The Roman Law of Succession. An Overview
27 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 19, 2017
The law of succession addresses the legal destiny of a person’s rights and duties after his death. Closely tied to the fundamental and peculiar features of Roman family and society, the law of succession presents vast difficulties for Roman lawyers because of its highly sophisticated nature and lack of systematic coherence. It is no coincidence that eleven out of fifty books in the Digest address the law of succession.
The development of the law of succession reflects important social changes in Roman economic structures and value systems. It echoes the progression from an old Roman agrarian society to a new commercial one. From a technical legal perspective, the law of succession reveals the tension between civil law and praetorian law. Without formally altering the civil law, the praetor introduced fundamental adjustments to protect emancipated persons, blood relatives in the female line, and surviving spouses, among others.
Keywords: Roman law, succession, will, inheritance, testament
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