Skip to main content
CODE 55672
SEMESTER 1° Semester


The subject of Institutions of Roman law concerns the study of the history of Roman juridical experience from its origins (VIII century BC) to the age of Justinian (VI century AD). Teaching is fundamental as it constitutes the basis for dealing with positive law subjects, allowing students to know the first logically coherent system of rules of conduct and to understand the inseparable link between law and legal science.



The course aims to guide the knowledge and understanding of the main aspects of Roman legal experience, through its cultural tradition and practical applications, at the basis of the legal systems of continental Europe. In the context of appropriate information on the sources that can be used and on the history of the constitution of ancient Rome, it concerns the development of private, substantive and procedural law, with particular regard to the institutes relating to the organization of the Degree Course.


The teaching of Institutions of Roman law aims to provide students with basic notions within the relevant historical context with specific reference to the following topics:

Part I: - Constitutional structures in the various periods; - Production and interpretation of law: analysis of the sources from archaic law to the compilation of Justinian.

Part II: People and family 

Part III: Roman procedural law (Legis actiones; Trial per formulas; Cognitio extra ordinem).

Part IV - Real rights and possession. 

Part V: The law of obligation.

Individual study, attendance (in presence and / or remotely) and participation in the proposed training activities will allow the student to achieve the following learning outcomes:

- Defining and presenting the main notions underlying the Roman legal system;

- Understanding the institutions of Roman private law and their operating mechanisms;

- Expressing oneself in appropriate legal technical language.

On the basis of the knowledge acquired, then, the student must be able to:

- Identifying and applying the main reference standards starting from the analysis of specific cases drawn from the legal experience of ancient Rome;

- Reading and examining critically, with autonomy of judgment, the typical cases of Roman law (always provided in Italian translation).

In summary, the student will have to become aware of the importance of Roman law from an historical perspective by recognising the foundations of European law.


No prerequisites required.


The course consists of lectures and lessons for a minimum of 36 hours (equal to 6 ECTS), during which the main theoretical notions of Roman law will be presented and analyzed, without forgetting the analysis and discussion of the cases handed down by the jurists of the time. The texts subject to specific study will be uploaded on the Aulaweb platform.


The constitutional structures of Monarchy and Republic. The patrician-plebeian conflict. The Republic of expansion in the Mediterranean. The Empire. The Late Empire. The production and interpretation of the law. The mores and the pontifical activity. The Twelve Tables. Leges rogatae, plebiscita and senatusconsulta. The edict of the praetor. Jurisprudence. Imperial constitutions and their collections. Justinian's compilation activity.

Gentesagnatipater familias. The slaves. Free subordinates of the pater familias: children and women in manuTutela and cura. Marriage, divorce and dowry.

Legis actiones. Cognition actions: the action "with oath / bet"; the action "at the request of a judge or an arbitrator"; the action "by intimation". The executive actions: the action "by laying on of the hand"; the "for pledge" action. Litigare per formulas. The creation and affirmation of formulae. The two phases of the trial: in iure "in court" and apud iudicem "with the judge". The execution of the sentence. Formulae of actions of ius civil. Formulae of pretorious actions in ius: ficticiae; with subject transposition. Formulae in factum. Illicit acts and private criminal actions. The exceptions in favor of the defendant. Means complementary to the process: interdicta; missio in possessionem; stipulatio praetoria; restitutio in integrum.

Real rights. The notion of possession. The 'properties' and their judicial protection. The ways of purchasing the property. Real rights over what others do: easements, usufruct, use, pledge and mortgage.

Origins, definition and content of the notion of obligation. Types of obligations. The birth of the notion of contract. The classifications of the sources of the obligations. The responsability. Obligationes re contractae: mortgage, deposit, loan and pledge. Obligationes verbis contractae: sponsio / stipulatio, dowry pronunciation, promise of the freedman. Obligationes consensu contractae: sale, lease, societas, mandate. Unnamed contracts. Obligationes ex delicto: theft, robbery, injury, damage. The extinction of obligations.


The slides used and the texts subject to specific discussion and analysis will be available on Aulaweb.

For attending students (the program is aimed at those who are present at least 2/3 of the hours of lessons, the minimum and mandatory limit established by the Regulations, and above all, follow the course with fruitful commitment): complete notes of the lessons of this semester, integrated with the study of the following volume: C. A. CANNATA - S. RONCATI, Materiali per lo studio dei diritti reali, Turin, Giappichelli, 2021.

For non-attending students: P. GIUNTI - F. LAMBERTI - P. LAMBRINI - L. MAGANZANI - C. MASI DORIA - I PIRO, Il diritto nell'esperienza di Roma antica. Per una introduzione alla scienza giuridica, Torino, Giappichelli, 2021, pp. 1-78, 105-280, 311-452.


Exam Board



JAMES CAIMI (Substitute)




The course will be held in I semester a.y. 2022/2023.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam, both for attending and non-attending students, takes place in an oral form and normally consist in four / five open questions. The first question, which may concern any topic of the program, always proposes a treatment of a certain breadth. This is followed by questions of a more limited scope, which are intended to calibrate the final evaluation with more precision.


The oral exam aims to verify the student's actual knowledge and assimilation of the basic theoretical notions, together with his/her legal reasoning ability. Through general theoretical questions and the analysis of concrete cases - which for students attending always draw inspiration from the teaching activity carried out in the classroom - it will be verified whether the student is able to:

- identify and define legal concepts using appropriate technical language;

- identify, distinguish, know and assimilate the way of working of the ancient jurists;

- understand and interpret, with a critical spirit and independent judgment, the main texts of some cases discussed in class;

- read and critically examine some cases of Roman law.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
19/01/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
06/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
11/05/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
05/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
29/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
13/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
11/09/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale


Further communications relating to the Course will be provided through Notices published in Aulaweb.