24614 - Roman Foundations of European Law

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course is intended to present, by starting from the Roman experience, the historical-dogmatic perspectives relevant to the mechanism of norms formation, the structure of the preceptive language and the interpretative problems, which will provide the positive jurist with an instrument to approach the current themes concerning the unification of European law.

Course contents

The course aims at the investigation of the persistence of Roman law principles in the current European legal systems; will proceed backwards with the purpose to explore the Roman foundations of the current projects for the unification of European contract law, with a special reference to the Draft Common Frame of Reference.

First module (prof. Fabiana Mattioli)

  1. Good faith and fair dealing;
  2. Reasonableness;
  3. Definition of contract;
  4. Party autonomy;
  5. Precontractual liability: negotiations and duties of confidence;
  6. Requirements for the conclusion of a contract;
  7. Offer and Acceptance;
  8. Apparent authority;
  9. The delegate;
  10. Unidentified principal;
  11. Conflict of interest;
  12. Hermeneutic rules.

Second module (prof. Ivano Pontoriero)

  1. Mistake;
  2. Coercion or threats;
  3. Fraud;
  4. Violation of fundamental principles and compulsory rules: a. Contracts infringing fundamental principles;
  5. Violation of fundamental principles and compulsory rules: b. Contracts infringing compulsory rules;
  6. Determination of price;
  7. The simulation;
  8. The contract in favour of a third party;
  9. Change of circumstances;
  10. Conditional rights and obligations;
  11. Place of performance;
  12. Time of performance;
  13. Early performance;
  14. Performance entrusted to another;
  15. Term excluding or restricting remedies;
  16. Plurality of debtors;
  17. Plurality of creditors;
  18. Substitution of debtor and its effects;
  19. Set-off;
  20. Merger.

For students who need to integrate 1, 2, or 3 CFU

Students who need to integrate one credit must study the first chapter of the volume I. Pontoriero, I vizi del consenso nella tradizione romanistica, Torino, 2020.

Students who need to integrate two credits must study the first two chapters of the volume I. Pontoriero, I vizi del consenso nella tradizione romanistica, Torino, 2020.

Students who need to integrate three credits must study the first three chapters of the volume I. Pontoriero, I vizi del consenso nella tradizione romanistica, Torino, 2020.

For the Erasmus students

The exam program for the Erasmus student will be agreed upon with the holder of the course.

For students who intend to obtain recognition of examinations abroad (Erasmus, Overseas or other exchange programs)

The holder of the course will evaluate from time to time the congruity of the proposed content with the subject of study of the discipline.


The exam program for attending students will be indicated at lesson.

For non-attending students:

1) A. Petrucci, Fondamenti romanistici del diritto europeo. La disciplina
generale del contratto, I, Torino, 2018;

2) Fondamenti di diritto contrattuale europeo. Dalle radici romane al Draft Common Frame of Reference, a cura di G. Luchetti e A. Petrucci, II, Patron, Bologna, 2010;

3) I. Pontoriero, I vizi del consenso nella tradizione romanistica, Torino, 2020.

Teaching methods

Lessons will be held through the examination and discussion in the classroom of the Roman legal sources and subsequent testimonies of the Roman tradition.

The lectures will take place during the first and second semester.

In the first semester, the lectures will take place in the manner described at this address:


We remember that it is possible to take the exam only after passing the examination of Institutes in Roman law.

Assessment methods

The course is annual, so those who obtain the attestation of frequency in the present academic year will only be eligible for the exam since the month of May.

Attending students will be able to take intermediate tests, which will take place verbally at the end of each teaching module.

The final exam will be a verbal examination on the topics indicated in the “Course contents” section.

The evaluation of the examination will be carried out taking into consideration:

- the knowledge of institutional profiles;

- the ability to analyze the decisions of the courts and the opinions of academic commentators;

- the ability to make connections among the different parts of the program;

- the ability to develop critical arguments;

- the articulation of the exposure;

- the accuracy of the exposure.

By way of example, the following criteria will be used to assess the final mark (that will be out of 30/30):

  • sufficient or barely sufficient knowledge on the programme, limited reasoning ability, some difficulties in using technical and legal language → 18-21/30;
  • fairly good knowledge of the programme, adequate critical reasoning ability, sound use of technical and legal language → 22-25/30;
  • comprehensive knowledge of the programme, notable reasoning ability, good command of technical and legal language → 26-29/30;
  • extensive knowledge of the programme, very good reasoning ability, and ability to fully master technical-legal language → 30-30L/30.

Registration for the final exam will have to be done using the Almaesami platform (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm).

Bachelor’s Thesis

The Bachelor's Thesis project will be discussed and agreed upon with the holder of the course from time to time.

Seminars will be organized for the Bachelor’s candidates to illustrate the main tools of historical-legal research and their correct use for writing the thesis.

Teaching tools

The teaching materials will be made available through the "Insegnamenti OnLine" platform (https://iol.unibo.it/).

Students which need compensatory tools for reasons of disability or Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) will communicate to the teacher their needs so as to be directed to the dedicated person and arrange on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.

Office hours

See the website of Ivano Pontoriero

See the website of Fabiana Mattioli