Pledges of Faith: The Development of Ancient Roman Business Law and Contemporary Applications
It is no secret that the legacy of both the Roman Republic and Empire continue to influence Western culture and lifestyle today. In this thesis, I will specifically consider the development of Roman commercial and contract law. As Rome experienced continued expansion into the imperial age, commerce, use of contracts, and global trade worked to establish a robust economy in the empire. Thus, the established system of commercial law created a stable backbone that was necessary for the longevity of ancient Rome. While the modern United States is unlike Rome in many ways, many of the laws, as well as the systems of contracts that were developed by the Romans, remain relevant to corporate law today. I will be seeking answers to the following: What happened in the Roman Republic and Empire that prompted changes to occur in the legal system? What institutions impacted the development of law? How did changes in commerce and trade impact business law? The changes that occurred throughout the history of Roman business law did not happen in a vacuum, but rather shifted how this type of law would be practiced. Throughout, I will be arguing that political developments, technological advancements, and the growth of Rome enhanced the development of business law. Every reform, improvement, and modification to contracts, legal systems, and the Roman system of governance in general had a lasting impact on the future. As a result, I am interested in drawing connections between business law of the ancient world and corporate law today. Although the ancient world and the modern age are separated by thousands of years of developments, including a global economy and the internet, the practice of contract law remains similar.