Seminar in memory of Dieter Nörr, February 2019

Seminar in memory of Dieter Nörr, February 2019

Munich is such a wonderful city, but if you work in the law of antiquity, especially Roman law, a trip to Munich is a special joy. The library of the Leopold-Wenger-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte is simple and perfect: desks, electricity, and all the books. You always see the people you want to see and never see enough, and there's a lovely rhythm of work, food, and walks in the English Garden.

Last week I was there for a congress to celebrate the memory of Dieter Nörr, who until 1999 held the chair in Roman law at Munich, and who died in 2017. Prof Nörr had a lot of admirers, and his warmth as a colleague and host was the least of it. He did many things (e.g., papyrology and inscriptions, court procedure, legal philosophy), and all of them well. These fields closely intersect, which means that a congress of his admirers is a very happy group indeed.

Johannes Platschek, the current holder of the chair in Munich, brought us together for two days, one day devoted mostly to remembrances, and the second day to papers. Contributors spoke on subjects and sources that Prof Nörr himself pursued. The oldest of the sources discussed was from ancient Mesopotamia (Gerhard Ries, Munich, discussed a species of blameworthiness in the Code of Hammurabi), but most of the papers with philological themes dealt with papyri from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt.


Roman law was treated in half the papers: José-Domingo Rodríguez Martín (Complutense Madrid) took the audience through a legal phrase ('without debate') which seemed to appear in three legal systems (Greek, Egyptian, and Roman) over nearly a millennium. Robert Frakes (California State) introduced a 9th century bifolium which preserves part of the Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum, a much-used source for Roman law from the fourth century. Éva Jakab (Szeged) spoke on a 2nd century document from Kent in England: to an earlier editor it seemed to attest some kind of boundary adjudication, but there were reasons to think it might attest a sale. (Confession: I always feel foolishly pleased when British evidence comes into a Roman conversation. Patriotic pride? I also sometimes dream of finding a Roman tablet in my back garden.)

My own contribution, which doesn't deserve a paragraph to itself, and yet here we are, dealt with the Roman praetor and the difficulty litigants had in making simple submissions to him. His reluctance to adjudicate meant that litigants were always finding incongruous ways of introducing arguments and pleas.

A perfect congress. I attended with my fellow Glaswegian (and predecessor), Olivia Robinson, who chaired a session of papers. All of the contributors gathered on the final evening for a splendid (really splendid) dinner, with all the dishes you go to Munich to eat. My deepest thanks to Johannes Platschek for bringing us together.

Internationales Seminar im Gedenken an Dieter Nörr, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Antike Rechtsgeschichte und Papyrusforschung), 19-20 February 2019.

Papers and speakers:


José Luis Alonso, Universität Zürich: Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht, Juristische Papyrologie und Privatrecht

Zur Strafbarkeit versuchter Delikte im Recht des Alten Mesopotamien

Gerhard Ries, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München: Leopold-Wenger-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte

Eine Klausel, drei verschiedene Rechtssysteme. Überlegungen zur Verbreitung, Kommunikation und Rezeption von Rechtsinstitutionen in der Antike

José-Domingo Rodríguez Martín, Universidad Complutense Madrid: Departamento de Derecho Romano

The Paramone in context: a formulaic exegesis

Uri Yiftach-Firanko, Tel Aviv University: Classical Studies

Zum sogenannten Dikaiomata-Papyrus P.Hal. 1

Claudia Kreuzsaler, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien: Papyrussammlung

Kritisches zu einer Kaufurkunde aus Britannia: Abweichendes Formular, hilfreiche Klausel

Éva Jakab, Karoli Gaspar Universität der Reformierten Kirche, Budapest: Lehrstuhl für Zivilrecht und Römisches Recht

Evidentiary Forms without Content

Ernest Metzger, University of Glasgow: Douglas Chair in Civil Law

Patterns, Puzzles, and Purpose in the Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum (or Lex Dei)

Robert M. Frakes, California State University, Bakersfield: School of Arts & Humanities

Vorüberlegungen zur Frage, ob das europäische Verwaltungsrecht seine Wurzeln im Römischen Recht hat?

Christoph G. Paulus, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Lehrstuhl für Bürgerliches Recht, Zivilprozess- und Insolvenzrecht sowie Römisches Recht

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