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Marcus Antistius Labeo and the Idea of Legal Literature

Wibier, Matthijs (2022) Marcus Antistius Labeo and the Idea of Legal Literature. In: Ziogas, Ioannis and Bexley, Erica, eds. Roman Law and Latin Literature. Bloomsbury, London, pp. 125-144. ISBN 978-1-350-27663-5. (doi:10.5040/ (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:90532)

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This chapter explores the reception of the jurist and scholar Marcus Antistius Labeo (fl. under Augustus) by authors of the Early Empire. Focusing on assessments of Labeo’s role in legal and wider intellectual history, I argue that Labeo functioned as a vehicle for later authors to think through complex questions about the relationship between law, literary production, and politics. On the one hand, the surviving biographical anecdotes can all be read as raising questions about who is in control of the legal universe with the rise of the new power structure known as the Principate. On the other hand, an analysis of Labeo’s treatment by the encyclopaedic writer Gellius and by the Roman jurists shows that Labeo the author made critical contributions to the law at a turning point in legal history. While for Gellius he symbolizes the endpoint of a tradition in which legal and literary scholarship largely coincided, the jurists treat Labeo as foundational for a more distinct, technical-legal discourse at some remove from literary production. As mentioned, this chapter examines attitudes towards Labeo’s significance; it does not provide a detailed analysis of the influence of Labeo’s doctrinal contributions to Roman law on later jurists.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.5040/
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Greco-Roman World
K Law > K Law (General)
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Matthijs Wibier
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2021 18:15 UTC
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 16:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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