The laws of 12 tables, the general characteristics of whichwill be examined by us, - a famous monument of ancient Roman law. It is believed that they were drawn up by a commission of ten husbands (decemvirs) in 451-450. BC. e. The Decemvirs were magistrates during the work of the commission. For a long time, some of them did not want to give up their powers and even planned to carry out a coup d'état in order to establish tyranny.
Planks with laws, the influence of Athenian law
Scientists believe that the sources of the laws of 12 tables- Documents of the Athenian law. It is these deccemvirs that guided them when writing them. In the Greek colonies in the south of Italy, an embassy from Rome was sent. Api, the eldest of the ten husbands, having completed the codification, allegedly said that they should serve the welfare and prosperity of the state. This is a brief history of creating the laws of 12 tables.
Their name was not accidental.It was on 12 wooden boards that their text was hammered. In front of the Senate building, the laws of 12 tables were put up at the Forum. The Roman law of antiquity is inconceivable without them. Laws immediately began to study at school. Today, the original is lost, probably forever. When the Gauls invaded the territory of Ancient Rome, the boards were destroyed. To this day, only fragments of statements by lawyers, writers, scientists, political figures of the time have come down to us.
The significance of the laws of 12 tables in ancient Rome
These laws were basically in the form ofcompilation of the customs that dominate the years of their writing. They were selected in accordance with the interests of the ruling class. So there were laws of 12 tables. General characteristics of them are still of great interest. These laws were equipped with legal sanctions provided for in various fields. In the Romans, they were considered a real storehouse of wisdom. Mark Tullius Cicero, the famous ancient Roman lawyer, noted that the Roman law of 12 tables is a document in which one can find a "picture of our antiquity". Cicero believed that the abundance of profit and its authority alone this book exceeds all philosophers and all libraries for those who are looking for sources and bases of law. Children who lived in ancient Rome, learned by reading these laws. The Decemvirs, while codifying their customs, tried to preserve the privileges and the dominant position of the patricians, but they failed to achieve this fully.
Formal equality of plebeians and patricians
According to the laws of 12 tables, plebeians hadformal equality in courts with patricians. In addition, they also received certain political rights. For the plebeians, this was a great victory, because arbitrary interpretations of existing customs limited the written law that had arisen. It became the legal basis of Ancient Rome. The laws of 12 tables protected the plebeians from lawlessness and arbitrariness, created by patrician magistrates and judges. In the year 304 BC. e. The Senate ruled that in the process of criminal and civil litigation, officials should be guided by written law. Shaky legends from now on were not an authority.
The division of customary law after the adoption of laws
The laws of 12 tables fully reflected the levellegal consciousness, characteristic of that era. In tsarist times, in the era of the tribal system, there were international and other tribal customs. The tribe was their subject. The customary law after the adoption of the laws of 12 tables divided into two. One of them is the inner Roman community (the Qvirite, later called civil, or civil). The laws of the 12 tables refer specifically to him. The second law regulated relations between the Roman state and other countries. In addition, in Rome there was a special law. It described the rituals performed during the declaration of war, provided for various measures to comply with state contracts with other countries. Since the time of S. Tullius, as an axiom, the position according to which the Quirits customs and law operate only for the citizens of Rome is affirmed.
The prohibition of marriages between plebeians and patricians
The laws of 12 tables in ancient Rome included a wholea number of articles reflecting the ancient customs of the patriarchal community, its vestiges. They were aimed at preserving the centuries-old foundations. In particular, marriages between plebeians and patricians were forbidden. In 445 BC. e. this law was repealed.
Relations Relating to Real Estate
In 12 tables it is indicated that the land should bedispose of the collective of the Roman community. According to religious tradition, it could not be bequeathed to deities and temples. The land had to remain under the control of the community, to be its property. Thus, private ownership of it was restricted.
Gifting, inheritance, purchase and sale of importantobjects of real estate (working cattle, slaves and land) are furnished with special rituals. They were under the control of the community. The will must necessarily have been approved by the curial comitia (and sometimes also by the centurion, if the father deprived his legal successor of the inheritance share). In the event that someone was processing an abandoned wasteland or an empty piece of land, he became his owner after two years. Nevertheless, this right was not extended to strangers. In Rome, only the Roman citizen could dispose of the land and own it.
Strong punishments protect rightsowner in 12 tables. For example, the crucifix on the tree was sentenced to the one who committed the nightly harvest theft. The perpetrator, who set fire to the house and the grain near him, was put on fetters, burned and beaten.
The law, which was adopted at the meeting of the people, wasdeclared the main legal source. He should not be contradicted by any deal. The laws of 12 tables detail about the boundaries and boundaries of land allotments, the order of their inheritance and the prescription of their possession. The interests of the owner were protected, his property should be protected from illegal restraint. The theft of someone else's property, as well as the crimes related to the attempt on the health and life of the quirits, were punished especially severely. The main way to protect the owner's right in the event of his violation was physical punishment of the guilty.
Adoption presupposed the sanction of the greatpontiff and curate assembly. The priest and the commissions could and refuse him if the adoption could lead to extinction, the extinction of his former family, his family name.
The law on the protection of the Roman family has great powerhad the head of the family. This should also be seen as a concern for the strengthening of the community and a relic of the past. In other nations this position has no analogues. The head of the family had the exclusive right to own and dispose of all immovable and movable property. In addition, his power over his wife and descendants (including grandchildren) was virtually unlimited. After the death of the head of the family, the property was divided equally between the agnates (the so-called members of the family). In the event that they were not, the state of the next kindred inherited (for example, the brothers of the deceased, their sons, etc.).
The principle of talion, the value of the oath
In the monument was fixed the so-called "principleTalion "- in the commission of the crime, punishment followed as equal to equal.This also spoke of the consolidation of survivals of the patrimonial system.The oath was given a very great importance.If someone perjured, he was pushed from the Tarpey rock.
Protection of equality of citizens
It should be said a little more about protectionequality of citizens, describing the laws of 12 tables. Their general characteristic in this respect is the following: they protected the dignity, honor and rights of citizens, as well as their formal equality. Special privileges to assign one or the other of them were forbidden. The law in order to preserve equality between citizens limited the permissible burial costs, as well as the duration of mourning.
The one who composed the song, where it would containslander against any citizen of Rome, could be sentenced to death. However, the execution could not be carried out without the special sanction of the centurial commission. The law protected justice. The judge, who had been bribed by someone in bribery, was to be executed.
The sovereign power of the people
Finally, as a remnant of antiquity,to consider decisions that were taken at people's assemblies. For all citizens of Rome, they had mandatory force. Consequently, the Roman people theoretically (except for slaves, strangers and freedmen) was the supreme owner of the entire territory of the state. Sovereign power belonged exclusively to him. Any citizen who betrayed his homeland, thereby committed treason. And if he gave his compatriot to the enemy, he was threatened for this death penalty.
Attitude to religion
Characteristics of the laws of 12 tables would beincomplete, if we did not note the idea of the religion of the Romans, which they reflected. Communication with them is seen in the fact that the pontiffs, the guardians of the cults at that time also interpreted the customs. They were the first experts in law. The code of laws of 12 tables stated that it is a crime to disregard the rituals provided for by religion. Formal moments were given very great importance. Quirits, that is, male patricians who could carry arms, had a clear priority.
List of the most serious crimes, punishments and possibility of redemption
The laws listed a list of the most seriouscrimes. This is malicious slander, bribery of judges, treason to the state, perjury (especially dangerous), as well as the destruction of crops and arson. At the same time, the law allowed a ransom under an agreement that could replace the massacre. However, this only concerned the free citizens who committed the crime. As a rule, the slave was always responsible for what he had done with his life. Citizen of Rome, in addition, could be sentenced to death only after the decision made by the centurial comitia. As an aggravating circumstance, intent was made.
The significance of the laws of 12 tables in the history of law
What is the significance of the laws in history? 12tables? A general characteristic of their role is as follows. They became one of the first monuments of slaveholding law in the ancient world. They reflected the foundations of the life of the civil Roman community, as well as the institution of private property. The role of this codified code in the development of Roman civil law was very great. Scientists believe that the laws of 12 tables were not distinguished from other similar documents of their time by their perfection. The laws of Hammurabi and Manu, for example, were no less developed in terms of criminal law. Roman law did not record many crimes. In addition, the possibility of arbitrariness did not exclude the existence of such a document as the laws of 12 tables. The laws of Hammurabi, of course, were not better in this respect. In Egypt, as is known, there were also slaves without rights, which the owner could manage at his own discretion. However, Roman emperors were not bound by law and could determine what is a crime and what is not. Punishment in this case was arbitrary. However, it is worth noting that in the criminal law of Rome, very early offense is committed crimes of a private and public nature. This is one of its important features.
The laws of 12 tables, the laws of Hammurabi, the laws of Manu -all this is interesting not only for lawyers, but also for all lovers of history. After all, the legal norms reflect the characteristics of a particular society. It is possible to judge them about customs and traditions, about the state system, and about the borders of the power of the head of state.