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Cicero and the Jurists by Jill Harries


Cicero and the Jurists by Jill Harries

This book traces Cicero's thought on law as an advocate; as the friend of jurists; as writer on the philosophy of the 'higher law'; and as a politician who both asserted and subverted the rights of citizens under the law. The Roman Republican jurists, hitherto largely neglected by historians, are placed in their intellectual, social and political context. As the institutions of the old Republic collapsed around them, the jurists disputed not only about legal niceties but also about fairness, trust and the rights and duties of the citizen. Although specialists, they were not culturally isolated. In the intensely competitive environment of Republican politics, senatorial jurists competed for office and honours; yet their low-profile activity could not compete with the showy victories of generals or the public performances of such advocates as Cicero. As an advocate, Cicero downplayed the contribution of jurists. But the vicissitudes of his career taught him the importance of Citizen Law as an expression of citizen rights. In the last years of his life he argued for a new integration of jurisprudence with the wider law of the philosopher and the statesman, but he also exploited the philosophy of the 'higher law' to deny 'bad citizens' their rights and to undermine the formal regulation of the Roman state.

About the Author

Jill Harries is Professor of Ancient History, University of St Andrews.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th May 2006


Jill Harries

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Bristol Classical Press an imprint of Duckworth Overlook


240 pages


Roman law



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