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Petitions, Litigation, and Social Control in Roman Egypt$
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Benjamin Kelly

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599615.001.0001

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Legal Control in Roman Egypt

Legal Control in Roman Egypt

(p.75) 3 Legal Control in Roman Egypt
Petitions, Litigation, and Social Control in Roman Egypt

Benjamin Kelly

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the structural features and ideological context of the legal system of Roman Egypt made it unlikely that many petitions would have ended in firm judgments which were then successfully enforced. This was the consequence of an overly complicated legal system, which had a large number of adjudicative officials with substantially overlapping jurisdictions. The system was prone to delays and open to abuse and obfuscation by litigants who wanted to delay the progress of a case. As far as we can tell, individual officials mostly discharged their duties at any given stage with efficiency and in accordance with the bureaucratic ideology of the province, which stressed diligence, propriety, and rationality. But this ideology slowed the processing of cases.

Keywords:   ideology, jurisdictions, delay, obfuscation, efficiency, diligence, propriety, rationality

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