#4 Roman Same-Sex Marriage?

Were same-sex marriages legally recognised by Roman law?

Dear Gaius,

Martial  wrote this epigram about us (12.42):

Barbatus rigido nupsit Callistratus Afro
hac qua lege viro nubere virgo solet.
Praeluxere faces, velarunt flammea vultus,
nec tua defuerunt verba, Talasse, tibi.
Dos etiam dicta est. Nondum tibi, Roma, videtur
hoc satis? Expectas numquid ut et pariat?

Bearded Callistratus married rugged Afer in the usual form in which a virgin marries a husband. The torches shone in front, the wedding veil covered his face, and, Thalassus, you did not lack your words. Even the dowry was declared. Are you still not satisfied, Rome? Are you waiting for him to give birth? (trans. D. R. S. Bailey)

We’re both men; can we be married according to Roman law?


Callistratus and Afer.

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#3 Finders Keepers?

Gaius explores a case of theft-by-finding.

Dear Gaius,

I was out shopping for a new chariot earlier and I found a pouch containing 20 sesterces (HS 20) just lying on the floor. I picked it up and took it home, but I think some bystanders saw me. I’m an honest bloke really. What should I do?

Gaius Appuleius Diocles.

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#2 The Unfaithful Peacock, Part II

The peacock saga continues: is Claudia’s neighbour liable for theft?

Dear Gaius,

Thank you for your reply (responsum). I’m sad that the peacock is no longer mine. I feel like I’ve been unfairly treated by my surly neighbour – after all, it was his fault the peacock ran away in the first place. Is there anything I can do?

Claudia Metella.

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#1 The Unfaithful Peacock, Part I

Gaius advises his first client on the suspicious relocation of her peacock.

Dear Gaius,

My peacock was chased off my property by my surly neighbour. It now lives in his yard. I miss my peacock. Is it still mine?


Claudia Metella.

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Better Call Gaius!

Gaius sets up his advice branch and looks forward to his first case.


My name is Gaius – just Gaius – it’s because I’m so great, like Pele. I was the best Roman lawyer, ever. Some people say I wasn’t outstanding, but what do they know? They don’t even know when I was born (about 110 CE, by the way), or when I died (179 CE? I can’t remember – long time ago).

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The Gnomon of the Idios Logos

Meet the Gnomon of the Idios Logos – a handbook of administrative law from Roman Egypt.

The Museum Island in Berlin is home to some of the most extensive collections of ancient artefacts in the world. Like the British museum, each museum on the island deserves more time than the single day I was able to devote to them when I visited in September last year. Nevertheless, I’ve picked out one piece that grabbed my attention – for no other reason than that it provides a snapshot of the colourfulness of law and life in the ancient world.

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