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3 - Instruments of Legal Power in the Roman Republic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2021

Laura R. Ford
Affiliation:
Bard College, New York
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Summary

This chapter transports us to Hellenistic Rome, and to the issuance of a legal privilege from the Senate of Rome to the polis of Delphi. The chapter shows how empirical formality and substantive rationality in law came together to enable ancient legal documents to work as instruments of legal power. In seeing how Rome deployed instruments of legal power - legal privileges that performatively created and memoralized patronage relationships with subordinated peoples - to forge an empire, we see how instruments of legal power were used to create governing communities and zones of exclusivity in Mediterranean antiquity. We also see how zones of exclusivity granted to city-states like Delphi are analogous to the zones of exclusivity granted to modern corporations like Facebook, in the form of intellectual property.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Intellectual Property of Nations
Sociological and Historical Perspectives on a Modern Legal Institution
, pp. 85 - 113
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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