Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
The sixth-century Digest of Justinian preserves individual extracts from four juristic treatises, entitled de officio proconsulis or praesidis and composed during the late second and early third centuries A. D. In the late 19th century the legal scholar Otto Lenel attempted to reassemble these extracts by author and work, with the goal of providing some sense of their original form. The general assumption of many scholars since then has been that these treatises were composed as instructional manuals for the Roman governor, but their original purpose and original audience have been little studied. This dissertation explores the authorship and audience of the works de officio proconsulis/praesidis by comparing the extracts from these legal works with the actual juridical activities of Roman governors as found in literary and epigraphic sources. This comparison reveals many points of correlation between the two and demonstrates that these legal works could have been useful both to the governor and provincial litigants. This study concludes that their authors likely conceived of these works more as theoretical legal treaties on the governor’s officium; however, litigious provincials and the advocates serving them could have found their contents very useful in settling their political scores and legal disputes in the courts of Roman governors, while governors or the jurists on their consilia may have occasionally consulted these handbooks in resolving cases brought before them.