The Ames Foundation

Legal History at Glasgow

Issues: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2006 &c ...

Volume 10 [2014]

The Enigma of Samuel Parsons Scott

Timothy G. Kearley

Samuel Parsons Scott (1846–1929) single-handedly translated into English the Corpus Juris Civilis, the Visigothic Code, and the Siete Partidas. The last of these was very well received and not long ago reprinted in a new edition. The translation of the Corpus Juris Civilis, published as The Civil Law (1932), was criticized strongly but has been consulted frequently because, until recently, it contained the only published English translation of Justinian's Code. Almost nothing has been known about Scott himself, as he was an independent scholar who lived and worked in the small American town of Hillsboro, Ohio. This article uses information obtained from Hillsboro newspapers, local histories, probate court records, and the catalog of Scott's personal library, to describe his life and the details of his work. It proposes an explanation for why he went from being a successful small-town business man, who wrote about history and his travels as an avocation, to being a recluse who devoted his last years to translating ancient laws. The article's analysis of Scott and his library also suggests some possible explanations for the flaws in his translation of the Justinianic Corpus.

I. Introduction, 2 — II. Early years, 4 — III. Civic leader, 8 — IV. Reputation lost, 10 — V. Scott's writing career, 14 — VII. Conclusion, 34 — Appendix 1: Writings of Samuel P. Scott in Chronological Order, 35 — Appendix 2: Translations of Justinianic Works in Scott's Library, 37.

[Pp. 1–37

See also the blog entry on this article


Barbara Biscotti

The Division of Wrongs: A Historical Comparative Study. By Eric Descheemaeker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. xxv + 300 pp. ISBN 9780199562794..

[Pp. 38–45


Tammo Wallinga

Iniuria and the Common Law. Edited by Eric Descheemaeker and Helen Scott. Hart Studies in Private Law, 9. Oxford and Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2013. xxxii + 244 pp. ISBN 978-1-84946-503-8.

[Pp. 46–50


Carmen Tort-Martorell

Compiling the Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum in Late Antiquity. By Robert M. Frakes. Oxford Studies in Roman Society and Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 384 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-958940-1.

[Pp. 51–57


Jorge Menabrito Paz

Das Edikt de pecunia constituta. Die römische Erfüllungszusage und ihre Einbettung in den hellenistischen Kreditverkehr. By Johannes Platschek. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2013. 292 pp. ISBN 0978-3-406-64758-1.

[Pp. 58–67

RSS Feed  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Content and design © Copyright 2021 by the editor and board of Roman Legal Tradition. All rights reserved.