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The Laws of the Roman People

Public Law in the Expansion and Decline of the Roman Republic

Subjects: Classical Studies, Roman, History, Law, Law and Society, Political Science, Political History
Hardcover : 9780472110537, 534 pages, 40 tables, 4 maps, 6 x 9, April 2005
Ebook : 9780472025428, 534 pages, 40 tables, 4 maps, February 2010
Paperback : 9780472036615, 534 pages, 40 tables, 4 maps, 6 x 9, December 2015
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A major contribution to understanding the role of public law-making in the Roman Republic

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Copyright © 2005, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


For hundreds of years, the Roman people produced laws in popular assemblies attended by tens of thousands of voters to publicly forge resolutions to issues that might otherwise have been unmanageable. Callie Williamson's book,The Law of the Roman People, finds that the key to Rome's survival and growth during the most formative period of empire, roughly 350 to 44 B.C.E., lies in its hitherto enigmatic public lawmaking assemblies which helped extend Roman influence and control. Williamson bases her rigorous and innovative work on the entire body of surviving laws preserved in ancient reports of proposed and enacted legislation from these public assemblies.

Callie Williamson holds a Ph.D. in Roman history from the University of London and is practicing law in North Carolina.

"This intellectually powerful and highly original book examines Roman expansion through the lens of public lawmaking, the process of negotiation and debate by which citizen assemblies resolved conflict and expressed consensus. Williamson incisively examines how problems of expansion were managed, and boldly argues that in the end it was expansion itself—both of the electorate and its leadership—that overwhelmed the problem-solving capacities of public lawmaking and led to the breakdown of the Republic."
—American Historical Association

- American Historical Association

"[The Laws of the Roman People] is stimulating and significant. It is tackling hugely important and difficult questions."
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

- Elizabeth A. Meyer

"In this extraordinary book, Williamson takes on a daunting and demanding subject—the character and consequences of Roman expansion in Italy over a period of 300 years, the incorporation of Italic peoples into the Roman system, and the resultant tensions and pressures that culminated in the fall of the Republic. No brief review can begin to do justice to the richness and complexity of this work."
Journal of Interdisciplinary History

- Erich Gruen

". . . important and learned . . .well-argued and provocative . . ."

- K. W. Harl

Winner: American Historical Association (AHA) 2007 James Henry Breasted Prize for the best book in English on any period before 1000 A.D.


"Anyone with an interest in ancient Rome, regardless of their level of interest in law and government, will find Williamson's work relevant and thorough."

- MOlly Jones-Lewis