János ERDŐDY: A PAPYRUS OF THE DRUSILLA LAWSUIT AND ITS IMPACT ON ROMAN LAW. Nr. 2020/08
Amongst the primary sources of lex Laetoria, a Roman act from around the turn of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, granting additional protection to adults under the age of 25, a Greek papyrus (BGU II 378) comes up as a document preserving the name of the act. This papyrus is remarkable from a legal point of view: it contains a petition for the suspension of execution related to a contract of loan. In the text, the petitioner supports his claim with the fact that a key written document, a khirographum, in which he admits his obligation to pay was a result of an act of extortion. Beyond the actual case, this papyrus is significant because it outlines the social and economic milieu of the Roman world in Egypt around the 2nd century AD. Through the examination and analysis of the case in this papyrus, we get closer to the everyday reality of Roman law. The characters involved in the case bear Roman names, the case takes place in the Faiyum Oasis, in Egypt, the correspondence is in Greek and Roman law measures are used to settle the dispute. We sense multiculturalism in this one document, without the disturbing feeling of having lost or altered something important which may contribute to our specific character. In other words, we see an example of how Rome had managed to handle herself as an Empire.
This short paper is aiming to give a glimpse of this multicultural approach of Roman law in action through the analysis of the case in the papyrus BGU II 378.
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