Black Gaius: A Quest for the Multicultural Origins of the 'Western Legal Tradition'

72 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008

See all articles by P. G. Monateri

P. G. Monateri

SciencesPo, Ecole de Droit; University of Turin - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December, 12 2008


In this paper I intend to signal an independent appraisal of the roots of the Western Legal Tradition as both a critique of this tradition's originalism, and of its being a tradition at all, thereby challenging the premises behind new projects of international cultural governance in the context of globalisation. From the standpoint of legal history and comparative law this paper shows that Roman Law has no claim to supremacy in the ancient world. The myth of this supremacy was manufactured by the biases of xix century European historicism so that the Western indebtedness toward non-Western civilizations was denied. The rejection of conventional unsound picture has important consequences for the consciousness of the Western legal tradition as such, which is to be seen more as a multicultural enterprise than as the peculiar evolution of one culture. This implies that the projects of governance based on the conventional picture are untenable, and must be abandoned.

Keywords: Comparative Law, Roman Law, Globalisation, Critical Studies, State, Contract,Tradition, German Law, African Law, Law and Politics, Law and Culture, Cultural Studies

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K40

Suggested Citation

Monateri, Pier Giuseppe, Black Gaius: A Quest for the Multicultural Origins of the 'Western Legal Tradition' (December, 12 2008). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 3, 2000. Available at SSRN:

Pier Giuseppe Monateri (Contact Author)

SciencesPo, Ecole de Droit ( email )

13, Rue de l'Université


University of Turin - Faculty of Law ( email )

Via S. Ottavio 20
Torino, 10121
+39 11 59 14 12 (Phone)

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