The Lex Aquilia, likely passed by the jurist Aquilius around the year 287 BCE , superseded all previous laws of its kind under the Roman Republic. With an emphasis on the civil liability of damage to property, the Lex Aquilia represented the culmination of the rapid development of Roman law at the hands of the jurists. The notion of culpa as fault , from which the Roman jurists articulated an understanding of wrongfulness, is one such proof of this development.
By defining culpa as a tool used by the jurists to expand their notions of liability, the jurists could conceive of a foundation of wrongfulness that was wide enough to support a variety of cases under the law. By tracing a brief history of the jurists’ changing conceptions of culpa, and highlighting some of the major issues that they dealt with, it is possible to better understand the nature of the jurists’ reasoning under the Lex Aquilia. This paper will argue that the development of the legal doctrine of culpa reveals the Roman jurists’ insistence to articulate a more comprehensive classification of human behaviour before the law.
Vexilium: The Undergraduate Journal of Medieval and Classical Studies, Vol.3 (2013)