In a certain sense this work is a sequel to the writer's previous investigations of humanitas (1980, 1996). While exploring that theme in a strictly criminal law context it occurred to me that Roman human rights as a whole might usefully expand the area under discussion. But it was found that there was very little in the literature apart from narrowly focussed etymological-semantic studies. A broader picture is needed, both for its own sake and because of its ability to shed light on the vital topic of human rights in today's world.
The work is cast in chronological form, covering the Roman Republic and Principate. For the Republic the main thrust is from the late third century BC to the era of Cicero and Caesar. The Principate is covered from its inception to AD 235 with the main emphasis on the period from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius. The Republican and imperial phases are treated separately, corresponding to what are in some respects significant differences between the liberal, easygoing climate of the former and the more carefully tailored, professional ambience of the latter. One of the by-products of the investigation has been the updating of some of the writer's findings on maiestas.
The book has been written with two classes of reader in mind-those primarily interested in the Roman scene, and those interested in human rights in general. In order to move the story along as briskly as possible, technical discussions are largely confined to the notes.
My sincere thanks are due to Mr Richard Stoneman, Senior Editor at Routledge, who again provided a generous measure of counsel and support; and to Professor Edwin Judge of Macquarie University, Sydney, who read part of the work in draft and made some valuable suggestions. I am also indebted to the librarians