Justice and Equality

Kevin Uhalde

in The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780195336931
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Justice and Equality


This article discusses justice and equality in Late Antiquity. It identifies two factors particular to the later Roman Empire. First, the practice of unequal justice was an old and celebrated tradition. Second, the makers of secular law eventually became forceful proponents of Christianity, to whose doctrine the promise of both justice and equality was central. Both Symmachus and Leo, prefect and pope—one representative of the old elite, the other of a new religious order—grappled with the conflict between the theory and practice of justice. Both were willing to bend the rule of the law to serve the cause of justice but neither believed that this was an ideal or sustainable solution.

Keywords: equality; justice; philosophy; Roman law; unequal justice; Symmachus; Leo

Article.  11883 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Law

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