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was devoted, morally as well as physically, to the satisfaction of the tastes and caprices of the proud city. A perpetual contact with foreigners, with Greece, with Asia, with the most delicious countries of the ancient world, with those in which civilization was the most enlightened,— could not sail to produce a reaction upon the spirit of Roman society; the effect of which was, at length, to destroy the old political and religious ties, but, at the same time, to enrich the imagination, to develop the ideas, and to give new energy to the action of all the faculties; and thus the well-being of the social state, in the capital of the world, became in the end that of humanity itself. Rome was reduced to the necessity of choosing between her ancient manners protected by a systematized barbarism, and a revolution with all the enjoyments of civilization. Cato preferred the first, but Rome and the empire preferred the second. In a word, the republic, by the action of its own elements, had become a worn out and impossible institution, and must of necessity perish. But the society which destroyed the republic survived its destruction; and, in surviving it, attained the brilliancy which it exhibited under Augustus and the first emperors. It was destroyed in its turn by the form of government which necessity imposed upon it:— the ordinary fate of institutions adopted in similar circumStanceS. In this section, we shall inquire: first, what was the state of the culture of letters and of law during this period; second, what was the influence of the stoic philosophy upon the science of law; third, what persons were connected with the progress of the science; and, fourth, what was the condition of the law during this same period. For six centuries, Rome seems to have been completely ignorant of those branches of knowledge, which we are accustomed to designate under the name of literature and WOL. XXV.-NO. XLIX. 4
philosophy. The first rays of this admirable light of the human mind came from Greece, which Rome had subjected to her arms; but such was the rudeness of the Roman character, that the rigid patriots of Rome long regarded the letters of Greece as amusements unworthy of freemen, and as the appanage of servitude and corruption. They thought that letters impressed the seal of slavery upon whomsoever devoted himself to their culture. A long time elapsed before the Scipios and Leliuses dared to declare themselves the admirers of Grecian literature, and to encourage their fellow citizens in its study; but, at last, the voice of jealous patriotism was stifled, and the culture of foreign literature was adopted by all that was generous and enlightened among the citizens of Rome. The study of Greek literature became the fashion. This invasion of a foreign literature impressed a peculiar character upon that of Rome. If the Romans had already been in possession of a proper and national literature, when they learned to appreciate that of the Greeks, it would doubtless have been improved by a comparison with foreign models; but, in this case, it would certainly have preserved its national character, the originality of which would have been distinctly perceptible in all its productions. But it was not so; and the Roman literature, forming itself exclusively upon that of the Greeks, was destitute of originality. Roman literature, as is remarked by Schoell," is a literature of imitation, which has produced beautiful copies of admirable models, but which can scarcely boast of even a small number of master pieces, the originals of which are not to be found in Greek literature. The inspiration of the Roman poets, according to a German author, more resembles the flame produced by friction, than that divine fire which is engendered of itself in the bosom of the muses.
'Abridged History of Roman Literature, vol. i.
The result which we have stated does not present itself to our observation relatively to the law; the culture of which was indeed greatly influenced by the literature and philosophy of Greece; but, as the elements of a national law already existed, deeply engraven in the manners and minds of the people, the foreign literature operated upon this first national germ and warmed it into life, without creating an art before unknown or revealing a new science: it improved that which already existed; it facilitated the transition from the state of practice to the state of science; but it left upon the law its national impress. This is the cause why the Roman jurisprudence is a richer and more original product than the Roman literature. The Roman law is the most magnificent work of Roman civilization.
In regard to the general history of the culture of the law, it would be in vain to attempt to trace, in detail and with precision, the different modifications which it underwent during this period, inasmuch as the necessary materials are wanting. It has already been remarked, that the patricians had ceased to be the sole possessors of the knowledge relative to law; they had likewise ceased to have the exclusive monopoly of other branches of human knowledge. It has also been stated, that during this period, jurisprudence ceased to be connected so intimately as it had been before with religion; and, lastly, we have observed, that the study of the law of nations kept pace with that of the civil law; and that the law took rank among the moral sciences, since a great number of works were written upon subjects belonging to its domain.
There is another fact, which denotes an important progress in this period, namely: the opening of a school for the teaching of law at Rome, by Tiberius Coruncanius, of which we have already spoken, and of which we shall have occasion to speak again, in the following chapter. This event, which must have exercised a great influence upon the study of law at Rome, has been made the subject of a dissertation by Mr. Schrader.' It may be presumed, with reason, that the principal plebeians, excited by this example, devoted themselves to a public explanation of the principles of law. On the one hand, says Hugo, they had no clients, and, on the other, their profession of jurisconsult inspired much confidence in them; and they made it their business, accordingly, to turn these advantages to the best account. This invasion of the profession of jurisprudence by the plebeians must have hastened the fall of the institution of clientage; and, if it did not increase the renown of the science, it must at least have increased the emulation of the men of all ranks, who devoted themselves to its culture. These prudent men (prudentes, jurisconsulti,) soon formed a class especially distinguished, to which the public were under many obligations, as we have seen in the preceding chapter: It quitum jura condiderant, says Gaius. Before Coruncanius, it seems that a knowledge of the law did not constitute an object of instruction, but rather of a kind of initiation, from which the plebeians were excluded. This plebeian jurisconsult consequently effected a revolution by opening the temple of the science to the citizens of his cast.” As to the mode of instruction, we have nothing which resembles what was then practised at Rome. The young Romans who studied the law went to the forum with those of the jurisconsults who had given them permission to do so; they attended at the conferences which the latter held at their houses; they learned by heart the twelve tables; and it is not improbable that the principles
In Hugo's Magazine, vol. v. p. 187 and following.
* Ante Tiberium Coruncanium publice professum neminem traditur; casteri autem ad hunc, vel in latenti, jus civile retinere cogitabant, solumque consultatoribus vacare potius quam discere valentibus se praestabant. Pomponius fr. 2. § 35, D. de orig. jur.
of the law were explained to them in primary schools. They afterwards learned by heart the praetorian edict. But there was not as yet any public school specially devoted to the science of law. Jurisprudence was not a particular profession; nor were there, as with us in France, any functions exclusively reserved for those citizens who were versed in this preliminary knowledge. After the time of Coruncanius, the civil law was the object of several written works, which, however, were composed without art. Servius Sulpicius, whose eulogium we read in Cicero," was the first who put some order into jurisprudence, according to the principles of dialectics. He distinguished the divers parts of law, gave definitions,—and collected some general rules. But philosophy soon furnished the assistance of its methods; and the disputes of the philosophers penetrated a science hitherto very remote from speculative philosophy. The first steps of the renovated science were marked by many disputes. The stoic jurisconsults were opposed in opinion to the peripatetics; both struggled together against the principles of Epicurus; but all three contributed to shed a new light on jurisprudence. The mind, before undecided, now found out a surer way; and the use of definitions and distinctions facilitated both the teaching and the understanding of general principles. The propriety of terms then began to be studied with rigorous care. Servius Sulpicius, among others, devoted himself to this important study; and, in order to discover the primitive signification of words and to trace their history, he frequently consulted the celebrated Varro. The admission of philosophy into the science was a step which could not fail to produce the most fruitful results, especially when philology had been enlightened by philosophy. If it be true, that all science may be reduced to a language well | Phillipp. ix. 5.