LAW OF THE TWELVE TABLES By Brett A. Shapbell
What Are the Twelve Tables? • Earliest attempt by the Romans to create a Code of Law. • Earliest Surviving Piece of Literature from the Romans.
How Did the Tables Come About? • The Struggle Between Patricians (privileged class) and Plebeians (common people). • Legal, Social Protection, and Civil Rights.
The 1st Commission • A Commission of 10 men, Known as the Decemviri. • 455 B.C.E. • Created Laws to Fill Ten Tablets. • Laws Were Already ‘Customary Law’.
The 2nd Commission • First Ten Tables were Unsatisfactory. • Especially to the Plebeians. • A 2nd Commission of men was created • 450 B.C.E. • Two Additional Tablets of Laws were Created.
Laws of the Tablets • Table I – Procedure for Courts and Trials • Table II – Trials • Table III – Debt • Table IV – Rights of Fathers over the Family • Table V – Legal Guardianship and Inheritance Laws • Table VI – Acquisition and Possession
Laws of the Tablets • Table VII – Land Rights • Table VIII – Laws of Injury • Table IX – Public Law • Table X – Sacred Laws • Table XI – Supplement I • Table XII – Supplement II
What happened to the Twelve Tablets? • The Tablets, said to have been inscribed in bronze, were most likely destroyed when the Gauls sacked and burned Rome in the invasion of 387 B.C.E.
What is the Significance of the Twelve Tables? • The Foundation of Roman Law • Settled dispute between Patricians and Plebeians • The Earliest Surviving piece of Literature coming from the Romans. • Held the Society together