The Romans wrote solemn religious, public, and legal documents on wooden tablets often coated with wax. This book investigates the historical significance of this resonant form of writing and its power to make documents efficacious. It traces its role in court, its spread to the provinces (an aspect of Romanization) and its influence on the evolution of Roman law. Elizabeth Meyer reveals how Roman legal documents on tablets are the ancestors of today's dispositive legal documents--the document as the act itself. In a world where knowledge of Roman law was scarce (and enforcers scarcer), Roman law drew its authority from a wider world of belief.
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