Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2000.11.02

Rainer and Bellen on Frier on Rainer.   Response to 2000.09.04



Response by J. Michael Rainer and Heinz Bellen

Bruce W. Frier's review of the CRRS consists of a series of mistakes and misinterpretations which are due to the fact that he pays no attention to the(stated) readership at whom the work is aimed -- indeed he repeatedly states that he does not know who it is -- and seems to be incapable of imagining the state of knowledge of Roman law of any readership outside the specialist area of juristic research. The Prolegomena give a clear indication of the intended readership by saying in the preface (ix): "This project should be of help to all those who have no special knowledge of Roman law but would want to include the legal basis of slavery in the Roman world in their studies." More detailed information is given in the concluding chapter ("Ausblick") on pages 60-62. In the light of this clearly stated goal, Frier's call for an apparatus criticus for every text as well as for the inclusion of the Basilica amounts to a form of hybris. Frier finds fault with almost every detail of the way the CRRS has been shaped, right down to the decision to publish the material in a series of relatively slim volumes (for reasons see Prolegomena viii), and in his final verdict he is nothing short of spiteful when he says that he would leave the two review copies on his shelf but would most certainly prefer to use the primary sources. Generally speaking, the review gives the impression that it would want to reduce the life expectancy of a carefully planned interdisciplinary project. We, as the editors of CRRS and the series of the "Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei" explicitly distance ourselves from any such verdict on behalf of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz/Germany. The coming volumes (Part IX has just been published) will demonstrate the liveliness of the project and decide upon its acceptance.

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