The Emperor, the Law and Imperial Administration

Werner Eck

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society

Published in print October 2016 | ISBN: 9780198728689
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191795466 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Emperor, the Law and Imperial Administration

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  • Greek and Roman Law
  • Ancient Roman History


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The political space and administrative apparatus of the Imperial government were legally stipulated and enclosed. Politics and administration had to follow the rules of the ius publicum. This was true for traditional magistrates and promagistrates as well as non-senatorial office holders, the praesidial and financial procurators of equestrian rank. The chapter surveys the potential means by which Augustus and his successors might settle problems of society or of general administration or address them for the future through new legal enactments. During the first century AD, lawmaking through one of the people’s assemblies became less frequent, while decisions of the senate became more prominent. In addition, other forms of Imperial decision, by passing legally constituted corporate bodies, achieved ever greater importance, including edicts, systematic rules and ad hoc letters to officials in the provinces, to cities or to individuals, and especially decreta, so-called constitutions, Imperial legal decisions to individuals.

Keywords: Emperor; Imperial law; Imperial administration; Imperial governance; lawmaking (Empire)

Article.  7504 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Law ; Ancient Roman History

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