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Roman law is one of the key legal systems from which modern European law is derived. It is one of the binding factors par excellence within the European community. It is thus vital for the new Europeans' to have a sound knowledge of the historical background to the Roman law. This book presents a brief, accurate and up-to-date survey of the history of Roman law. Olga Tellegen-Couperus divides the thousand-year long history of Roman law into four periods, based on political developments. For each period there is a general outline of the sources and then a description of the territory under Roman rule and the socio-economic sitiuation. Then the political development is discussed. The last section of each chapter analyses the law, and in particular legislation, jurisdiction and legal science. The book thus offers a full introduction to the political and socio-economic background to Roman law and gives due attention to the topics which are currently much debated in Romanist litereature.