Advanced roman law

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The program of Roman Criminal Law concerns the evolution of public capital penalty in the period from 753, b.C. foundation date of Rome, and 565 b.C., year in which Emperor Justinian died.
The lessons will describe the main principles of the most significative areas of the subject, with the historic roots of the different modern institutes about the crimes, death punishments and public criminal trial, also taking into account that the ancient distinction between privat or public vengeance and different penalties of death is still the basis of the modern legal reasoning in criminal cases.
Expected learning outcomes
The lessons will describe the following topics: periods and sources of production and knowledge of criminal law.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
According the exceptional measures foreseen for the first semester of the Academic Year 2020/21 due to the Covid-19 emergency, teaching will carried out in a mixed form, i.e. partly in presence (i.e. face-to-face), partly online. This will take place according the following scheme. Of the two lectures planned weekly:
- one will be carried out in presence and at the same time online, by participation to a virtual class created on the platform Microsoft Teams;
- one will take place online only.
Because of limitations of the classroom capacity due to social distancing, the attendance in presence will be regulated by an application, whereas the attendance online will be carried out through the platform Microsoft Teams, which every student has to download using his/her own institutional e-mail address ( In order to attend a virtual class, students are requested to previously send an e-mail - using their institutional address - to the teacher ( This e-mail is necessary in order to be registered in the virtual classroom, and has to be sent before 25th September 2020.
Changes may however occur following the evolution of the health situation.

Textbook and Learning Material:
The textbook and the learning material doesn't will be modified.

Assessment and Evaluation during the COVID-19 Emergency:
Written examination. The mark is expressed out of 30.
In case the exam is not passed, the students can register for the session immediately after.
The examination will take place in presence. However, during the COVID-19 emergency, international students, students living outside Lombardy and students with severe pathologies are allowed to take the examination online through the platform Microsoft Teams. For this purpose, students should not only register for the exam as usual but also send an e-mail to the teacher ( at least 5 days before the exams. These alternative measures will apply until further notice.
Course syllabus
A. - General knowledges. privat and public punishment. - The function of the capital punishment between general safety and preservation of the constitutional order of ancient Rome in its different historical periods. - The "ius provocationis" and the "exsilium" of a Roman citizen. - The "appellatio ad Caesarem". - The imposition of the death penalty and functioning criteria of the public assemblies and of another deliberative institutions in Rome from the republican age to the imperial period ("iudicia populi", "quaestiones perpetuae" and "cognitiones extra ordinem"). The "carcer": the pre-trial detention and the carrying out the death penalty. - The social danger of the offender in the opinion of the ancient writers. - The urban spaces for carrying out the capital punishments and the importance of the derision of the offender's body in the ancient societies. B. Case studies. 1) The dismemberment of Méttius Fufetius and the violation of the "fides" against Romans. - 2) The death of Turno Erdonius: an exemplar punishment for suppressing the political opposition. - 3) Cases of barbaric execution of the death penalty in the ancient Persia under the reigns of the Achemenidi (VI sec. a.C.): public vengeance and repressive measures against the political opposition. - 4) The "supplicium ultimum" of Attilius Regulus. 5) The cruel and inhuman punishment "in castris" by Postumius Regillensis against the soldiers: about the death penalty in the form of the "necare sub crate". - 6) The "corpora inimicorum" and the repression of the political opposition during the reign of the emperor Tiberius: especially the trial of Clutorius Priscus. - 7) An exemplar case for the "appellatio ad Caesarem" in the episode of Paulus Apostle (59/60 d.C.).
B - Case studies from criminal oratory of Cicero (Pro Milone; Pro Roscio Amerino; actiones in Verrem).
Prerequisites for admission
The students have to pass the examination of Roman Private Law, and then they can take the written text of Advanced Roman Law (Crimanl Roman Law)
Teaching methods
The Course will consist in 42 hours (12 lectures) of frontal teaching and will be divided in two parts. The first will be concerned theoretical aspects of the criminal Roman law; the second part will be concerned specific cases of capital penalty in ancient world.
Teaching Resources
N. Donadio, "Documentum supplicii" e "documentum criminis". Il corpo del reo tra precetto e sanzione nel mondo antico, L'arte del diritto, Napoli, Jovene, 2017 (with exclusion of pages 212-261 and the bibliographical notes)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written examination. The mark is expressed out of 30.
In case the exam is not passed, the students can register for the session immediately after
IUS/18 - ROMAN AND ANCIENT LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Donadio Nunzia
Educational website(s)
Wed 10.00-12.00
dipartimento di diritto privato e storia del diritto - 1 floor