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Romans Roman Law was the law that was in effect throughout the age of antiquity in the City of Rome and later in the Roman Empire. When Roman rule over Europe came to an end, Roman law was largely–though not completely–forgotten. (Ancient Rome, Comptons 96) The earliest code of Roman Law was the Law of the Twelve Tables.

It was formalized in 451-450BC from existing oral law by ten magistrates, called decemvirs, and inscribed on tablets of bronze, which were posted in the principal Roman Forum. According to tradition, the code was drawn up to appease the plebes, who maintained that their liberties were not adequately protected by the unwritten law as interpreted by patrician judges. (Ancient Rome, Comptons 96) Originally ten tablets of laws were inscribed; two more tablets were added the following year. The tablets were destroyed in the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 390BC, but a number of the laws are known through references in later Latin literature. The Twelve Tables covered al!l categories of the law and also included specific penalties for various infractions.

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