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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: April 2018

9 - Legal practitioners

from Contents of Volume One


My honorable teacher Woltar had departed this life. Although he often lived in discord and resentment with his wife, he was nevertheless unable to survive her death, and followed her into the grave almost immediately. I had striven to follow his footsteps and make myself at home in Roman law, and was considered a good Romanist - naturally, in as much as one can say this about a young student. This was to lead me into a rather dangerous adventure.

I had found a warm reception at the house of Schwarz, the Land-und Stadtgerichtsdirektors at that time. Now my examination was to take place zur Auskultatur [first stage of training for young jurists — oral examination] and indeed, before two Räten [lawyer/civil servant]. Schwarz, a very good-natured, witty, and only occasionally thoughtless bon vivant asked me whether I were not afraid. This seemed, given my ambition at that time, to be an attack on my dignity as a twenty-year-old. “To the contrary”, I replied impertinently, “I am hoping to have a rather difficult examination”. Schwarz, without the slightest evil intention, said to my examiners: “Watch out for this one, he will give you something to think about.” Naturally such a jest for these worthy men, regarding a boy, was not well-received, and so it may have been the case, that the first Examinator (a certain Justizrat Niewandt, who later proved very kind to me) did not wish to make the test in Roman law any easier for me. “Mr. Candidate,” he asked first, “what is the content of the Lex Julia Papia Popaea?” Such a lex is well known to contain several, often many, legal provisions, which are arranged without any particular order relating to the various branches of law. This is especially the case with regard to the above-mentioned law, in which hundreds (if I am not mistaken) of provisions from the law of inheritance, criminal law, etc. come together in a complete mish-mash. I had studied this section of law very seriously, and was well prepared for an examination on it. But, as often happens, at the moment he asked that question I could not immediately come up with the relevant answer.