Last month we examined some pre-Roman beginnings of modern admiralty doctrine, starting from pre-history through the Greek city states.  This month we will continue our study of the classical beginnings of admiralty and maritime law by examining mighty Rome – what its legal system was like, how Rome’s laws evolved and amplified the admiralty that came before them, and most importantly how Rome’s influence on maritime legal matters influenced a wide array of modern doctrines from maritime tort and contract liability to general average. I highly recommend reviewing my last article, published on February 15, before continuing on.  This will set the stage for understanding what Rome inherited and what she gave back to the western legal tradition after her downfall.
At the height of her power, Rome stretched from Scotland to Persia to Spain to Romania.  The economic and military might of the Empire was the… Read the rest