Julius Pomponius Laetus


Julius Pomponius Laetus
Julius Pomponius Laetus, also known as Giulio Pomponio Leto, (1425 – 1498) was an Italian humanist, archaeologist, and Latinist who promoted the revival of ancient Roman classics and the traditions they represented. From his youth, he devoted himself to the study of Roman antiquity, and refused to learn Greek because he feared it would adversely influence his Latin style. He was a popular teacher and educated many of the great scholars of his period. He wrote treatises on archeology, the Roman magistrates, priests, and lawyers, a compendium of Roman history, and commentaries on classical authors, as well as producing numerous translations.

Laetus tried to emulate the lives of the ancient Romans, and around 1457, established the Academia Romana, a semi-secret academy dedicated to the study of antiquities and to promoting the adoption of ancient customs into modern life.

Its members adopted Greek and Latin names, met on the Quirinal to discuss classical questions and celebrated ancient Roman rites and festivals. In 1468, Laetus and twenty of the academicians were arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the order of Pope Paul II, who viewed the academy with suspicion, as promoting paganism, heresy, and republicanism. The following year, the members of the Academia were acquitted for lack of evidence and Laetus was allowed to resume his teaching duties; after the accession of Pope Sixtus IV, who also admired ancient Rome, the Academia Romana was allowed to resume its activities, which continued until 1572.


Pomponius Enchiridion. The sources of Roman law


The evaluation of Pomponius’s text has followed roughly two
paths: text criticism, which has sought to uncover the true uncorrupted
form of the text, and source criticism, which examined Pomponius’s
position and his reliability as a historical sourc

Pomponius (Enchiridion) take, for example, religion as observed towards God ; or the duty of submission to parents and country; …

Definition of Enchiridion

C. JU VE’NTIUS, a Roman jurist, one of the numerous auditores of Q. Mucius, P. f. Scaevola, the Pontifex Maximus. He is mentioned by Pom- ponius along with Aquilius Gallus, Balbus Lucilius, and Sextus. Papirius, as one of the four most emi nent pupils of Mucius. Nothing more is known of him. His works possessed high authority, and were incorporated by Servius Sulpicius in his own writings. In the time of Pomponius, the original productions of the disciples of Mucius were scarce, and were known chiefly through the books of Servius Sulpicius. (Dig. i. tit. 2. s. 2. § 42.) [J.T. G.]

T. JUVE’NTIUS, an advocate, who was much employed in private causes. He was a slow and rather cold speaker, but a wily disputant. He pos sessed considerable legal knowledge, as did also his disciple Q. Orbius, who was a contemporary of Cicero. (Brut. 48.) Ch. Ad. Ruperti thinks that the T. Juventius mentioned by Cicero is the same with the disciple of Mucius, to whom Pomponius gives the praenomen Caius. (Aniinad. inEnchirid Pomponii, iii. 8.) [J. T. G.]

From the foundation of Rome to the Twelve Tables

Our knowledge of this period is largely conjectural, from data furnished by the subsequent period. Roman history begins with pure myth and fable, then passes through a stage of blended fable and fact, and finally becomes history properly so called. The history of Roman Law has no vital interest with the petty communities and subordinate nationalities that were finally absorbed in the three ethnological elements, Latin, Sabine, and Etruscan, with which the dawn of Rome’s legal history begins.
Of these three elements the Etruscan was more advanced in civilization, with definite religious and political institutions (Ortolan). The only Etruscan text we have is that of the nymph Vegoia (lasa Veku), which recognizes the right of property and protects it with the wrath of the gods (Casati).
It is customary to speak of certain leges in the earliest historical period as leges regiœ: whether these were real statutes enacted during the regal period or the mere formulation of customary law is disputed (Bruns, introd. note to “Leges Regiœ” in “Fontes Jur. Rom. Antiqui”). There were some well established, though crude and radical, rules of private law, such as the harsh paternal power and the equally drastic right of the creditor over his unfortunate debtor. It may safely be affirmed that during this primitive period customary law was the only law.

Pomponius says: “At the beginning of our city, the people began their first activities without any fixed law and without any fixed rights: all things were ruled despotically by kings” (2, §1. D. 1. 2). In the next paragraph he speaks of the so-called leges regiœ as collected and still extant in the book of Sextus Papirius. Again, after the expulsion of the kings the people resorted to customary law. The great mass of historical facts prove that there was no private law other than custom down until this period closed with the enactment of the Twelve Tables (Stædtler). The lack of a precise definition of their rights was the principal grievance of the plebeians, and in A. U. C. 292 their tribune, Terentilius Arsa, proposed the nomination of magistrates to formulate written laws. In 303 decemvirs were appointed, and they agreed upon ten tables during the first year of their magistracy, and two additional tables the second year. The political object sought by the plebeians, namely, the fusing of both classes into one, was not attained: private rights, however, were given definite form. These laws of the Twelve Tables contained the elements from which, in process of time, the vast edifice of private law was developed.

Pomponius (Enchiridion) Accordingly it seems requisite to set forth the origin and development of law itself. 1. Now at the time of the origin of our state the citizens at large (populus) undertook at first to proceed without fixed statutes or any fixed law at all, and everything was regulated by the direct control of the kings. 2. After that, the state being more or less enlarged, the tradition is that Romulus himself divided the body
of the citizens into thirty parts, which parts he called curiai, for the reason that he exercised his care (euro) of the commonwealth in accordance with the opinions of the parts referred to. Accord-ingly he himself proposed to the people certain curiate statutes, and the kings that succeeded him did the same thing ; all which statutes exist in writing in the book of Sextus Papirus. A part also on that research Book

Pomponius Enchiridion

Publius Pomponius Secundus


PUBLIUS POMPONIUS SECUNDUS, Roman general and tragic poet, lived during the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius.

He was on intimate terms with the elder Pliny, who wrote a biography of him (now lost). The chief authority for his life is Tacitus, according to whom Secundus was a man of refinement and brilliant intellect.

His friendship with Sejanus and his brother made him politically suspect, and he only escaped death by remaining practically a prisoner in his own brother’s house until the accession of Caligula.

During his enforced retirement he composed tragedies, which were put on the stage during the reign of Claudius. In A.D. 50 he distinguished himself against the Chat ti and obtained the honour of the triumphal insignia. Quintilian asserts that he was far superior to any writer of tragedies he had known, and Tacitus expresses a high opinion of his literary abilities. Secundus devoted much attention to the niceties of grammar and style, on which he was recognized as an. authority. Only a few lines of his work remain, some of which belong to the tragedy Aeneas. See O. Ribbeck, Geschichte der romischen Dichtung, iii. (1892).

and Tragicorum Romanorum fragmenta (1897); Tacitus, Annals, v. 8, xi. 13, xii. 28; Quintilian, Inst. Orat. x. 1.98; Pliny, Nat. Hist. xiv. 5; M. Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Literatur, ii. 2 (1900); Teuffel, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), 284, 7.

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