Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Paul J. du Plessis
The legal history of the Roman Empire is commonly divided into the following five periods: archaic period (753–250 BCE), preclassical period (250–27 BCE), classical period (27 BCE-284 CE), postclassical period (284–527 CE) and Justinianic period (527–565 CE). These periodizations cut across conventional historical classifications of Roman history, such as republic and empire, but are nonetheless useful in describing changes to Roman law. Little is known about archaic Roman law. According to Greek and Roman historiographers, the city-state of Rome was ruled by seven kings from its mythical founding in 753 BCE by Romulus and Remus until 510 BCE when the last king, Tarquin the Proud, was expelled by the populace. Almost nothing is known about the law of the monarchy. Pomponius, a jurist of the classical period who wrote a treatise on the origins of law, hypothesized that the seven kings of Rome produced statutes (leges regiae) from which Senate, ...