John Percy Vyvian Dacre Balsdon and Barbara Levick
Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and R. S. O. Tomlin
Consistorium, the name given to the imperial consilium from the time of *Diocletian, since the members no longer sat but stood in the emperor's presence. It functioned both as a general council of state and as a supreme court of law. Its membership depended on the emperor's choice but normally included the principal civil and military officers of the imperial court (comitatus), former holders of these offices, and appointed members known as comites consistoriani who held no office; these last included legal experts, mostly drawn from the Bar. Its minutes were kept by the imperial notarii, secretaries who might also serve as confidential emissaries and rise to high office, but in the 5th cent. their clerical duties passed to *agentes in rebus and subordinates of the *magister memoriae. Its sessions were called ‘silences’ (silentia), and its ushers silentiarii. The consistory was an active council of state during the 4th cent., but its time was increasingly filled by ceremonial business, and by the 5th cent. its proceedings appear to have become entirely formal.
Peter Sidney Derow
Piero Treves and Andrew Lintott
Contract was one of the four branches of the law of obligations set out in Justinian Institutiones 3. 13. However, it constituted a law of specific contracts rather than a law of contract based on a uniform set of principles. According to Gaius Institutiones 3. 89 and Justinian Inst. 3. 13. 2 contracts fell into four classes. They could arise
By far the most important of the verbal contracts was the stipulation (*stipulatio); others were the promise of a dowry (dotis dictio) and a freed slave's promise of services (promissio operarum). Real contracts were of four kinds.
M. I. Finley and Keith Bradley
Contubernium meant a ‘dwelling together’, as of soldiers or animals, but referred especially to a quasi-marital union between slave and slave or slave and free. Since a slave lacked juristic personality, a contubernium was not a marriage but a factual situation, at the pleasure of the slave-owner, creating no legal consequences despite the use of such words as uxor, maritus, or pater, even in legal texts. Children were the property of the mother's owner; no slave-woman could be guilty of adultery; manumission of one or both parents need not extend to their issue. Sepulchral inscriptions indicate that contubernia were highly valued. But how widespread de facto slave ‘families’ were and which social contexts best favoured them cannot be accurately known. Slave-owners always retained the right to separate slave family members, and commonly did so to judge from records of slave sales and bequests.
For bibliography see