‘Amne Adverso’ Means ‘Looking Upstream’. Remarks on the Book by Laurent Waelkens, ‘Amne Adverso’. Roman Legal Heritage in European Legal Culture (Leuven University Press, 2015)

Paulina Święcicka


Arnaldo Momigliano, an Italian historian and an internationally renowned professor of classics and Roman law in particular, in the late sixties of the twentieth century, expressed the view about the end of the history of law as a discipline independent from positive law. This opinion led to the formation of two different approaches towards the study of Roman law: researchers practicing pure history of the ancient world (the so-called “antiquisti”), who combine historical and philological sciences and are detached from the contemporary law; and legal historians, who regard dialogue between legal historians, including Romanists, and representatives of various legal dogmatics as necessary. The first approach undoubtedly marginalises Roman law in the context of disciplines taught at universities, while the second one allows a discursive cooperation with other disciplines of law, especially positive law and legal comparatistics, or even theory and philosophy of law. According to supporters of the second approach, modern law dates back to Roman law which provides the basis for agreement between academics.
From time to time reformers of legal studies have stressed the need for such model of legal studies which would equip graduates with knowledge that prepares them in the best way for their future profession, which undoubtedly is of paramount importance for the proper functioning of society. Lectures on Roman law, in its ancient and subsequent incarnations, make sense when the taught materia is associated with problems disputed in the current curriculum studiorum. What is more, the search for cross-references between various scientific materiae is a rational postulate on the level of scientific research, especially that its strength is reflected by the quality of research.
The presented review of ‘Amne Adverso’. Roman Legal Heritage in European Legal Culture (Leuven University Press, 2015), the book by Laurent Waelkens, not only discusses the content, but addresses as well such issues as the presence and shape of law in Roman antiquity and its topicality for subsequent generations of lawyers - representatives of different historical schools. Finally, the review presents a possible rational model of the presence of Roman law in modern academic reality, particularly in today legal education.

Słowa kluczowe: Roman law, reception of Roman law, importance of tradition of Roman law, model of teaching of Roman law.

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