Actors and Audience in the Roman Courtroom (Monographs in by Leanne Bablitz

By Leanne Bablitz

What might you notice for those who attended a tribulation in a court docket within the early Roman empire? What was once the behaviour of litigants, advocates, judges and viewers? It used to be popular for Roman contributors out of common curiosity to wait many of the courts held in public locations within the urban centre and as such, the Roman courts held a major place within the Roman group on a sociological point in addition to a litigious one. This publication considers many elements of Roman courts within the first centuries advert, either civil and felony, and illuminates the interplay of Romans of each social workforce. Actors and viewers within the Roman court docket is a vital source for classes on Roman social heritage and Roman legislation as a ancient phenomenon.

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The last preliminary hearing consisted of the formal laying of the charge, nominis delatio. The accused was required to be present at this point and no panel was involved. 113 When we attempt to integrate the procedures for public and private cases with our information for the location of these courts, it becomes clear that we must further specify the portion of the trial we are examining. From the information available, we determined the locations for the courts of the various praetors. Concerning the courts of the praetor urbanus and the praetor peregrinus, we in fact identified where the in iure portion of private disputes took place.

79 With so few documents surviving, the chance of such repetition, were the choice of location merely random, seems unlikely. Is it also chance that Martial mentions sealing a document before the same statue of Diana used as a meeting point in TH 6? These repetitions suggest that specific locations within the forum were chosen according to the type of issue or the status of the individuals involved. This idea prompts comparison of the locations found in the extant vadimonia with the locations mentioned in another type of relevant document found within the two Campanian archives – the testatio sistendi.

Under the formulary procedure, a private suit started in the court of the praetor (in iure). At these proceedings the praetor listened to the argument between the two parties, determined the formula according to which the unus iudex (single judge) or recuperatores (a small panel of three or five iudices) would provide a ruling, and appointed the unus iudex or recuperatores to hear the case. The second stage was the hearing of the dispute itself, held apud iudicem (before the judge(s)). During this stage the case would be fully argued and a ruling made, thereby concluding the dispute.

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