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Du Plessis: Borkowski's Textbook on Roman Law 5e

Teacher notes

The following notes are not meant to be prescriptive. Rather, they are an attempt to augment the use of this textbook by pointing to other sources and materials that may be used in addition to the main text when teaching a course of Roman law (whether in a Law School or elsewhere).

There are, of course, many different ways to approach the teaching of Roman law. The more traditional (Law School) approach is to focus on legal doctrine and to use close analysis of legal texts contained in the compilation of Justinian to discuss patterns and developments in Roman juristic thought. This is what this book seeks to provide. It is, however, open also to other uses, e.g. the ?law and society? approach favoured by scholars in historical disciplines.

To ensure that this book is open to as wide an audience as possible, the following teacher notes have been drawn up to assist course teachers using this book to adapt it for the purposes best suited to their circumstances.

A note on examples from legal practice: although this book is largely concerned with doctrine, examples from legal practice may be employed to render the discussions of the jurists more concrete. For an example of how this may be done, see John Crook?s 1967 work. Since then, many more examples have come to light. Two points need to be borne in mind when using materials from legal practice. First, legal theory and legal practice often diverge and what is found in instruments of Roman commerce can often be in conflict with or in opposition to legal doctrine set out in the Justinianic compilation. It is also quite difficult to tell in certain cases whether the examples are ?real? or whether the parties are simulating a Roman transaction in order to achieve a certain result, but are in fact masking something else. In second place, provincial material, especially from those provinces such as Egypt where a sophisticated legal order predated the Roman occupation, can be problematic since there appears to be an interplay between Roman law proper and local law. This makes for interesting discussions, but may not be suitable to those looking for an uncomplicated example.

A few sites that may be useful in this regard are:

  1. The Roman law Library (by Y. Lassard and A. Koptev): http://droitromain.upmf-grenoble.fr The site is updated regularly and under the heading ?negotia I ? II? most of the examples from Roman legal practice contained in the original FIRA (1940 ? 43) may be found. It is important also to notice that there is now an addition to FIRA by Gianfranco Purpura that appeared in 2012. (Gianfranco Purpura, Revisione ed integrazione dei Fontes Iuris Romani Anteiustiniani (FIRA): studi preparatori (2012))
  2. The Epigraphic Database Clauss-Slaby (by A. Kolb) http://db.edcs.eu/epigr/epi_en.php A useful site, with the odd typo, but you have to know what you are looking for. More expansive and with greater secondary literature, the Heidelberg Epigraphic Database: http://edh-www.adw.uni-heidelberg.de/home
  3. For papyri, few sites are better than Trismegistos: http://www.trismegistos.org Since this is a specialist field, some background knowledge is advisable.

For those wishing to obtain an overview of the above-mentioned sources and how to deal with them (as well as of the main literature in the field), see now the chapters collected in Part II of the Oxford Handbook of Roman law and Society (Oxford University Press 2016), edited by Paul du Plessis, Clifford Ando and Kaius Tuori.

  • Chapter 1 (PDF, Size: 213KB)
    • Introduction: Rome - a historical sketch
  • Chapter 2 (PDF, Size: 315KB)
    • The sources of Roman law
  • Chapter 3 (PDF, Size: 315KB)
    • Roman litigation
  • Chapter 4 (PDF, Size: 218KB)
    • Status, slavery, and citizenship
  • Chapter 5 (PDF, Size: 219KB)
    • The Roman family
  • Chapter 6 (PDF, Size: 317KB)
    • Interests in property
  • Chapter 7 (PDF, Size: 313KB)
    • Acquiring ownership
  • Chapter 8 (PDF, Size: 317KB)
    • Inheritance
  • Chapter 9 (PDF, Size: 321KB)
    • Obligations: general principles and obligations arising from contracts
  • Chapter 10 (PDF, Size: 319KB)
    • Obligations arising from delict
  • Chapter 11 (PDF, Size: 413KB)
    • Roman law and the European ius commune