Advanced roman law

A.Y. 2016/2017
Overall hours
Expected learning outcomes
The teaching aims to develop in the students:
- knowledge and understanding of the topics and institutions dealt with;
- indipendent critical evaluation of the historical issues examined;
- reading and interpreting skills of legal sources for the period considered;
- communication skills consisting in the use of an appropriate legal terminology;
- awareness of the general problems involved in a public system of criminal punishment, in order both to protect social peace and public order and to guarantee the fundamental rights of each person.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
First semester
It is necessary to have already passed the examination in Roman Private Law. No previous knowledge of Latin is required.

Contents of the Course and Syllabus
This Course is concerned with the Roman criminal system and its development during the whole of the legal experience of Ancient Rom. It focuses on the period from the Republican Era to Late Antiquity (5th c. BC - middle of the 6th c. AD). The following topics will be dealt with:
- fundamental principles and values underlying the various systems of public punishment in Rome;
- function and scope of the punishment, both public and private;
- implications and nature of the poena in Ancient Rome, considered: (a) in its historical phenomenology, with the analysis of single paradigmatic cases; (b) in its connection with the thought of philosophers, jurists, historians and orators between the Late Republic and the Early Principate;
- the fundamental distinction, typical for Roman Law, between delicta and crimina;
- main characteristics of each criminal procedure from the Republican period to Late Antiquity (iudicia populi, quaestiones perpetuae, cognitio extra ordinem);
- some crimes and forms of punishment in particular (e.g. various forms of capital punishment and exile, infamia);
- the way how execution of punishments was performed by the State.

As it will be clear, the general problems involved by a discussion on criminal systems in Ancient Rome show unexpected profiles of modernity towards the present debate on issues like the fundamental rights of the person or the protection of the rules which guarantee a pacific social coexistence both inside and outside a single State, within the wider international community.

Teaching activity
The Course will consist in 42 lecture hours of frontal teaching. It will also include an exegetical analysis of both legal and literary sources (in translation) with specific relevance for the topics dealt with. A lecture on "Roman legal sources and their manuscript tradition" will take place at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. In addition, at the end of the Course an excursion will be organized in order to visit the relevant sites of Ancient Milan, the Late Antique capital of the Western Roman Empire.

Bibliography and Learning Material
The books adopted are:
(1) G. VALDITARA, Riflessioni sulla pena nella Roma repubblicana, Giappichelli ed., Torino 2015, pp. 1-111;
together with
(2) G. BASSANELLI SOMMARIVA / S. TAROZZI / P. BIAVASCHI (edd.), Giudizi, giudici e norme processuali in Occidente nei secoli IV-VIII. Vol. II: Studi sulle fonti (Collana Ravenna Capitale), ed. Maggioli, 2015, only pp. 49-159.

Both books are also available at the bookshop Cortina, Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milan. It is also recommended the reading of a manual of Roman Legal History (or History of Roman Public Law) for the part on "sources of Roman Law". Other material will be distributed during the lectures.

Verification of Individual Progress
The examination will be oral, with the aim of verifying in the students knowledge and understanding of the topics forming part of the Syllabus, the acquisition of an indipendent judgement, of exposing skills and the use of an appropriate legal terminology.

Other Information
The students who would like to write a final dissertation on Roman law are requested to ask for an appointment sending an e-mail to the teachers at the following addresses:;

Office Hours
The office hours of the single teachers will be made public on the website of the University. It is however recommended to ask for an appointment in advance sending an e-mail.
Lessons: 42 hours
Educational website(s)