Chapter 25. Law in Practice

  1. Philip Rousseau
  1. Caroline Humfress Reader

Published Online: 9 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444306101.ch25

A Companion to Late Antiquity

A Companion to Late Antiquity

How to Cite

Humfress, C. (2009) Law in Practice, in A Companion to Late Antiquity (ed P. Rousseau), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444306101.ch25

Editor Information

  1. Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Early Christian Studies, The Catholic University of America, USA

Author Information

  1. School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 9 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 30 JAN 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405119801

Online ISBN: 9781444306101



  • empire, kingdom, and beyond;
  • Later Roman Empire;
  • emperors and the Law in Late Antiquity - Roman emperors tightening their autocratic grip on substantive legal principles;
  • law in practice and late Roman law-making;
  • Consuetudo (customary law) - as source of law in late antique disputes and legal arrangements;
  • Late antique defixiones (curse tablets) - social practices concerned with seeking justice;
  • Late Roman emperors - exclusive authority to make law


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction: Emperors and the Law in Late Antiquity

  • How to do Things with Laws in Late Antiquity

  • Seeking Justice

  • Conclusion

  • Bibliographical Note