2007 Archive


Roman Law Scholars Convene: All Roads Lead to Robbins Collection

Robbins Group

A group of international specialists in Roman law and Greek and Latin Philology has turned to Boalt's renowned Robbins Collection as work begins on a new critical edition of Roman legal texts, the first installment in a project expected to continue over the next decade.

The team of scholars gathered at Boalt Hall for a week in July 2006 to plan the first volume that will build on the writings of Roman law scholar Otto Lenel, whose 1889 Palingenesia juris civilis has served as a fundamental text of Roman jurisprudence and the history of legal thought in civil law countries for generations. The newly initiated Corpus Scriptorum Iuris Romani project is organized by the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (IISU)—a research institute within the public Italian university system—together with more than a dozen universities in Italy, Germany, Spain and France. Leading the editorial team is Aldo Schiavone, professor of law and IISU director.

The inaugural meeting was organized by Schiavone and Boalt professor Laurent Mayali and hosted by the Robbins Collection, which ranks among the foremost research libraries in the world in the fields of religious and civil law. In addition to its more than 340,000 titles, the collection also includes microfilm of all the medieval canon and Roman law manuscripts in the Vatican Library.

Julianne Gilland, assistant director of the Robbins Collection, explained that the aim of the project is to produce a series of volumes to be published during the next 10 years. Each volume will focus on one or more the Roman jurists, and include an introduction to his career and work, a reconstitution of the existing fragments of his writings, and a modern Italian translation of these passages from Latin annotated for the reader.

"Because this editorial team consists of experts from many different countries, it was crucial that this initial meeting take place where they would have all the resources they needed to work together intensively and synthesize a great deal of information within a short time for this … phase," Gilland said. "Working at the Robbins Collection enabled them to do that."

The July gathering also paid tribute to David Daube, a preeminent Roman law scholar who began his studies of Roman law with Otto Lenel in Germany as a young student and taught at Boalt for 23 years. Daube died in 1999.

1/23/2007