Leges regiae and the nomothetic world of early Rome

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After many years in which the ancient notion that a body of law was passed under the kings was regarded as somewhat unreliable, at least in Anglophone scholarship, more attention has been given to this subject of late1. However, serious problems remain, and in this paper I will restate some of the reasons why we cannot straightforwardly accept the traditional source account. At the same time, we need to explain where this account came from and how it was produced.

My intention therefore in this paper is to examine the sources for the leges regiae, to address the historiographical construction of the figure of the Roman king as lawmaker, and to consider the argument that this may reflect a deeper reality which is distinct from the narrative. This work builds on a previous article which argued about the leges regiae from a rather different but complementary approach[2]. So I will begin with a summary of that argument, and then proceed to consider the textual evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
JournalCahiers des Études Anciennes
Early online date2 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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