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Managing Crises by Way of Ritualization and Exception in Roman Testamentary Succession Law

Constantin Willems

In principle, a Roman citizen could make a will only when observing a set of strictly ritualized testamentary formalities. However, in times of crises, sticking to time consuming and labor intensive rituals entails high transaction costs, while at the same time the threats experienced as a consequence of the crisis at hand increase the individual need to stipulate one’s last will. In this paper, it will be argued that throughout the centuries, from archaic times to late antiquity, Roman testamentary succession law looked for a compromise between ritualization and exception, thus managing crises in an effective way.

Roman Legal Tradition, 18 (2022), 1-22

DOI 10.55740/2022.1

This work is licensed under Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0. Copyright © 2022 by Constantin Willems. Roman Legal Tradition is published by the Ames Foundation at the Harvard Law School and the Alan Rodger Endowment at the University of Glasgow. ISSN 1943-6483.



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