December 10, 2011

Theodor Mommsen's View of Roman Public Law

Fabio Espitia Garzon, Universidad Externado de Colombia, has published Dictadura,'Estado De Sitio' Y Provocatio Ad Populum En La Obra De Mommsen (Dictatorship, 'State of Siege' and Provocatio Ad Populum in the Works of Mommsen) in number 21 of the Revista de Derecho Privado (2011). Here is the abstract.

In this contribution the author returns to the Mommsen’s Roman Public Law, to establish if addressing issues of dictatorship and provocatio ad populum, the imposing German jurist also adopted bourgeois ideology, and in doing so superposed ideas and schemes foreign to the Roman concepts, ignoring the specificity of the different powers granted in the Roman dictatorship. The author indicates that the view of Mommsen’s Roman dictatorship reflects the design of Montesquieu, ignoring that this attribution was a summa potestas limited only in some cases led to discretionary exercise of criminal repression; hence the easy confusion between dictatorship and tyranny as a form of government, this confusion is characteristic of bourgeois thought. Likewise, the author notes that the Mommsen’s proposal also ignore Machiavelli, who asserted that no dictator ever caused to the republic than benefits, and emphasized its temporary and limited powers, and Rousseau, who remembered that a dictator could in certain cases suspend civil liberties but without ever undermining them.

Download the full text of the article from SSRN at the link. NB: the text is in Spanish.

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