Welcome to RomanLaw.org.au, which is the online presence of the Roman Law Reading Group in Australia.
What is the Reading Group?
The Roman Law Reading Group is a bit like a book club. We meet to discuss issues of Law and Society in Ancient Rome.
If you are interested in learning about Roman Law in a casual setting with other beginners, you are invited to join us.
How does it work?
The Roman Law Reading Group has separate divisions (known as "Chapters") in each of Melbourne and Sydney. Each Chapter operates slightly differently. But in general terms, the process is as follows.
From time to time, the Reading Group meets in person (although, during COVID-19, there is the option to dial in remotely). Leading into each meeting, there is a selection of recommended readings on offer. The readings are drawn from a range of sources, including chapters of modern day textbooks and journal articles. We also review primary sources of Roman Law. These include writings of the Roman Jurists of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, as well as publications commissioned by Justinian, who was the Roman Emperor during part of the 6th century AD.
In the weeks leading into each meeting, Group members are invited to digest the readings at their own pace, and in their own time. The Group then convenes and the readings are discussed in an informal manner. The Convener of each Chapter will generally drive the meetings. Members are invited to participate as much (or as little) as they feel comfortable.
What sort of topics do we consider?
We begin with an introduction to the study of Roman Law, which involves a chronology of key events in Roman Legal History, and an examination of the sources of Roman Law.
The Roman family structure, and the role of slaves in the Roman legal order, are also considered.
From there, we delve into a wide range of legal topics that relate to the way in which the Romans dealt with:
Each Chapter branches out into different areas of focus, in order to reflect the interests of the members and Convener of that Chapter.
Who can join?
Anyone. No prior knowledge of Roman Law, or any law, is required. The Group is open to, and currently enjoys, having non-lawyers involved.
But I don’t read Latin
No problem. We work with English translations. You do not need to read or speak Latin.
Is it free?
Yes. There is no cost involved whatsoever.
What are the time commitments?
Each Chapter meets about once every month or so, for a few hours at a time.
The recommended readings for each meeting are not voluminous. They usually comprise only a chapter of a textbook, or one or two journal articles (or the equivalent volume).
For more information, please select your location from the menu above.