Human Rights in Ancient Rome

By Richard A. Bauman | Go to book overview

4

HUMAN RIGHTS PRIOR TO HUMANITAS ROMANA

Preamble

Important as the emergence of humanitas Romana is, it is only part of the story of Roman human rights. That story is much older than the Panaetius-Aemilianus synthesis. We interrupt our chronological progression at this point in order to add a further dimension to a prelude already expanded by the inclusion of Terence's contribution.

The earlier period divides broadly into two phases. Our major focus is on the phase running from the last decade of the Second Punic War to the early second century. Scipio Africanus and his contemporaries were involved in human rights developments to a most significant, but hitherto largely neglected, extent. The preeminence of Aemilianus' adoptive grandfather in those developments may have been a significant factor in the evolution of Aemilianus' own thinking.

There are also matters of interest before the Scipionic Age. The material is of special relevance because it is here that the Latin phraseology displays its closest equivalent to the expression 'human rights', in the shape of 'ius humanum' and related expressions. Such phraseology is of course anachronistic, but its use by, especially, Livy gives a useful focal point around which something of a picture of the very early period can be built.


Early Rome:ius humanum

The earliest event purporting to involve human rights is located in the seventh century BC, in the reign of Tullus Hostilius. As already observed, the Alban leader Mettius Fufetius violates his treaty with Rome: instead of fighting at Rome's side he waits until

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Human Rights in Ancient Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface x
  • Abbreviations xii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Human Rights: the Greek Experience 10
  • 3 - Humanitas Romana 20
  • 4 - Human Rights Prior to Humanitas Romana 28
  • 5 - Human Rights in the Late Republic: Cicero 36
  • 6 - Human Rights in the Late Republic: Curbs on Ill-Treatment 51
  • 7 - The New Image of Humanitas: Part One 67
  • 8 - The New Image of Humanitas: Part Two 87
  • 9 - Man's Inhumanity to Man 112
  • 10 - Conclusion 126
  • Notes 130
  • Select Bibliography 168
  • Index to Sources 179
  • General Index 187
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