific and systematic account of all existing law, in his work, De lure Civlli. Servius Sulpicius Bufus, the contemporary and friend of Cicero, further advanced this new and more methodical treatment of law by his numerous writings and by training up pupils, such as Aulus Ofilius and Publius Alfenus Varus. The former rendered great assistance to Csesar in his scheme for forming the whole of the lus Civile into a single code. Besides these there were several eminent jurists at the close of the Republic: Gaius Trebatius Testa, Quintus jElius Tubero, Gaius jElius Gallus, and Aulus Cascellius.

While under the Republic the learned jurist had held an inferior position to the orator in influence and importance, there is no doubt that under the Empire public eloquence became subordinate, and the position of the jurists was the most coveted and influential in the State, especially when

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