I am researching the changing attitude to suicide in the third and fourth century, and Georges Minois in his History of Suicide mentions (almost in passing) that the first legal change to how suicide was dealth with, came with the Antonines. This is a very interesting observation, as it is counter to my previous assumption: that it was a change enforced by Judaeo-Christian teachings. For that reason, I am trying to find research dealing with the laws of the Antonines specifically.

I have some previous experience with the Corpus juris cīvīlis, having focused my MA thesis around it. The literature I am familirised with, however, deals with law during the principate, and what I am searching for now is research on legal writers working or addressing issues from the years 96 to 192 CE. An obvious writer to look at, is Gaius, who worked mainly during the second century, and died some time after 178. (And his strength as a legal scholar was recognised by making him one of five included in the Law of Citations.)

Finding literature dealing with this time period would be of great help to get started, but numerous literature searches on my university library’s search enginge has yielded little of interest.

What I am hoping for, therefore, is tips on scholarly literature on Antonine law, preferably through suggestions for specific contemporary authors and works.

An important key to this, is whether or not suicide was considered vīs prīvāta or vīs pūblica. If the prior, Henry John Roby’s Roman Private Law in the Times of Cicero and of the Antonines volumes Ⅰ–Ⅱ would be an excellent starting point, though I am not so sure that it was a private matter. Consider how attacks on morality was made a public matter (it was an attack on the state) by Augustan law. For that reason, I think these two volumes would be a miss.


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