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Cicero's LawRethinking Roman Law of the Late Republic$
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Paul J. du Plessis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474408820

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474408820.001.0001

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Cicero’s Reception in the Juristic Tradition of the Early Empire

Cicero’s Reception in the Juristic Tradition of the Early Empire

(p.100) Chapter 7 Cicero’s Reception in the Juristic Tradition of the Early Empire
Cicero's Law

Matthijs Wibier

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter surveys the reception of Cicero’s writings as well as of the figure of Cicero in the juristic literature excerpted in Justinian’s Digest. The analysis consists of three parts. The first traces the engagement on the part of several jurists with legal passages from Cicero’s oeuvre. On this basis, I argue that jurists mined Cicero’s works to some extent for useful material; this finding challenges the strict dichotomy between jurists and orators (including their prototype Cicero) posited in Cicero’s own work, reinforced by e.g. Quintilian, and often accepted by modern scholars. Secondly, the chapter studies how Pomponius’ history of jurisprudence assesses the role of Cicero in legal history. I demonstrate that Pomponius takes up and rewrites several passages from the Brutus that are highly polemical against the jurists, and that Pomponius’ narrative turns Cicero into a character largely irrelevant in intellectual terms. The chapter’s third part explores the issue of Cicero’s reception as a legal philosopher. As far as we can see, the jurists credit Labeo for his philosophical contributions to law at the complete expense of Cicero; there is some evidence to suggest that polemics are at play here.

Keywords:   Cicero, reception, Roman law, jurists, oratory, philosophy, legal literature, Justinian’s Digest, Labeo

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