00942 - History of Roman Law

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

On Roman constitutional history knowlege basis, the rules and legal principles that are part of the European legal tradition are studied.

Course contents

The course will be organized in seminar lessons.

The first part of the lectures will focus on the constitutional transformations of the Roman state from the origins, VIII century BC, until the Age of Justinian, VI century AD.

  1. The Monarchy and its history;
  2. The leges regiae;
  3. The transition from Monarchy to Republic;
  4. The plebs and the Patricians;
  5. The Twelve Tables;
  6. The leges Valeriae-Horatiae, the lex Canuleia and the creation of the military tribune;
  7. The institutional compromise of 367 BC and its developments;
  8. The comitial laws and the plebiscita;
  9. The Edicts issued by magistrates and the ius honorarium;
  10. The ius civile and the ius gentium;
  11. The juridical science;
  12. The Gracchus brothers and the agrarian reform;
  13. Sulla’s dictatorship;
  14. Caesar and the Civil war;
  15. The augustan principate;
  16. The lex de imperio Vespasiani and the Flavian dinasty;
  17. Adrian’s politics of law;
  18. From Antoninian to Severan dinasty;
  19. The Antoninian constitution;
  20. The Diocletian era;
  21. The Constantinian era;
  22. Justinian emperor and his compilatio;

During the second part, the theme of production and the interpretation of norms (jurisprudential and authoritative sources) will be deepened through the critical reading of legal texts.

  1. The leges regiae and the mores maiorum;;
  2. The Twelve Tables;
  3. The comitial laws and the plebiscita;
  4. The Edicts issued by magistrates and the ius honorarium;
  5. The ius civile and the ius gentium;
  6. The juridical science;
  7. The lex de imperio Vespasiani
  8. The sources of law in the classical period;
  9. The normative activity of the princeps;
  10. The normative senatusconsulta;
  11. The latest normative activity of the comitia;
  12. The protoclassic jurisprudence and the Sabinians and Proculians;
  13. The medioclassic jurisprudence and the interest for legal history;
  14. The jurisprudence of the late-classical period;
  15. The jurisprudence of the Late empire: the “simplification” of classical texts, the problem of “fakes” and the Law of citations;
  16. Imperial legislation: new typologies and requirements for certainty;
  17. The compilations of the roman law: only iura, only leges, mixtae;
  18. Justinian emperor and his compilation;
  19. The last normative activity by Justinian: The Novellae constitutiones.

Further details will be proposed by the teacher and agreed with the attending students.


For attending students: notes and materials provided in class.

For non-attending students: MARIE THERES FOGEN, Storie di diritto romano., Origine ed evoluzione di un sistema sociale, Il Mulino, collana "Saggi" pp. 256, 978-88-15-10599-8,2005.

Teaching methods

Lessons will consist of the methodical presentation and analysis of the topics, the examination, and discussion with students of legal and literary sources.

Assessment methods

The exam will be oral. For attending students, the learning assessment is foreseen in the discussion about topics covered by the course.

It is, however, possible to agree with the professor a different verification method.

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

- the knowledge of institutional profiles;

- the ability to analyze the sources visioned during the classwork;

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

- the ability to develop critical arguments;

- the articulation and 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, poorly articulated or poorly cared for exposure → 18-21/30;
  • fairly good knowledge of the programme, good exposure → 22-25/30;
  • comprehensive knowledge of the programme, notable reasoning ability, curated and articulated exposure → 26-29/30;
  • extensive knowledge of the programme, very good reasoning ability; curated, articulated and critical exposure → 30-30L/30.

It will be possible to recognize the CFU of the course only after enrolling it in one of the exams dates required through the Alma-esami application (https://almaesami.unibo.it/ almaesami/welcome.htm)

Please note that for the exam inscription, the student must have previously entered it in the study plan.

Teaching tools

The teaching support materials will be available on 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 Marco Melluso