Plebiscita until 287 BC in Livy's History



Year of publication 2015
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Through selected model examples, the chapter demonstrates the methodology of a historian who deals with a legal term – a plebiscitum – in the period of early Roman history. His/her work chiefly consists in processing preserved literary works of ancient authors whose content is primarily not of legal nature. That is why also the parts dealing with plebiscita are not extensive and the work of a historian starts already with searching and discerning those parts of texts that are concerned with the plebiscita. Such text passages that are pointing to legal terms usually take the form of short sentences or their segments, which is why the historian must know the way in which the legal terms or acts can be expressed by ancient authors (what phrases can be used). Recognition can be unequivocal but also unclear, and in such cases it is helpful if the events in question are mentioned in some other, extant ancient sources. However, even then, and even after a comparison with other sources, unambiguous recognition of a plebiscitum is not guaranteed, and the result can remain precarious. The chapter introduces various results that can be reached by a historian studying the topic of plebiscita.
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