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Strafrechtlicher Schutz von Sklaven gegen Willkür ihrer Herren

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im vorchristlichen, im christlichen Altertum und im Frühmittelalter

In the 2nd century CE, Roman emperors took decisions on several cases involving slaves who had been brutally treated by their masters. Such masters had to accept that their slaves would be sold, and in some cases they themselves were even punished, e.g. by being temporarily exiled. In the early 3rd century Ulpian construed a new crime from this context, namely saevitia dominorum, to be punished extraordinarily. Diocletian undermined this in a rescript to a soldier, and Constantine openly allowed masters to punish their slaves just as they liked. Even if a punishment lead to the slave’s dead, he forbade investigation against the masters. Both the Visigothic Lex Romana and Justinian tried to come to compromises, which continued even into Frankish times, although the results were inconsistent. Only the Judeo-Christian Collatio preserved Ulpian’s concept of a new crime, but the secular lawyers took no notice of this text, whereas medieval clerical jurists did.

Affiliations: 1: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau, Institut für Rechtsgeschichte und geschichtliche Rechtsvergleichung, Platz der Alten Synagoge, D-79085 Freiburg


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