Sacral Law and the Evolution of the So-called «Leges Regiae» in the 8th-6th Centuries ВС

Kofanov Leonid L.

The author pays special attention to the fact that leges regiae were thought of by the Romans as norms considering sacrifices and rites. Sacral form was given almost to all of the royal laws. The definition of the sacral law thus may be given in the following terms: «a complex of legal norms regulating relations between gods and humans, codified in the archaic period by the collegium of pontifices» and «connected with the duty to observe rituals, sacrifices and cults». Violation of sacral law was regarded by the Romans as violation of the divine will, as nefas calling for redemption. Sacral law plays a special part in a society where «religion is one of the functions of the state, where priesthood is a state institution and the state authorizes religious prescriptions». Modern theories of state and law agree that in early states legal norms are of much more complicated character than in primitive society. Therefore, a detailed analysis of the norms of the first kings is necessary. In his survey of Romulus' regulations the author points out some important elements of archaic law already present therein, e.g., separation of state norms institutionalizing power and its judicial functions from the norms regulating family, matrimonial and intertribal relations. In general, though, these norms can be viewed as pre-legal norms of late tribal society. The power was essentially of «chiefdom» type: the chief - council of elders - general assembly of tribes. The chief of the tribes combined military, administrative and sacral functions. State priesthood was practically absent. The system of taxation and fines had not yet been developed and separated from the system of sacrifices. Finally, legal norms were not yet fixed in the written form. The author then goes on to consider the norms established by the second Roman king Numa Pompilius (715-672 ВС). Obviously enough, many of these norms were typically religious taboos or mononorms of late tribal society. Indeed, a normal jurist would consider the prohibitions to make a libation of wine obtained from an unpruned vine, to consume fish not covered with scales etc. as anything but legal norms. Nevertheless, Numa's sacral code is marked with some innovations quite appropriate in archaic law of early class state. These include legal regulations relating to special bodies of state priesthood (augures, pontifices, fetiales) performing judicial, investigatory and norm-giving functions. Numa's legislation is the first to mention investigating bodies, quaestores parricidii. Numa was also the first to introduce strict sanctions aimed to protect private land possession and contracts. Another element characteristic of law proper is the distinction between premeditated murder and manslaughter, as well as differentiation of punishments according to the heaviness of fault. Lastly, Numa's sacral norms were for the first time fixed on wooden boards, thus constituting the first collection of written laws. One can also speak of some elements of systematization in Numa's norms (Dionys. II. 63-74). All this leads to the conclusion that Numa's legislation was not a simple collection of primitive mononorms. On the other hand, it cannot be called law sensu stricto, for it does not meet all the criteria applicable to law. It would be correct to regard this collection as a sum of norms reflecting active development of law in early class society. An analysis of the reforms carried out in the 6th с. ВС by the sixth king Servius Tullius makes it possible to draw some conclusions: 70 1.On the one hand, ius and fas had not yet been demarcated, though the character of the power itself and of legal norms changed considerably.