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Vol 22 No 5 May/June 2017

Book of the Month

Cover of Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt

Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt

Edited by: Patricia Londono, David Eady, A.T.H. Smith, Rt. Hon Lord Eassie
Price: £319.00

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The Invention of Law in the West

ISBN13: 9780674047334
Published: January 2012
Publisher: Belknap Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £43.95

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Law is a specific form of social regulation that is distinct from religion, ethics, and even politics, and is endowed with a strong and autonomous rationality.

The invention of law, a crucial aspect of Western history, took place in ancient Rome. Aldo Schiavone, a world-renowned classicist, reconstructs this process with clear-eyed passion, following its track and structure over the centuries, setting out from the earliest origins and moving up to the threshold of Late Antiquity.

The consolidation of the Roman Empire reinforced this foundational movement. The Empire, after all, was marked by an unprecedented accumulation of power capable of creating the conditions for transforming an archaic predisposition to ritual into an unrivaled science and technology for the control of human relations.

Schiavone offers us a closely reasoned interpretative essay, set against the vast backdrop of a thousand years of Roman history. He returns us to the primal origins of Western juridical machinery and the discourse that was constructed around it - formalism, the pretense of neutrality, the relationship with political power. This is a landmark work of scholarship whose influence will be felt by classicists, historians, and legal scholars for years to come.