The Jurisdiction of the Pontiff in the Roman Republic: A Third Dimension

By Jan Hendrik Valgaeren

In academic research, the pontiff (pontifex) of the Roman Republic has largely been a two-dimensional figure, created by Historians and Romanists. In this book, author Jan Hendrik Valgaeren - a graduate in both law and history - adds a fascinating third dimension. Taking the pontiff's jurisdiction (i.e., the supervision of civil litigation) as his starting point, Valgaeren demonstrates that most Romanists evidence a highly dogmatic approach and only pay attention to the institutional aspects of Roman law, while historians are primarily interested in the big picture and are mostly unaware of the pontiff's legal duties. What binds these perspectives is that the scholarly thinking of adherents of either discipline is rooted in the Enlightenment idea that Roman society was a secular one. This biased idea obscures the fact that, in the Roman Republic, law and religion were intimately connected and remained so well into the Empire. Valgaeren argues that it was only around 200 BC - and not earlier - that, as part of the radical reforms following the Second Punic war, jurisdiction was transferred from the pontiff to the praetor.

164 pages

Publication Date: 11/1/2012
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789058509185