Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/10100
Title: Witness and Lawyer in the Roman courts. Linguistic strategies of evasiveness and intimidation in Roman trial debates
Authors: Ferri, Rolando
Keywords: Processo romanostrategie linguisticheavvocatotestimoneCiceroneletteratura antidonatistaRoman trial debatelinguistic strategylawyeerwitnessCiceroanti-Donatist literature
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Rolando Ferri, “Witness and Lawyer in the Roman courts. Linguistic strategies of evasiveness and intimidation in Roman trial debates”, in: Incontri di Filologia Classica, XII (2012-2013), pp. 57-99
Series/Report no.: Incontri di Filologia Classica
12 (2012-2013)
Abstract: 
The Roman lawsuits were characterized by the simultaneous presence of a great variety
of linguistic registers and forms of interaction, not only the so-called orationes perpetuae
pronounced by defence and prosecution counsel, which we know from the edited
versions of Cicero’s speeches. Lawyers, judges, plaintiffs, witnesses interacted with one
another in different occasions during the trial: from the formulae pronounced during
the phase in iure, when the charges were laid to the praetor, to the confrontations during
the trial debate. The article is devoted to the analysis of evidence describing such
extemporaneous confrontation as has come down to us, between judges and lawyers and
between witnesses and lawyers. The evidence we can draw on is in the form of anecdotes
and digressional materials transmitted in rhetorical writings and Cicero, but there is
important evidence also in surviving records from proceedings in Greek and Latin from
Late antiquity, most importantly a series of trial records preserved by the anti-Donatist
literature between fourth and fifth century.

I processi romani erano caratterizzati dalla compresenza di una grande varietà di registri
linguistici, non soltanto le cosiddette orationes perpetuae dell’accusa e della difesa, a noi note
nelle versioni, spesso ritoccate, delle orazioni ciceroniane conservate. Avvocati, giudici, imputati,
testimoni interagivano in situazioni e fasi comunicative diverse, che andavano dalla
formularità delle procedure istruttorie, in iure, alla maggiore spontaneità delle discussioni
e dei contraddittori in larga parte estemporanei della fase giudiziale. L’articolo si dedica
alla ricostruzione di alcune testimonianze relative allo scambio estemporaneo tra giudici
e avvocati e all’analisi di quanto è noto sull’interrogatorio dei testimoni, utilizzando sia
la documentazione aneddotica tramandata dalla trattatistica retorica e da Cicerone sia
alcuni superstiti verbali giudiziari tardo antichi in greco e latino, in particolare quelli, poco
noti al di fuori degli studi storici specifici, relativi ad alcuni processi a margine della lotta tra
cattolici e donatisti tra IV e V secolo.
Type: Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/10100
ISSN: 1827-4854
Appears in Collections:12. Incontri di filologia classica (2012-2013)

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