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Since 1960 my main scholarly aim has been the elucidation of private law in the last two centuries of the Roman Republic. Hence my particular pleasure when I was asked to write a book for the Edinburgh University Press and found the present subject was acceptable.
Each chapter betrays dependence on earlier works of mine-indeed this book, so different in character and intention, could not have been written ( at least, not by me) without these other studies. In the circumstances I hope my apparent indulgence in selfcitation ( and correction) will be forgiven.
Limitless encouragement and continuous criticism since 1957- even before my first work on the Republic-make it right that this book should be dedicated with affection and gratitude to Professor A. M. Honore and also to his wife, Martine.
A number of friends, scholars in ancient law, Ro-man history and anthropology, have read this book or parts of it and helped to makeit what it is. My thanks are above all due to Mr Robin Seager and to Drs Bernard Jackson, Olivia Robinson and Ian Hamnett. A special debt is owed to Mr Archie Turnbull, Secretary to the Edinburgh University Press, who suggested many improvements in style and thought.Alan Watson Edinburgh, March, 1971