Civil law (ius civile)¹ – in the Roman Republic/Empire, the body of law that applied to citizens.

Code¹ – Part of the compilation of Justinian, or Corpus iuris civilis, that outlined the actual laws of the empire, citing imperial constitutions, legislation and pronouncements.

Compilation of Justinian¹ – The multi-part compilation of Roman law ordered by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century C.E. In the eleventh century, this compilation came to be known as the Corpus iuris civilis.

Credit* – Reliance on the truth of something said or done; belief; faith; trust; confidence. A ground of, or title to, belief or confidence; authority derived from character or reputation. (Commerce) Trust given or received; expectation of future payment for property transferred, or of fulfillment or promises given; mercantile reputation entitling one to be trusted; (applied to individuals, corporations, communities, or nations; as, to buy goods on credit). The time given for payment for lands or goods sold on trust; as, a long credit or a short credit. (Bookkeeping) The side of an account on which are entered all items reckoned as values received from the party or the category named at the head of the account; also, any one, or the sum, of these items; the opposite of debit.


Decemvirs¹ – A committee of ten Roman citizens formed in 451 B.C.E. to write down Roman law for the first time in what was called the Twelve Tables.

Digest¹ – Part of the compilation of Justinian, or Corpus iuris civilis, that collected and summarized all of the classical jurists’ writings on law and justice.

Disme* – A tenth; a tenth part; a tithe.


Fidei Commissa¹ – Fidei Commissary substitutions were a devise whereby a grantor could transfer property to his grantee with the condition that the grantee would transfer the property to a third party upon the happening of a certain condition. This restriction on property transfers is known in the common law as the problem of mortmain or “dead hand” control, which the common law regulated via the Rule Against Perpetuities.


Incerta Persona¹ – a Latin term, meaning ‘uncertain person.’ The term is used to refer to a person who cannot be identified or ascertained.

Under Roman law, the term is used to refer to a person or a corporate body that could not inherit property. For example, a person whose existence was uncertain or whom the testator could not identify by name.

Institutes¹ – Part of the compilation of Justinian, or Corpus iuris civilis, that summarized the Digest and was meant to be used as a textbook for students of law.


Jurists¹ – A professional class of legal experts who interpreted the law and wrote scholarly opinions and treatises on law and justice in Ancient Rome.

Justinian I¹ – Emperor who ruled the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, from 527–565 C.E. and ordered all Roman law compiled into a multi-part work referred to as the compilation of Justinian and later named the Corpus iuris civilis.


Law of nations (ius gentium)¹ – The body of laws that applied all people and was based upon the common principles and reasoning that civilized societies and humankind were understood to live by and share. In the Roman Empire, the ius gentium were the laws that applied to non-citizens and foreigners as well as Roman citizens.


Mill(e)* – An imaginary money, of which ten are equal to one cent, one hundred equal to a dime, and one thousand equal to a dollar. There is no coin of this denomination. Vide Coin; Money.

MILL*, estates. Mills are so very different and various, that it is not easy to give a definition of the term. They are used for the purpose of grinding and pulverizing grain and other matters, to extract the juices of vegetables, to make various articles of manufacture. They take their names from the uses to which they are employed, hence we have paper-mills, fulling-mills, iron-mills, oil-mills, saw-mills, &c. In another respect their kinds are various; they are either fixed to the freehold or not. Those which are a part of the freehold, are either watermills, wind-mills, steam-mills, &c.; those which are not so fixed, are hand-mills, and are merely personal property. Those which are fixed, and make a part of the freehold, are buildings with machinery calculated to obtain the object proposed in their erection. It has been held that the grant of a mill; and its appurtenances, even without the land, carries the whole right of water enjoyed by the grantor, as necessary to its use, and as a necessary incident. And a devise of a mill carries the land used with it, and the right to use the water. A mill means not merely the building, in which the business is carried on, but includes the site, the dam, and other things annexed to the freehold, necessary for its beneficial enjoyment. Whether manufacturing machinery will pass under the grant of a mill must depend mainly on the circumstances of each case. In England the law appears not to be settled. In this note are given the opinions of Sir Samuel Romily and Mr. Leech, on a question whether a mortgage of a piece of land on which a mill was erected, would operate as a mortgage of the machinery. Sir Samuel was clearly of opinion that such a mortgage would bind the machinery, and Mr. Leech was of a directly opposite opinion. The American law on this subject, appears not to be entirely fixed.


Natural law (ius naturale)¹ – A category of law based upon the principles shared by all living creatures, humans as well as animals.

Novella¹ – Part of the Corpus iuris civilis that was not part of the original compilation of Justinian but was created separately to update the Code with new laws created after 534 C.E. and to summarize Justinian’s own constitution.


Patricians¹ – An elite class of citizens in Ancient Rome who in its early days were exclusively eligible to hold the principle positions of power, such as senator or magistrate. The word derives from the term pater (“father”), as it was applied to the original 100 heads of family that formed the first Roman Senate. Patrician status was hereditary.

Plebeians¹ – Non-patrician citizens of Rome who made up the greater part of the population. Plebeians did not enjoy privileged status and were unable to hold positions of power in early Rome.

Public office*° – A position of authority or service involving responsibility to the public, especially within the government. A building (see taxpayer) housing a government department or agency or used for civic business. A position concerning the people as a whole.

Public officer – A public officer is the representative taxpayer for a company, and therefore that person will serve as the face of the company for tax purposes. All actions carried out in his capacity as a public officer are deemed to have been done by the company.


Rule Against Perpetuities – the principle that no interest in property is valid unless it vests not later than twenty-one years, plus the period of gestation, after some life or lives in being which exist at the time of the creation of the interest.


Taxpayer¤ – A building used to house a piece of land until it may be put to a more profitable use.

Twelve Tables¹ – The first written compilation of Roman laws. Produced in 449 B.C.E. by the Decemvirs and later lost/destroyed, the Twelve Tables and their legacy formed a foundation upon which the Roman legal system developed.


1. Roman Legal Tradition and the Compilation of Justinian
2. The Roman Law of Trusts
3. Measurements for Coinage or in Praise of the Code
*. dict.org
°. google.com