By Antony Alcock (auth.)
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Extra info for A Short History of Europe: From the Greeks and Romans to the Present Day
Under the Republic all citizens were subject to the law, and citizenship conferred both civil (family and property) rights and political (election and employment) rights. On the other hand, foreigners did not have the rights of Roman citizens and were subject to ius gentium, which provided for their protection and generally governed their relations with the Roman state. The distinction between the two would end when the Emperor Caracalla made all inhabitants of the Empire Roman citizens. Under the Empire, apart from ordinances of the Senate and the edicts of magistrates the most prolific sources of law were the imperial 'constitutions', ofwhich there were three branches.
Roman law was equally comprehensive in regard to property, including its acquisition, servitudes, and usufruct; contracts and their fulfilment; debts and debtors, loans, interest, sequestration, warranty, partnership relations and the principle of caveat emptor. Roman law gave legal personality to corporations in order to ensure continuity since the rights of individuals died with them. Corporation law applied to city councils, schools, hospitals and business firms. It gave corporations the right to hold property, to sue and be sued, and laid down rules for the election of office bearers and the winding up of the institution.
Constantine's decision to choose Byzantium as the capital of his Empire was based on a number of reasons: the greater danger to the Empire perceived as coming from the Persian Empire and the Germanic tribes of the lower Danube; the greater economic resources of the East compared to the decline in the West; and the city's splendid defensive position, being surrounded on three sides by water. But there was also a religious factor. As someone who believed, after the Milvian Bridge, that he was responsible for the protection and development of the Church, he was affronted by the traditional paganism of Rome, whose elites despised Christianity.
A Short History of Europe: From the Greeks and Romans to the Present Day by Antony Alcock (auth.)