MS 31 in the Squire Law Library at Cambridge is a collection of miscellaneous material associated with Professor William Buckland, divided into five boxes. Among the more interesting pieces here is what appears to be a typescript of a complete set of lectures on the lex Aquilia, a typescript of 78 pages running to over 30,000 words. Since anything new by Buckland is interesting, and the lex Aquilia was and remains a major topic of interest for Roman law teaching in England, the opportunity is taken to reproduce this typescript and make it available to scholars.
That the text represents lectures, rather than the draft of an article or book, seems clear. It contains occasional very obviously didactic remarks addressed to an audience, such as ‘When you come to translate this’ referring to an apparent corruption in the Latin of D.22.214.171.124, where the use of the second person would have been wholly inappropriate in an academic work. The text is littered with expressions of opinion without supporting justifications: ‘I think’ or ‘I suppose’ could hardly have been used so frequently in an academic text, still less the occasional ‘I do not know’. A number of topics are dismissed as being too unimportant or too difficult for discussion. Explicit references to secondary literature are almost exclusively to the standard works on the lex Aquilia; overwhelmingly they are to the two works which students would be expected to have access to, the translation of Digest 9.2 by Charles Henry Monro and the commentary on the lex Aquilia by Erwin Grueber, again with an English translation of Digest 9.2. The only author frequently referred to beyond this is Alfred Pernice, presumably to his standard German monograph on the subject referred to repeatedly by Grueber and Monro. There are occasional references to Theodor Mommsen without further elucidation; most of these, probably, were to his standard edition of the Digest, though Buckland would have been familiar with his other works. Beyond this, so far as the modern literature is concerned, there are just occasional references to the Textbook, that is, Buckland's Text-book of Roman Law, and passing reference to unnamed scholars. Clearly, it seems, students were not expected to engage with this modern literature.