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THE COMMENTARIES OF
TRANSLATED WITH NOTES BY
J. T. ABDY, LL.D.
REGIUS PROFESSOR OF LAWS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW OF THE NORFOLK CIRCUIT:
FORMERLY FELLOW OF TRINITY HALL;
BRYAN WALKER, M.A., M.L.
FELLOW AND LECTURER OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE,
AND LAW LECTURER OF ST JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE;
FORMERLY LAW STUDENT OF TRINITY HALL AND
CHANCELLOR'S LEGAL MEDALLIST
Dixi saepius post scripta geometrarum nihil exstare quod vi aс
No one who watches the progress of legal literature in England can fail to observe the recent remarkable development of the study of Roman law in our country. Fourteen years ago the learned author of Ancient Law, in his admirable essay on Roman Law and Legal Education1, pointed out the fact as even then visible. In that essay, which for its exhaustive reasoning and eloquent advocacy of the merits of the law of Rome can never be too often noticed nor too frequently perused, the writer mentions one special cause why Roman Law has a peculiar value to Englishmen. "It is," he says, "not because our own jurisprudence and that of Rome were once alike that they ought to be studied together; it is because they will be alike. It is because in England we are slowly and perhaps unconsciously or unwillingly, but still steadily and certainly, accustoming ourselves to the same modes of legal thought and to the same conceptions of legal principles to which the Roman jurisconsults had attained after centuries of accumulated experience and unwearied cultivation." Nor should it be forgotten, as he points out, that the literature in which Roman legal thought and legal reasoning are enshrined is the product of men singularly remarkable for wide learning, deep research, rare gifts of logical acumen, and "all the grand qualities which we identify with one or another of the most distinguished of our own greatest lawyers and greatest thinkers."
It is then a matter for congratulation that what may be fairly called a revival has taken place in this branch of learning; and that in our own University the study of Roman Law, which has always had a footing here, although in later times frequently but a feeble one, has fixed its hold more firmly amongst the other studies of the place. Unfortunately our knowledge of Roman Law has been for many years past circumscribed within
1 Cambridge Essays, published by J. W. Parker and Son in 1856.