What is the Reading Group?
The Roman Law Reading Group is a bit like a book club. From time to time, the Group meets to discuss issues of Law and Society in Ancient Rome.
How does it work?
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 (to the extent those writings have been transmitted through the ages), as well as publications commissioned by Justinian, who was the Roman Emperor during part of the 6th century AD.
In the period 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 will generally lead the discussion. Members are invited to participate as much (or as little) as they feel comfortable. If you simply want to attend and watch (and say nothing at all) that is fine.
Where are the meetings?
Regular meetings are presently being held in Sydney, Australia (in the central business district). There is also a Melbourne Chapter of the Group.
What sort of topics do we consider?
The Group begins 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 welcomes non-lawyers.
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?
The Group meets about once every two months. Each meeting lasts a tad over 2 hours. 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).