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View Full Version : Rome experts: a "legal pleader"?



Willowmound
11-26-2008, 06:55 PM
I'm doing preliminary research for what could well be a story. It's set at the beginning of our era.

I was reading Florus's account of the Germanic wars, and came across this passage:


Never was there slaughter more cruel than took place there in the marshes and woods, never were more intolerable insults inflicted by barbarians, especially those directed against the legal pleaders. They put out the eyes of some of them and cut off the hands of others...

Now. What's a legal pleader? These particular ones accompanied Varus's legions on his ill-fated campaign in 9 AD. It would seem likely that they were somehow involved in collecting taxes from the German tribes. Hence the barbarians' fury. But I don't know enough about how the Romans organized things to fully get who these pleaders were.

Help?

Willowmound
11-26-2008, 08:39 PM
I'll make it easier. The translator's legal pleaders are in fact causarum patronos. That means advocates.

So what I'm asking is, what are a bunch of advocates doing following a Roman army across Germania?

Help help?

IceCreamEmpress
11-26-2008, 09:57 PM
To quote Creasey (http://www.jrbooksonline.com/HTML-docs/victory_of_hermann_over_rome.htm):

For this purpose, the German confederates frequented the head-quarters of Varus, which seem to have been near the centre of the modern country of Westphalia, where the Roman general conducted himself with all the arrogant security of the governor of a perfectly submissive province. There Varus gratified at once his vanity, his rhetorical tastes, and his avarice, by holding courts, to which he summoned the Germans for the settlement of all their disputes, while a bar of Roman advocates attended to argue the cases before the tribunal of Varus, who did not omit the opportunity of exacting court-fees and accepting bribes. Varus trusted implicitly to the respect which the Germans pretended to pay to his abilities as a judge, and to the interest which they affected to take in the forensic eloquence of their conquerors.

MattW
11-26-2008, 10:08 PM
What do you call a pile chopped off hands of legal pleaders?


A good start!

Willowmound
11-26-2008, 10:49 PM
IceCreamEmpress,

Will you marry me?

IceCreamEmpress
11-27-2008, 12:27 AM
IceCreamEmpress,

Will you marry me?

But that would be bigamy!

(It would be big o' you, too, because I snore.)

Willowmound
11-27-2008, 02:02 AM
Next time, then.

FinbarReilly
11-28-2008, 07:13 AM
I'll make it easier. The translator's legal pleaders are in fact causarum patronos. That means advocates.

So what I'm asking is, what are a bunch of advocates doing following a Roman army across Germania?

They're just basically lawyers, needed to present both sides. After all, if the purpose of the armies are to consolidate the Roman Empire, including the new territories, it helps if they have the same legal system as you do. You don't want two separate legal systems, after all; could get confusing real quick, especially if someone subject to one system gets into a legal battle with someone subject to the other one.

Obviously, as the Roman Empire started dying, the advocates would not have been too popular and therefore subject to some pretty nasty stuff.

FR