Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law

Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law

Book Details

  • Publication Date: 24-Sep-2014
  • Publisher: Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
  • ISBN-10: 1584771429
  • ISBN-13: 9781584771425
  • Format: Hardback and Soft
  • Pages: 484 pages
  • Collection: Middlebury Bicentennial Series in Environmental Studies 43

The Author

Adolf Berger


From the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series(volume 43, part 2 1953), reproduced by the JOURNAL OF PAPYROLOGY, SURVEY OF LITERATURE 1952-1953 (pages 365-367):

“This Dictionary has several purposes: to explain technical Roman legal terms, to translate and elucidate those Latin words which have a specific connotation when used in a juristic context or in connection with a legal institution or question, and to provide a brief picture of Roman legal institutions and sources as a sort of a first introduction to them.

The objectives of the work, not the juristic character of available Latin writings, therefore, determined the inclusion or exclusion of any single word or phrase. Since the Dictionary is not intended to be a complete Latin-English dictionary for all words which occur in the writings of the Roman jurists or in the various codifications of Roman law, the reader must consult a general Latin-English lexicon for ordinary words tha t have no specific meaning in law
of juristic language. In this respect as in others, the present work differs fundamentally from Heumann’s “Handlexikon zu den Quellen des römischen Rechts” (in the excellent edition by Emil Seckel, 1907).

On the other hand, numerous entries concern words and phrases which occur only in nonjuristic sources, literary writings or inscriptions, but which must, nevertheless, receive attention if the Dictionary is truly to survey all fields of the vast province of Roman law;
private, criminal, public, administrative, sacral, and military law, taxation, etc. Many entries, furthermore, deal with Latin terms of medieval or modern coinage, unknown to the ancient Romans, but now widely accepted in the Romanistic literature.

All the more important entries are encyclopedic as well as lexicographical. That is to say, an attempt has been made in each case to depict as succinctly as possible, the historical development of the legal institution or term it defines, the use of certain words in the
language of the jurists or the imperial chancery, and particular attention has been given to important substantial changes from early law to classical law and again in the reforms of Justinian. Considerable attention has been given to the sources themselves.

A large numbe r of entries are devoted to them, ranging in time from the archaic regal ordinances (the leges regiae) to Justinian’s codification, and, in more limited measure, to post-Justinian Byzantine and medieval writings and collections of laws. Basic definitions, legal rules of fundamental importance, and characteristic utterances of the jurists are given in literal translations within quotation marks, followed by a citation of the pertinent source.

Titles of the Institutes, Digest and Justinian’s Code or Novels that deal ex professo with a specific topic are noted at the end of the entry. Substantial interpolations by which classical institutions and terms were eliminated as well as the more reliable linguistic criteria have been taken into consideration.

The extensive bibliographical apparatus is divided into two distinct parts. The first part contains general bibliography in twenty chapters (…) (see contents below).

The second part is the specialized section, scattered throught the Dictionary among the individual entries. The Dictionary – monumenta l as it is — will be of highest use for the papyrologists, who will find there much information about problems concerning Roman provincial law.”


  • List of abbreviations
  • Dictionary
  • English-Latin glossary
  • General bibliography
  • Textbooks, manuals and general presentations of Roman Law. History of sources
  • Roman private law. A. Law of persons (family, marriage, guardianship, slavery corporations)
  • Law of things (ownership, possession, real securities)
  • Law of obligations
  • Law of succession
  • Civil procedure
  • Roman criminal law and procedure
  • Roman public law (constitution, administration, international relations)
  • Miscellany (economy, public finances, social conditions, labor, industry, numismatics)
  • Legislative activity and legal policy of the emperors
  • Problems connected with the development of Roman Law. Foreign influences
  • Christianity and Roman Law
  • Roman Law and modern legal systems (including Byzantine and medieval law)
  • Roman Law and the Anglo-American world
  • Roman Law and legal education (ancient legal history, methods of instruction, the so-called “crisis” of Roman law study)
  • Sources (editions, textual criticism, juristic language)
  • Interpolations in Justinian’s legislative work
  • Roman Law in non-juristic sources
  • Latin inscriptions
  • Papyri (general presentations of the law of Greco-Roman Egypt, comprehensive bibliographical surveys, introductory manuals)
  • Collections of source material for teaching purposes
  • Collective works
  • Studies in honor of scholars
  • Studies published on particular occasions (congresses, anniversaries)
  • Collected works of individual scholars
  • Encyclopedias, dictionaries, vocabularies
  • Bibliographies


See Also

  • Cambridge Companion to Roman Law
  • Roman Law
  • Roman Schools of Law
  • Roman Oratory
  • Anglo-Roman-Dutch Law
  • Roman Law Effects
  • Early Roman Censorship
  • Post-Medieval Roman Law
  • Medieval Roman Law