Roman Jurists and the Emperor’s Constitution

Roman Jurists and the Emperor’s Constitution

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Roman Jurists and the Emperor’s Constitution

The constitution of the Roman Empire dates back years ago. Notably, the constitution consisted of unwritten rules and principles which the citizens of the empire passed from one generation to the next. The balance of power in the empire shifted from the Roman Senate to the Roman emperor after the fall of the roman republic. The shift in power enabled the emperor to issue decrees on how to rule the empire. Through the ability to command that the empire bestowed upon himself, the roman emperor issued orders that governed the entire region, including Rome itself, the army, and all other areas within the territory. Nevertheless, the debate on the effectiveness of the decrees to foster peace and unity among the citizens has raged on for many years. While some scholars argued that the orders favored the wealthy citizens, other scholars say that the decrees ensured good governance. The Roman law on sea shore aims at enabling all the citizens to utilize the seas for their benefit.  The law also ensures that people do not pollute the sea, thus leading to the degradation of the environment. Nevertheless, the jurists can justify the laws within the roman constitution since it ensured unity and quick resolution of disputes within the empire.

Case 3.1

Paul, in the fifty-fourth book of the Edict, quotes the words of Nerva, who says that people begin the ownership of the property through natural possession. The ownership through natural possession includes all the naturally-occurring gemstones and islands which arise from the sea as well as all the property captured during the war. The law says that the person who first acquires the possession of the items becomes the legal owner of the property. The roman jurists can justify the emperor’s rule on open access. First, possession since the utilization of the marine resources provided a source of income for the members of the empire. Besides, the sea acted as a primary mode of transport for the empire, and the acquisition of the shore by a private entity would hamper the economic activities of the empire. Therefore, Stilicho broke the law by building a wall on the shore to prevent people from accessing the shore.

Case 3.2

The Roman law distinguishes between the right of possession and control from the concept of community-owned resources. The roman emperor stated that all the seashores that are within the sovereignty of the empire belong to the Roman people, and any citizen has the right to mine the resources within the shore. The Roman law equates the sea and the beaches to light, air and running water, which, even if the state decided to appropriate it to private ownership, it would become impossible to do so. Roman law also recognizes the need to protect the environment. The law says that the authorities would deny an individual the right to use the sea and its shore if the activities of the personal harm the environment. The act is justifiable since the sea was a primary transport system within the Roman Empire, and bequeathing to an individual would result in economic strife. Although the sea did not hold precious minerals, fish were abundant and formed a crucial source of food. The actions of Stilicho to block people from accessing the sea and the shore meant that the citizens of the empire did not have enough food for days.

Case 3.3

Roman law also explains the difference between public property and private property. Notably, the law already establishes that fishing in the sea is common to all the citizens of the empire. Besides, the jurists justified the act of preventing someone from cultivating in their land. On the other hand, individual scholars argue that people who own houses within the vicinity of the sea can bring a claim of outrage against a person using the sea directly in front of the house. The main point in their argument emanates from the ownership of land that government grants people despite the land being naturally-occurring. Nonetheless, the jurists can justify the Roman law that states that a person cannot bring a claim of outrage against a person using the sea in front of a private residence since the sea is communal. While the law allows people to own land, the ownership of the sea is impossible, and people should find suitable places to construct houses to avoid conflicts with people using the sea.

Case 3.4

The Roman law says that although most things belong to various individuals and the persons can acquire them in various ways; certain things belong to no one. The law states that natural elements such as the seashore, running water, and air are natural, and they belong to everybody. Nevertheless, the emperor limited the use of the seashore within the boundaries of the empire. While wind and running water do not have any limitations, seashores have boundaries between the different sovereign states. Therefore, the jurists failed to explain whether the sea was accessible to all of the citizens of the country only. Nevertheless, the actions of Stilicho to build blockades prevented the use of the sea by both the citizens of the sea as well as the foreigners. Since the sea was a crucial transport mode for the traders of the empire, the jurists can justify the roman decree, which ensured that the sea was communal.

Case 3.5

The English definition of the shore is the land along the edge of the lake, sea, ocean, or any other large water body. Roman law defined the beach differently. The law says that the shore is the farthest point where the most significant wave reaches. The jurists can justify the law on the definition of the shore since the sea is naturally-occurring, and the waves depend on the tide. Besides, the jurists believe that controlling the sea waves was unnecessary since the waves may have aided the fishermen in catching the fish. Since the Roman law also aims at protecting the sea, the actions of Stilicho meant that he was harming the environment by constructing ramparts along the shore. Besides, the ships of the Roman fishermen would find it difficult to use the shore.

Case 3.6

Though the law says that the shore does not belong to anybody, it does not prohibit anyone from building a structure on it. Therefore, the Roman emperor allowed the people to build cabins on the shores to which they may retreat once in a while or build racks to dry their fishing nets. The shore is naturally-occurring, and it is not like the fish which become the property of the person who caught them. Therefore, Stilicho had the right to own the ramparts that he built on the shore unless they blockaded other citizens of the state from using the shore. Thus, the jurist had a justifiable reason to illegalize the ramparts since they breached the law on public use of the sea.

Case 3.7

The Roman states that the shore is the farthest place that the most significant wave can reach. Nevertheless, the law does not prevent people from building structures on the beach. Due to the intensity of waves during storms, people could build breakwaters to curb the waves. Besides, people could build breakwaters to act as harbors. Therefore, the law seeks to prevent conflicts among the users of the sea by allowing individuals to bring lawsuits against the owners of the breakwaters if the structures cause harm to others. The actions of Stilicho caused great suffering to the Roman citizens since the ramparts they built did not allow them to fish. Generally, the law aims at preventing corrupt people from destroying the environment of the seashore or build structures that hinder other members of society from benefit from the sea. On the other hand, if an analysis of the breakwater shows that it does not cause any harm to the citizens, the law protects the owner of the structure.

Case 3.8

The Roman emperor noted that many people own farms along the shores of the sea. Nevertheless, the people added the acreage of the sands to their farms when they wanted to sell the farms. Therefore, the Roman emperor decreed that the seashore was not part of anybody’s farm. The jurists can justify the law since the addition of the acreage of the shore to an individual’s property only benefits the owner of the farm. Jurists argue that the addition of shoreline is similar to the addition of roads to a person’s property. While the shore should benefit the entire empire, the addition of acreage to a person’s farm breaches the principle of communal ownership of the land.

Case 3.9

The Roman law allows all citizens of the Roman Empire to approach the sea to fish. Nevertheless, the persons must keep away from the villas, tombs, and other buildings since the people who constructed them have the legal right to own them. During the era of the Roman Empire, the shores did not hold many precious gemstones. Therefore, fishing was an important economic activity. The jurists can justify the law since they are protecting the livelihoods of the citizens of the empire. Besides, they are protecting the right to ownership of property on the seashore as the law on breakwaters stipulates. Stilicho threatens the livelihoods of many people e by blockading the shore from the Romans.

Case 3.10

The Roman law on contract focuses on good faith. The jurists can justify the law by stating that without good faith, many people would not enforce agreements. Besides, after the parties would not execute, disputes would arise. Although the Roman emperor decreed that people cannot dictate the use of the shore, the buyers of the Geronian farm must execute the contract they signed with the seller as an act of good faith.

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