[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]
The book is dedicated to a young researcher, Barbara Bonfiglio, whose untimely death deeply affected her friends and colleagues. Her character and scholarly career are evoked in the opening pages (pp. vii-xi) by Eva Cantarella, editor of the volume. The aim is to pay tribute to the memory of Bonfiglio with non-academic essays that mainly focus on Roman as well as Greek law. Ancient laws are treated from many points of view: civil law, criminal law, history of historiography, comparative perspectives and also “reception” of Roman law tradition, with interesting digressions on art and philosophy. Some essays are particularly useful to specialists in their respective fields (Burdese, Banfi, Gagliardi).
The first essay, by M. Balestri Fumagalli, Rosmini e la legge delle XII tavole (pp. 1-11), considers the different opinions on the Laws of the Twelve Tables as expounded by the nineteenth-century philosopher and priest Rosmini in his works. If Rosmini is unappreciative of the lay — and therefore, in his view, corruptive — forms of marriage introduced by the Twelve Tables, he understands their general importance as far as certainty, stability and organic unity of law are concerned.
A. Banfi, Una perduta costituzione di Valentiniano I in tema di foro ecclesiastico (pp. 13-41), deals with the recognition of ecclesiastic jurisdiction inside the state when Christianity became the official religion. The author examines the so-called privilegium fori, that is, the exclusive jurisdiction of the Church on religious orders and clergymen. The author, by reconstructing a measure ascribable to Valentinian I (relating to the schism of Damasus and Ursinus and to the criminal trial against Damasus), verifies that the allotment of jurisdictional competence between ecclesiastic and state courts was not decided under this emperor, although a basis was set for the further relations among the two authorities.
U. Bartocci, Un’annotazione giuridica sull’alter exitus Andriae (pp. 43-58), focuses on the alternative version of the final verses of Terence’s Andria, in which the verb “spondere” is used for the promise of a dowry. According to the author this is the evidence of a more ancient meaning for spondeo: a simple utterance that does not require an answer.
The dispute on the servitus oneris ferendi — the easement in which the lower field sustains the weight of the higher by means of a wall or a column — between the jurists Aquilius Gallus and Servius Sulpicius (see Digest 22.214.171.124) is examined by Alberto Burdese, (Sulla refectio parietis nell’actio de servitute oneris ferendi, pp. 59-76). Is this easement an exception to the general principle servitus in faciendo consistere nequit? Burdese, evaluating and comparing the works on the subject by two young scholars, Monica De Simone and Raffaele Basile, answers affirmatively, taking his own position on the extremely technical legal implications of this assumption.
For A. Calore, La ‘pena’ e la ‘storia’ (pp. 79-99), the repression of murder in Rome’s archaic age, specifically from the origins to the fifth century BC, must be seen as a privileged point from which to reconsider the various definitions of punishment: vengeance/ retribution/purification/expiation/preventive treatment. In his view, the Roman regulation of the homicide penalty features a multiplicity of aims (retribution, isolation of the criminal, symbolic significances) functional in the birth of the civitas, which clearly show the impossibility of using a single definition when trying to understand the nature of punishment.
E. Cantarella, Diritto romano e diritti orientali. Da Black Athena a Black Gaius: recenti ipotesi sulle origini e le caratteristiche del diritto romano (pp. 103-117), after offering a synthesis of the historiographical debate caused by the publication of M. Bernal’s Black Athena, examines the hypothesis of the multi-cultural origins of Western legal tradition expressed in a recent study by P. Monateri, allusively titled Black Gaius. Cantarella strongly criticizes Monateri’s reconstruction, raising a central problem of method, especially because M. denies any kind of originality in Roman law and perceives only the discontinuities in history, as if continuities had never existed.
What is the relation between a statistically exceptional event and the legal system? D. Dalla, Quod raro accidit (pp. 119-127), shows how the principle contained in the Digest of non-regulating exceptional events creates substantial problems for the legislator. The excerpts regarding the regula iuris are analysed to unveil the different and, according to the author, preferable approach to the problem of classical jurists. The latter, thanks to the interpretatio, were able to extend the law analogically to everything and hence to rare events.
M. De Bernardi, Sul significato dell’espressione “nec rem arbitrabitur iudex mihi restitui” in D.126.96.36.199 (pp. 129-135), tries to give a satisfactory explanation of Paulus’ excerpt, particularly in relation to the thought of Mauricianus. Afterreviewing many interpretations of historiography and the principal lexicons. and bringing as evidence the use of the verb “arbitrabitur”, he offers the hypothesis that the classical formula of rei vindicatio, like that of the discretionary actions, contained the mention of the arbitrium iudicis.
N. Donadio, Sulla comparazione tra desertor e fugitivus, tra emansor ed erro in D. 188.8.131.52 (pp. 137-177), parallels the distinction between erro (vagrant) and fugitivus (fugitive) in Roman slavery with the distinction between emansor and desertor in the military lexicon. According to the author, the classification elaborated by the prudentes for slaves offered precious instruments to the jurists involved in graduating the crimina militis, the crimes committed by soldiers.
At the centre of the collection we find the only essay totally dedicated to Greek law by L. Gagliardi, La riserva ereditaria a favore dei figli in diritto attico (pp. 179-229). It is much debated in modern historiography whether Attic law provided forced succession to defend the inheritance claims of legitimate children against disposition acts of their father. While some scholars hypothesize a measure similar to the Roman law querela inofficiosi testamenti, others presume there was a fixed portion of the inheritance decided by the law. In a long and detailed discussion Gagliardi invalidates the existence of this fixed portion, and he rejects the assumption that such matters were decided case by case in court. In his opinion, the sources indicate that particular categories of goods necessarily had to be transmitted from fathers to legitimate sons.
P. Garbarino, Un’ipotesi di lettura di D. 47.10.23 (Paul. 4 ad ed.). Brevi note a proposito di in ius vocatio e presunta violazione di domicilio (pp. 231-240). Through a subtle exegetic commentary of D. 47.10.23, the author denies that the in ius vocatio (summons) made in the domus of the resister can be qualified as a crimen vis. He affirms that the actio iniuriarum disposed in the fragment of Ofilius-Paulus is an ordinary action and does not descend ex lege Cornelia.
An interesting picture of the legal and especially Romanistic formation of the Russian artist, Vasili Kandinsky, is given by L. Garofalo (pp. 241-256). It is also an occasion to highlight the formative function of Roman law.
R. Lambertini, Singulare maiestatis (pp. 256 -262), finds an explanation for the two cases in which Justinian in his Institutiones uses the singular instead of the royal we. In one case, he argues, the expression could bear the trace of a direct intervention of the emperor in the formation of the text.
The function of the punishment is examined by M.I. Nuñez Paz in Humanitas y limitaciones al ius occidendi (pp. 263-271). According to N./P., during the Principate the new ethical and philosophical values such as humanitas give relevance to the circumstances of crime, to a graduation of punishments, and to sentences increasingly inspired by clemency and moderation. But, with the coming of absolutism, the emperor increasingly conditions criminal law: starting from Constantine the application of the death penalty will be a means of strengthening State authority.
Comparative perspectives are expressed in the essay by L. Pepe, Furto e giustizia privata nelle XII Tavole e nel diritto attico: un’indagine comparativa (pp. 273-309). The author tries to interpret the XII Tables rule on robbery in the light of Solon’s regulation (referred to in an oration by Demosthenes). Both rules legitimate the homicide of the night thief, fur nocturnus. Examining the Roman law relative to the killing of the fur diurnus qui telo se defendit (the day-thief who defends himself with a weapon), Pepe concludes that Solon’s rule (dating back to Draco) is similar to the XII Tables one, but that the latter contains a further element, the “endoploratio”. He accepts and sustains the interpretation that the verb endoplorare does not mean “to call witnesses” (to ascertain legitimate defence), but rather “to cry out with lamentations” in order to apprehend the thief.
According to F. Pergami, La supplicatio nel sistema processuale della tarda antichità (pp. 314-332), the supplicatio during the Principate was a request of clemency made to the emperor. In late antiquity it evolved in an autonomous trial measure to rectify the sentences of the praefecti praetorio, against which Constantine had forbidden the appeal (CTh. 11.30.16). The hypothesis is raised that the supplicatio meant a re-examination of the case by the same praefectus pretorio who had delivered the judgment, to avoid aggravating the assignments of the imperial court. The institute would represent the extreme remedy for the individual to submit to further re-examination a question he considered unjust and irreparably prejudicial to his interests.
G. Polara, Autonomia ed indipendenza del giudice nell’evoluzione storica delle forme processuali: “iuravi mihi non liquere” (pp. 333-389), examines legal evidence in the phase in iudicio of the Roman civil trial, dwelling in particular on the relationship between the magistrate (praetor) and the judge in the light of a famous passage of Aulus Gellius (Noctes Atticae 14.2.1-26). In Polara’s view the shift from rhetorical evidence (aimed more at persuasion than demonstration of facts) to “rational” evidence (aimed at demonstration of a single case) takes place when, in the trial per formulas, the private judge is replaced by an imperial functionary. P.’s essay is enriched by lucid considerations on the function of the judge in the contemporary Italian legal system.
Some brief considerations on the liability for robbery in relation to the obligation of custodiam praestare by A. Valiño, El hurto de la cosa dada en comodato al filius in potestate: a propsito de D.184.108.40.206 (Ulp. 29 ad Sab.) (pp. 391-398), close the book.
Index of sources, pp. 399-418.
There are several misprints in the reproduction of ancient texts, but it would be unfair to end on a low note. In short, this is a very stimulating book that helps the reader rethink the interest that Roman law holds for contemporary society. In Italy Roman law is embedded in the Law Schools and is an important part of the formation of future jurists. The historical teaching of law is the means through which students are able to construct a critical concept of legal institutions and to understand why and how legal reasoning determines itself in a certain way at a certain time.
M. Balestri Fumagalli, Rosmini e la legge delle XII tavole (pp. 1-11).
A. Banfi, Una perduta costituzione di Valentiniano I in tema di foro ecclesiastico (pp. 13-41).
U. Bartocci, Un’annotazione giuridica sull’alter exitus Andriae (pp. 43-58).
Alberto Burdese, Sulla refectio parietis nell’actio de servitute oneris ferendi (pp. 59-76).
A. Calore, La ‘pena’ e la ‘storia’ (pp. 79-99).
E. Cantarella, Diritto romano e diritti orientali. Da Black Athena a Black Gaius: recenti ipotesi sulle origini e le caratteristiche del diritto romano (pp. 103-117).
Dalla, Quod raro accidit (pp. 119-127).
M. De Bernardi, Sul significato dell’espressione “nec rem arbitrabitur iudex mihi restitui” in D.220.127.116.11 (pp. 129-135).
N. Donadio, Sulla comparazione tra desertor e fugitivus, tra emansor ed erro in D. 18.104.22.168 (pp. 137-177).
L. Gagliardi, La riserva ereditaria a favore dei figli in diritto attico (pp. 179-229).
P. Garbarino, Un’ipotesi di lettura di D. 47.10.23 (Paul. 4 ad ed.) (pp. 231-240).
L. Garofalo, Kandinsky e il diritto romano (pp. 241-256).
R. Lambertini, Singulare maiestatis (pp. 256 -262).
M.I. Nuñez Paz, Humanitas y limitaciones al ius occidendi (pp. 263-271).
L. Pepe, Furto e giustizia privata nelle XII Tavole e nel diritto attico: un’indagine comparativa (pp. 273-309).
F. Pergami, La supplicatio nel sistema processuale della tarda antichità (pp. 314-332).
G. Polara, Autonomia ed indipendenza del giudice nell’evoluzione storica delle forme processuali: “iuravi mihi non liquere” (pp. 333-389).
A. Valiño, El hurto de la cosa dada en comodato al filius in potestate: a propsito de D.22.214.171.124 (Ulp. 29 ad Sab.) (pp. 391-398).