Navigation auf


Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät Lehrstuhl Alonso

Ancient Legal History


(Vst.-Nr. 0224)

Ancient Legal History 

Roman law in its final form, as compiled in Justinian's Corpus Iuris Civilis, builds the foundation of all continental European legal systems, and tends therefore to be studied in isolation, as the only source of our own legal thinking.

Unlike this idealized Roman Law of the romanistic tradition, the actual Roman law of History arose and evolved as one among many other Ancient legal traditions, which preceded it by centuries and even millennia. Legal History, thus, was already old when Roman law started its development. The course "Ancient Legal History" aims to explore these "other" legal traditions and their interplay with Roman law. Through examples taken from the Mesopotamic, Egyptian and Greek legal traditions, this course will focus on the actual legal practice of these Ancient cultures, handed down to us through innumerable documents, particularly clay tablets from Mesopotamia and papyri from Greek and Roman Egypt and the Near East.

In addition, the course will also look at problems that arose as a result of Roman expansion: In particular, how the Roman jurists, the Roman courts and the Imperial bureaucracy addressed a legal practice that, unlike in Italy, was in the provinces often still dominated by such non-Roman legal traditions.

Wednesday, 8:00-9:45 a.m.
Venue KOL-F-121
Module See

Script Acient Legal History (PDF, 16 MB)

Provisional programme:

Date Subject Literature Slides
20.09.2023 Ancient Legal History: Introduction

Nörr (PDF, 790 KB)

Selb (PDF, 1 MB)

Lecture 1 (PDF, 20 MB)

I. Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Legal Traditions


The Cuneiform Legal Tradition I
Online via Zoom (Zoom link here (PDF, 66 KB))

Hallo (PDF, 980 KB)

Roth (PDF, 157 KB)

Snell (PDF, 211 KB)

Lecture 2 (PDF, 1 MB)

04.10.2023 The Cuneiform Legal Tradition II    
11.10.2023 The Ancient Egyptian Legal Tradition I



18.10.2023 The Ancient Egyptian Legal Tradition II



25.10.2023 The Greek Legal Tradition I    
01.11.2023 The Greek Legal Tradition II



08.11.2023 The Hellenistic Legal Tradition I    
15.11.2023 The Hellenistic Legal Tradition II    
II. Sale and Acquisition
22.11.2023 Cuneiform Legal Practice


29.11.2023 Hieroglyphic and Hieratic Legal Practice 


06.12.2023 Demotic Legal Practice


13.12.2023 Greek Sale: The Payment of the Price   


20.12.2023 Greek Sale: Credit and Executory Sales     

Weiterführende Informationen


Podcasts of this lecture will be made available here continuously after each lecture: Podcasts Ancient Legal History.

Please note that due to possible technical issues full and complete availability of the podcasts cannot be guaranteed.