cod. 00942

Academic year 2023/24
5° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Diritto romano e diritti dell'antichità (IUS/18)
Type of training activity
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The objective of the course is to learn the argumentative techniques used by Roman jurists and to verify how lawyers used them in trials. This is a perspective that introduces the student to two elements that still characterize the legal professions today, namely legal argumentation and its rhetorical presentation.


Basic knowledge of roman and modern provate law; adequate logical skills; reasoning skills

Course unit content

The course is dedicated to forensic argumentation, in the various meanings it held in ancient Rome. If the aim of a lawyer is to persuade the judge, it will not be enough for him to know which rules must be applied to the case concerning his client, but he will also need to link the logical-juridical reasoning to the social values of which the rules of law are an expression, and also to affect the emotions of the judge, to move and guide them in his favor. In ancient Rome, to refine all these skills, aspiring lawyers went to rhetoric school, where the techniques of persuasive speech were taught (in Greek rhetoriké, from which the term "rhetoric" originates). The course illustrates the basic notions of classical rhetoric and shows how they were used to structure and address private law disputes. he lessons are conducted through the reading and analysis of texts by Roman jurists, excerpts from ancient rhetoric manuals, as well as a selection of "declamations," draft trial speeches on fictional cases, assigned as exercises to future lawyers. A similar exercise will be assigned to students at the end of the course.

Full programme


The students attending the lesson will prepare themselves to the exam with the material distributed and commented upon during lessons.
The students not attending the lesson will prepare the exam with the study of - A. Bellodi Ansaloni, Scienza giuridica e retorica forense, III edizione, Maggioli, Bologna, 2020, pp. 117-139 (third chapter of Part I = pp. 117-139 may be omitted).

Teaching methods

The lessons are based on the reading and commentary of legal and rhetorical texts, distributed in translation. Through the study of a series of simulated trial cases, students will gradually be led to learn how the ancients trained to defend a case at trial. In terms of legal content, knowledge of some fundamental notions of private law will also be deepened. The Course includes a final exercise, in the form of a Moot Court Competition, which will require students to directly put the learned techniques into practice.

Assessment methods and criteria

For attending students, learning assessment takes place partly during the course and partly through a final oral exam. During the lessons, the student's active participation is taken into account both in the discussions proposed in class and in the group work required for the final exercise. The final oral exam will focus on one of the "declamations" analyzed during the course, chosen by the student.
For non-attending students, the exam consists of an oral examination, which includes an adequate number of questions to evaluate the candidate's preparation. As part of it, knowledge and critical understanding of the contents of the adopted textbook are verified. The grade will be decided on the average of the marks assigned to each answer.

Other information