Roman Law is generally late; the only preserved stage (and that one only poorly preserved) which is directly interesting for the question of ancient law is the Twelve Tables. Of these, we here give a schematic translation. Later and better attested Roman law, and especially Roman legal practice, are the principal foundation of the Western legal tradition. They are of incalculable historical importance, but for other purposes than the present one. Short summaries with basic references are given on those pages. The large question for Roman law in general is really Roman statecraft in general: What proved necessary in order to run an increasingly large domain, on a constantly shifting economic base?
- The Twelve Tables (05c?)
Generalizations about the origin of law are most often made from within a tradition which is conceptually saturated with the style and presumptions of the Roman legal tradition. They are fables for a certain audience, and should be discounted accordingly, along with the rationalizing and propagandistic Chinese Shu documents, which are fables for a different audience. The best evidence for the dynamic of early laws, in any culture, is the study of early laws in all cultures.
- [To be supplied]
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