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GLOSSARIUM IURIS ROMANI – Latnesk-íslenskt Orðasafn Rómaréttar Jústiníanusar

Nútímalögfræði grundvallast að mörgu leyti á hugtökum Rómaréttar til forna og þess vegna er brýnt að nemendur í lögfræði kynni sér þau þegar á fyrstu misserum náms síns svo að þeir verði vel í stakk búnir að bera saman hin mismunandi réttarkerfi (Evrópu). Rómarétturinn er besta þjálfun fyrir tilvonandi lögmann, dómara eða stjórnmálamann til að læra að rökræða. Saga segir frá nýútskrifuðum stúdent sem að loknu námi sínu í klassískum fræðum og latínu sækir um auglýst starf hjá stóru fyrirtæki. Honum er boðið í viðtal þar sem hann er spurður af hverju hann telji sig hæfan til að vinna þar enda hafa fornmál eins og latína lítið eitt að segja í nútíma viðskiptum. En hann svarar um leið: «Þeir sem töluðu þetta mál reistu heimsveldi og stjórnuðu því í margar aldir». Þá var hann ráðinn… Það er ekki fráleitt að fullyrða það sama um námið í Rómarétti.

Sá sem þetta ritar varð að stunda nám í rétti Rómverja til forna í tvö misseri á fyrsta ári framhaldsnáms síns í kirkjurétti við háskóla San Pio X í Feneyjum. Þótt hann skildi ekki mikið í byrjun (enda guðfræðingur að mennt) og velti fyrir sér gagni og markmiði þessa námskeiðs gerði hann sér þó grein fyrir mikilvægi þess á síðari námsárum sínum þar sem blasti við honum eitt hugtak á fætur öðru sem á rót sina að rekja til Rómaréttar Jústiníanusar. Það er reyndar óhætt að fullyrða að Rómaréttur til forna er enn lifandi í þeirri einu stofnun sem er til allt frá tímum fornaldarinnar og kennir sig við Rómaborg, þ.e.a.s. í Rómversk-kaþólsku kirkjunni.

Rómarétturinn hefur alltaf verið fastur partur af lögfræðináminu í Háskólanum á Akureyri frá stofnun lagadeildarinnar árið 2003. En hér skarar þessi háskóli fram úr öllum háskólum á Íslandi enda eina menntasetrið hérlendis þar sem Rómaréttur er kenndur. Farið er yfir sögu, þróun, inntak og skipun Rómaréttar til forna með áherslu á einkamálarétt, samningarétt, skaðabótarétt og réttarfar Rómverja. Rætt er um helstu embættin í réttarkerfi Rómverja og einnig um réttarheimildir, lagasetningar, tilskipanir og lögskýringar. Niðurröðun og flokkun laga í Rómarétti er skoðuð, t.d. þrígreiningin í lög um persónur (de iure personarum), lög um hluti (de rebus) og réttarfar (de actionibus) eins og hún birtist í lagasafni Jústiníanusar I (f. 482, d. 565) keisara Austrómverska ríkisins, og kallast Corpus Iuris Civilis.

Kennslan fer fram á ensku með tilliti til erlendra námsmanna. Að fyrsta kennsluári sínu loknu fannst þeim sem þetta ritar hins vegar ágætis tækifæri til að búa til orðasafn á íslensku yfir helstu hugtök Rómaréttarins enda hafa flestir námsmenn ekki stundað latínu á menntaskólaárum sínum. Orðalistinn er langt frá því að vera fullkominn og er reyndar „work in progress“. Stefnt er að því að gefa aðeins yfirlit yfir þau hugtök sem fjallað var um í kennslunni. Stuðst var m.a. við tveggja binda ritið „Rómaveldi“ (1963/64) eftir Will Durant í íslenskri þýðingu Jónasar Kristjánssonar, sem og lögfræðiorðasafn íðorðabanka stofnunar Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum (→ Íðorðabankinn / arnastofnun.is).

Summary

Modern law is based in many ways on the concepts of ancient Roman law, therefore, it’s important that law students get to know them right at the beginning of their studies so that they will be well equipped to compare the different legal systems (in Europe). Roman law is the best training ground for a future lawyer, judge or politician to learn to argue. There’s the story of a student who recently graduated in ancient Greek and Latin and applies for an advertised job at a big company. He is invited to a job interview where he is asked why he thinks to be qualified to work there because classic languages such as Latin are not relevant in modern business. He replies simply: «Those who spoke this language built an empire and controlled it for centuries». And he was hired…

The author of this article had to study Roman law the entire first year of his studies in Canon law at the Faculty of San Pio X in Venice. Although he didn’t understand much at the beginning and wondered about the usefulness and aim of this course, however, he realized its importance in his later years, where he faced one concept or term after the other, which is rooted in ancient Roman law. Indeed, it is safe to assert that Roman law is still alive in the only institution that exists from the classic era onwards and is called Roman, i.e. in the Roman Catholic Church.

Roman law has always been part of the study of law at the University of Akureyri since the founding of the Faculty of law in 2003 – and it‘s the only faculty in Iceland where up until now Roman law is taught properly.

After his first year of teaching here in Akureyri, the author decided to write a glossary in Icelandic explaining the main concepts of Roman law, because most students have not studied Latin at all in their high school years.

 

1. Saga og stjórnskipan Rómaveldis

aedilis                                edíll, umsjónarmaður ríkisverka.

auctoritas                          áhrifavald, ábyrgðarvald ≠ → potestas!

Augustus                           hinn göfgi eða hinn tigni; heiðurstitill sem Octavíanus → princeps var fengið árið 27 f.Kr. sem sagan hefur fyrir misskilning gert að nafni hans. Áður hafði þetta orð aðeins verið haft um helgistaði og helga dóma. Titill þessi varð seinna að embættisheiti handhafa æðsta framkvæmda­valds í Rómaveldi og sameinaður fjölskyldu­nafni Caesar: Caesar Augustus.

Cæsar                               fjölskyldunafn  hins valdamikla Gaiusar Júlíusar sem síðan varð að titli fyrir þann sem fór með æsta vald í Rómaveldi: Caesar = keisari = Kaiser (þýska) = tsar (Rússakeisari).

censor                               sensor; sensorar voru tveir, kjörnir til fimm ára af → comitia centuriata. Annar þeirra sá um manntal það sem tekið var á fimm ára fresti og mat eignir borgaranna til skattlagningar og þátttöku í landsstjórn og styrjöldum. Sensorar skyldu rannsaka hæfni og feril allra þeirra sem sóttu  um embætti. Þeir vöktu yfir sæmd kvenna, fræðslu barna, meðferð þræla, innheimtu skatta, byggingarfram­kvæmdum ríkisins, leigu ríkiseigna og skipulegri ræktun landsins. Þeir gátu lækkað hvern sem var í mannvirðingu og vikið úr öldungaráðinu þeim sem sekir fundust um siðleysi eða glæpi.

clientes                              skjólstæðingar.

comitia centuriata              hundraðsdeildaþing; þetta þing tók nafn af því að hernum, og síðar þjóðinni allri, var skipt í centuriae, hundraðsdeildir, deildir sem upphaflega voru skipaðar hundrað mönnum hver. Flokkun þjóðarinnar í hundraðsdeildir hafði verið gerð bæði vegna skattgreiðslu og herþjónustu, og þá þótti Rómverjum skylt að atkvæðisréttur yrði að tiltölu við þá skatta sem menn greiddu og þá herskyldu sem þeim var lögð á herðar. Þetta hundraðsdeildaþing kaus hina æðri embættismenn, samþykkti eða felldi frumvörp þau sem fyrir það voru lögð af öldungaráðinu eða öðrum stjórnarmönnum, hóf styrjaldir og samdi frið. Það var hinn breiði grundvöllur sem bæði her og ríkisstjórn hvíldi á. Þó voru valdi þess mikil takmörk sett. Það kom því aðeins til fundar að það væri kallað saman af → consul eða → tribunus plebis. Það mátti ekki breyta neinu í tillögum þeirra, heldur einungis greiða atkvæði með eða móti.

comitia curiata                   kyndeildaþing (curiata → á latínu: cum ire = fara eða koma saman eða cum-vires = (karl-) menn sem mætast ): Ættahöfðingjar koma saman sem fulltrúar fyrir hinar þrjátíu deildir (curiae) kynflokkanna þriggja. Til loka þjóðveldisins hafði þetta kyndeildaþing því hlutverki að gegna að veita nýkjörnum embættismönnum stjórnvaldið, → imperium. En eftir hrun konungsveldisins missti kyndeildaþingið skjótlega öll önnur völd í hendur samkomu sem nefndist → comitia centuriata.

comitia tributa                    sveitaþing fólksins; á þessum þingum  var mönnum raðað samkvæmt ættbálki (tribus) og búsetu á grundvelli manntals. Hver sveit hafði eitt atkvæði, og auðmenn voru ekki metnir dýrar en fátæklingar. Öldungaráðið viðurkenndi rétt sveitaþingsins til löggjafar árið 287, og úr því jókst vald þess jafnt og þétt, svo að kringum 200 var það orðin helsta uppspretta einkalöggjafar í Rómaborg. Á sveitaþinginu fóru þó ekki heldur fram neinar almennar umræður. Einhver embættismaður, oftast → tribunus plebis, bar fram laga­frumvarp og reifaði það. Annar embættismaður mátti mæla gegn frumvarpinu, en þingið hlaut að láta sér nægja að hlýða á mál þeirra og segja síðan já eða nei.

concilium plebis                 alþýðuþing; samsvarar að mörgu leyti → comitia tributa nema að það kom saman undir forystu → tribunus plebis og var samansett einungis af → plebeium.

concilium principis              keisararáð, tuttugu manna ráðgjafanefnd → princeps; með tímanum hlutu úrskurðir þessa ráðs gildi sem tilskipanir öldungaráðsins ( → senatusconsulta).

consul                               ræðismaður, voru tveir og kjörnir til eins árs í senn, æðsta embætti lýðveldisins. Ræðismenn voru bundnir hvor af annars jafnræði, af samþykktum öldungaráðsins og af neitunarvaldi alþýðuforingja (→ tribunus plebis).

cursus honorum                 framabraut embættismannsins; honor = heiður af því að hann gegndi embætti sínu án endurgreiðslu. Þar af leiðandi var rómverska lýðræðið í reyndinni fámennisstjórn þeirra sem auðinn áttu og gátu þess vegna gefið kost á sér til embætta ríkisins.

dictator                              alræðismaður (einvaldur); í neyðarástandi sem öldunga­ráðið lýsti yfir (Videant consules ne quid res publica detrimenti capiat – “ræðismennirnir megi sjá svo um að ekkert mein verði unnið ríkinu”) mátti annar hvor ræðismannanna tveggja tilnefna alræðismann sem fékk óskorað vald yfir öllum mönnum og eignum, en hann mátti ekki eyða almannafé án samþykkis öldungaráðsins, og valdatími hans var bundinn við sex mánuði eða eitt ár.

dominatus                          einveldi; í sögu Rómaveldis tímabil frá 285–565 e.Kr. þar sem síðustu leifar hins lýðræðislega stjórnarkerfis voru lagðar niður og keisarinn fór með allt ríkisvald og var kallaður dominus = drottinn.

equites                              riddarar, kaupsýslu- eða fésýslumenn.

imperator                           aðalherstjóri eða herforingi; síðan samheiti fyrir → princeps og → Caesar Augustus. Á öðrum tungumálum tökuorð fyrir keisara: emperor (enska), empereur (franska), imperatore (ítalska), emperador (spænska).

imperium                           herstjórnarvald; einnig vald þeirra sem gegndu æðstu embættum þjóðveldisins (eins og → consul eða → praetor).

iurisdictio                           dómsvald.

monarchia                          konungdæmi; í sögu Rómar tímabilið frá 753–510 f.Kr.

patres (et) conscripti          “feður og meðskráðir” = öldungar úr stétt patricíanna (feður) og úr röðum auðugra manna (einkum → equites) sem tókst með auðæfum sínum að ryðja sér braut upp í öldungaráðið.

patricii                               afkomendur feðranna, þ.e.a.s. afkomendur þeirra 100 höfðingja sem kjörnir voru af Rómúlusi við upphaf sögu Rómar

patronus                            verndari.

plebeius                             almúgamaður.

plebs                                 lýður, alþýða.

pontifex maximus               æðstiprestur hinna rómversku trúarbragða og forseti prestafélags sem allt fram á 5. öld f.Kr. var falið að sjá um túlkun laganna.

populus                             þjóð; allir frjálsir ríkisborgarar Rómar, patricíar og plebeiar.

potestas                            vald; einkum vald → pater familias [sjá → persónuréttur]; einnig embættisvald æðstu stjórnarmanna ríkisins.

praetor                              pretor; dómstjóri eða dómsforseti.

praetor peregrinus             útlendingapretor, í fyrstu yfir erlenda menn í Rómaborg, síðan yfir alla Ítalíu og loks yfir skattlöndin. Var honum fengið vald til þess að bræða saman lög Rómverja og heimamanna á hverjum stað. Árlegar skipanir pretors þessa og úrskurðir skattlandsstjóra sköpuðu smám saman þann þjóðarrétt (→ ius gentium [sjá → réttarkerfi / almenn hugtök]) sem fylgt var í stjórn heimsveldisins.

praetor urbanus                 pretor Rómaborgar.

princeps (senatus)             hinn fyrsti eða oddviti (öldungaráðsins); titill sem Octavíanus Ágústus var fenginn árið 28 f.Kr. og sem hann hélt allt til æviloka. Í upphafi merkti þetta tignarheiti að nafn hans stæði efst á skrá öldunga, en brátt tók það að merkja stjórnanda ríkisins, og er af því komið orðið prins í nútíma­málum.

principatus                         í sögunni er stjórnarfar Octavíanusar og eftirmanna hans um næstu tvær aldir kallað “principat” eða oddvitastjórn. Var og eigi um algjört einveldi að ræða, því allt til dauða Commódusar (192 e.Kr.) viðurkenndu allir keisararnir, að minnsta kosti í orði kveðnu, að þeir væru einungis oddvitar öldungaráðsins (principes senatus) innan stjórnarkerfi lýðveldisins. Formlega séð tímabilið frá 27–285 e.Kr.

quaestor                            kvestor; embættismaður sem sér um ríkissjóðinn eða ríkishirsluna.

res publica                         lýðveldi, bókstaflega: „(opinbert) mál sem varðar alla“. Skv. gríska sagnfræðingnum Pólybíos (2. öld f.Kr.) er hin rómverska res publica besta stjórnskipan í heiminum: Takmarkað lýðræði er fólgið í löggjafarvaldi þinganna, höfðingjaveldi undir forustu öldungaráðsins, tvíveldi undir skammvinnri stjórn hverra tveggja ræðismanna, einstöku sinnum einveldi þegar kjörnir voru alræðismenn. Samkvæmt Cíceró er einveldi besta stjórnarfarið þegar einvaldurinn er góður, en verst allra stjórnhátta þegar hann er illur. Höfðingjaveldi er einnig gott ef bestu mennirnir fá að stjórna. Lýðræði er gott þegar fólkið er dyggðugt. Heppilegasta stjórnarfarið telur hann því samsteypu úr þessu þrennu eins og Pólybíos. Ef engar hömlur eru á lagðar breytist hins vegar einræðið í harðstjórn, höfðingjaveldið í fámennisstjórn og lýðræðið í skrílræði og óstjórn. Í sögu Rómar á tímabilinu frá 510-27 f.Kr.

senatus                             öldungaráð, upphaflega ráðgjafasamkunda patricíanna. En ættahöfðingjar þeir sem í öndverðu skipuðu ráðið, voru smám saman leystir af hólmi af fyrrverandi → consules og → censores, og sensorarnir höfðu vald til að fylla tölu ráðsmanna í 300 með því að nefna til ráðsins menn af stétt patricía eða riddara. Menn sátu í ráðinu ævilangt.

tribunus plebis                   alþýðuforingi eða fulltrúi lýðsins, eftir 367 f.Kr. tíu talsins. Hlutverk þeirra var að vernda lýðinn fyrir ofríki landsstjórnarmanna, og þeir gátu með orði → veto stöðvað allar athafnir stjórnvaldanna hvenær sem einhverjum þeirra bauð svo við að horfa. Þessir tíu menn voru sacrosancti (= friðhelgir), sem kallað var: það var talið helgispjöll og lífllátssök að beita þá ofbeldi nema á tímum lögmætrar alræðisstjórnar (→ dictator).

triumviratus                           þremenningasamband, þríeyki eða þrístjóraveldi (1. Crassus, Pompeius og Caesar; 2. Octavíanus [síðar Ágústus], Markús Antoníus og Lepídus).

veto                                   ég banna: neitunarvald alþýðuforingja til að vernda lýðinn fyrir ofríki landsstjórnarinnar. Með veto gátu þeir stöðvað allar athafnir stjórnavaldanna hvenær sem einhverjum þeirra bauð svo við að horfa.

 

2. Réttarkerfi Rómaveldis

a. Almenn hugtök

constitutiones principum                           skjalfestar skipanir keisara; þær birtust í fjórum myndum: 1) edicta, þ.e.a.s. princeps gefur út tilskipanir í krafti embættisvalds síns sem giltu um allt heimsveldið; 2)  decreta eða úrskurðir hans í dómarasæti höfðu lagagildi eins og hjá öðrum embættismönnum; 3) rescripta, þ.e.a.s. princeps veitti skrifleg svör við fyrirspurnum um ýmis vafamál annaðhvort bréflega (epistulum) þegar um var að ræða fyrirspurn embættismanns eða sem ákvörðun þar sem skrifað var undir beiðni óbreytts borgara sem hafði snúið sér til hans (subscriptio); 4) mandata eða fyrirmæli þau sem keisarar gáfu embættismönnum og sem urðu með tímanum ítarleg stjórnsýslulög.

Corpus iuris civilis              lagasafn eða Rómaréttur Jústiníanusar sem skiptist í fernt: Codex (heildstæð og samræmd löggjöf); Digestum (safn lögspekinganna); Institutiones (kennslubók fyrir laganema) og Novellae (safn nýrra laga sem voru sett eftir Codex).

decemviri                           tímenningar sem sömdu → leges duodecim tabularum (tólftaflnalög).

edictum                             tilskipun; ýmis lagaleg fyrirmæli sem voru minni háttar eða sérstaks eðlis voru sett í mynd tilskipana (edicta) af embættismönnum Rómaborgar. Hver nýr borgarpretor (praetor urbanus) gaf út edictum praetorium eða edictum perpetuum sem kunngjört var af kallara á Rómatorgi og letrað á vegg. Þar voru birtar þær lagareglur sem pretorinn hugðist fylgja í dómsstörfum ( → formula, sjá → réttarfar) og öðrum athöfnum á embættisári sínu. Svipaðar tilskipanir voru útgefnar af útlendigapretorum (praetores peregrini). Samkvæmt stjórnarvaldi sínu máttu pretorar skýra nánar gildandi lög. Þannig samtengdust hin fornu grundvallarlög Rómverja (→ ius civile) og lifandi dómsstörf pretoranna. Þegar lög eða lagagreinar voru endurteknar í tilskipunum pretora mörg ár í röð (edictum tralaticium), urðu þau ákveðinn þáttur í hinum svonefnda → ius honorarium. Hitt bar þó einnig iðulega við að pretor gengi í gegn tilskipunum og stefnu forvera síns, og ríkti svo óvissa í löggjöf og gjörræði í dómum. Til þess að binda enda á óvissu þessa bauð Hadríanus keisari að steypa öllum embættismannalögum saman og gefa þeim varanlegt gildi (edictum perpetuum, 130 e.Kr.). Skyldi keisarinn einn hafa vald til að breyta þeim.

ius                                     réttur / réttarkerfi sem nær bæði yfir skráðan og óskráðan rétt.

ius civile                            réttur Rómaborgar, síðar ríkisréttur á grundvelli → leges duodecim tabularum og annarra lagasetninga.

ius gentium                        alþjóðaréttur; réttur í gildi meðal allra þjóða og auk þess réttur til að leysa mál  milli rómverskra ríkisborgara og útlendinga.

ius honorarium                   „heiðursréttur“; réttur í krafti ráðherravalds æðstu embættismanna rómverska lýðveldisins;  «heiðursréttur» af því að þeir gegndu embætti sínu án endurgreiðslu; einnig kallað ius praetorium enda voru það helst → praetores eða dómstjórar sem leyfðu nýjar aðferðir innan réttarkerfisins.

ius naturale                        náttúrulögmál sem allar skepnur (bæði menn og dýr) fylgja.

ius privatum                       einkaréttur sem varðar samskipti milli einstaklinga.

ius publicum                      réttur sem varðar ríkið eða samskipti milli einstaklings og ríkisvalds.

ius non scriptum                óritaður / óskráður réttur; frekar óskipulegt safn af ættarvenjum, konungstilskipunum og boðorðum prestanna → mos maiorum.

ius scriptum                       ritaður / skráður réttur.

ius respondendi ex auctoritate principis       leyfi veitt útvöldum lögspekingum til að svara fyrir hönd keisara eða princeps.

leges duodecim tabularum        tólftalfnalög; fram á 5. öld f.Kr. höfðu patricíaklerkar varðveitt lög Rómverja og skorið úr lögmálsþrætum. Þeir höfðu haldið lagaskrám sínum leyndum og notað einokun sína og samband laganna við trú og helgisiði sem vopn gegn breytingum á þjóðfélagsháttum. Eftir langvarandi þóf sendi ráðið nefnd þriggja patricía til Grikklands að rannsaka löggjöf Sólons og annarra grískra lagasmíða (árið 451). Þegar þeir komu aftur heim að þremur árum liðnum, kaus þjóðfundurinn tíu menn → decemviri til að setja ný lög og veitti þeim alræðisvald í Róm um tveggja ára skeið. Löggjafarnir breyttu fornum réttarvenjum Rómverja og settu þeim hin frægu tólftaflnalög, sem samþykkt voru á þjóðþingi með nokkrum breytingum og síðan höfð uppi á torginu til sýnis hverjum þeim sem lesa vildi – og lesa kunni. Þessi hljóðláti atburður olli aldahvörfum í sögu Rómverja. Nú var í elstu mynd letrað lagakerfi þess réttarkerfis sem síðar kallast Rómaréttur. Töflurnar tólf voru á tvennan veg bylting í lögum: Nú voru Rómalög birt almenningi, og jafnframt gerð veraldleg. Töflurnar tólf  tóku við af óvissu og óskráðum lagavenjum. Töflurnar urðu brátt grundvöllur almennrar menntunar. Fram á daga Cícerós máttu allir námsmenn læra þær utanbókar, og eflaust hafa þær átt drjúgan þátt í að móta hina ströngu og stefnuföstu, rökfimu og löghneigðu skapgerð Rómverja. Þær voru auknar og endurbættar aftur og aftur, með setningu nýrra laga, pretoraboðum, ráðssamþykktum og tilskipunum keisara, en voru þó grundvöllur rómsverskra laga í 900 ár.

lex                                     lagaboð; lögin voru í senn lex og → ius = lagaboð og réttur. Lex sem ritað lagaboð er partur af ius. Lagafrumvörp embættismanna ríkisins voru afgreidd á hinum ýmsu þingum (→ comitia, sjá → saga Rómaveldis).

magistratuum edicta          lagalega bindandi ákvarðanir dómsforseta (praetor).

mos maiorum                     siðir feðranna; allt fram á 4. öld e.Kr. fyrirmynd siðgæðis og uppsretta laganna.

plebiscitum                        úrskurðir alþýðunnar eða lög afgreidd af alþýðudeild Rómaborgar (→ concilium plebis, sjá → saga Rómaveldis) sem allt frá 287 f.Kr. (lex Hortensia) tóku einnig gildi fyrir þjóðina alla, þ.e.a.s einnig fyrir heldri borgara (patricii).

principum placita                löggjafarvald → princeps; tók á sig mismunandi form.

responsa prudentium         lagatúlkun lögspekinganna; oft leituðu lögmenn og dómendur ráða lögspekinganna. Smám saman höfðu skrifleg svör þeirra, samkvæmt óskráðri venju, nálega sama gildi sem lög væru. Ágústus veitti úrskurðum þeirra fullkomið lagagildi með tveimur skilyrðum: að lögspekingurinn hefði fengið hjá keisraranum → ius respondendi eða rétt til að svara spurningum um lagaefni og að svarið væri sent innsiglað til dómara þess sem fjallaði um hlutaðeigandi mál. Á dögum Jústiníanusar voru þessi responsa eða lagasvör orðin mikil fræðigrein og bókmenntir og urðu þau uppspretta og grundvöllur hinna miklu lögbóka hans → Corpus iuris civilis, sér í lagi Digestum.

senatusconsultum              formleg ráðgjöf eða ályktun öldungaráðsins sem hafði þó ekki lagagildi á tímum þjóðveldis. Þau töldust vera tillögur sem beint var til embættismanna. En í reynd voru áhrif þess svo sterk að embættismenn létu vart bregðast að hlýða fyrirmælum þess. Og lögðu sjaldan fyrir þjóðþing nokkur þau nýmæli sem ekki höfðu þegar hlotið blessun öldungaráðsins. En smám saman urðu þau ákveðin tilmæli og fyrirskipanir, og frá og með  tímum → principatus (sjá → saga Rómaveldis) öðluðust þau fullkomið lagagildi.

aequitas                            að taka tillit til ástæðnanna í málaferlum umfram bókstaflega túlkun laganna (→ ius honorarium).

b. Persónuréttur 

adoptio                              ættleiðing persónu sem er → alieni iuris og færist úr valdi eins → paterfamilias yfir til annars.

adrogatio                           ættleiðing persónu sem er þegar → sui iuris og fer undir vald annars → paterfamilias.

agnatus                             ættingi skyldur öðrum í gegnum sama → paterfamilias.

auctoritas tutoris                samþykki forræðismanns í ákveðnum viðskipta­samskiptum skjólstæðings síns.

cognatus                           blóðskyldur ættingi með eða án sama → paterfamilias.

alieni iuris                          að vera háð(ur) valdi annars (= alieni) sem er einmitt → paterfamilias; lagalega ósjálfstæð(ur).

capacitas agere                 hæfni til að eiga í samskiptum sem eru lagalega bindandi einnig í umboði fyrir hönd annars manns (t.d. sonur undir valdi → patria potestas eða jafnvel þræll þar sem báðir njóta ekki [enn] → capacitas iuridica).

capacitas iuridica               lögmæt hæfni þess sem er ekki lengur undir valdi → paterfamilias eða → dominus.

capitis deminutio                «stöðuminnkun» sem gat verið þrennskonar: frelsissvipting, svipting ríkisborgararéttar (→ civitas) eða brottvikning úr eigin fjölskyldu → emancipatio.

civitas                                borgararéttur Rómar, síðar ríkisborgararéttur; rómverskir borgarar voru allir þeir sem tilheyrt höfðu rómverskri ættsveit eða fengið inngöngu í hana með ættleiðingu (→ adoptio eða → adrogatio), lausn úr ánauð (→ manumissio) eða leyfi stjórnvalda. Þegnréttur þessi var í þremur þrepum: 1) Fullgildir borgarar (cives optimo iure) sem höfðu fjórþætt réttindi: kosningarrétt (ius suffragii), embættisrétt (ius honorum), rétt til að giftast frjálsborinni persónu (ius connubii) og rétt til að gera verslunar­samninga sem verndaðir voru af rómverskum lögum (ius commercii). 2) Borgarar án kosningarréttar sem höfðu rétt til hjónabands og samninga, en ekki til kosninga eða embættis. 3) Leysingjar sem höfðu kosningarrétt og samningsrétt, en ekki hjónabands- eða embættisrétt. Fullgildir borgarar höfðu auk þess ýmisleg sérréttindi samkvæmt einkalögum: Faðir hafði vald yfir börnum sínum (→ patria potestas), eiginmaður eða → paterfamilias yfir konu sinni (→ cum manu), eigandi yfir eignum sínum (→ dominium, sjá → eignarréttur) og frjáls maður yfir öðrum samkvæmt samningi.

coniugium                          hjónaband, bókstaflega: «samoka». Að brúðkaupsveislu lokinni lyfti brúðguminn brúðinni yfir þröskuld heimilis, fékk henni lykla hússins, og síðan beygðu bæði höfuð sín undir ok til að jarteikna band það er þau tengdi saman. Fyrir því var hjónabandið kallað coniugium = samoka.

conubium                           brúðkaupsréttur.

cum / sine manu                hjónaband var ýmist cum manu eða sine manu (manus = hönd sem tákn fyrir vald eða eign  sbr. → emancipatio eða → manumissio), þ.e. cum manu ef brúðurin og allar eigur hennar var selt undir vald eiginmanns (ef hann var einnig → pater familias) eða tengdaföður, ellegar skyldi hún sem fyrr lúta forsjá föður eða eigin → pater familias síns (= sine manu).

cura / curatela                    umsjón eða forræði til að annast málefni ungra karlmanna sui iuris komnir að lögaldri en enn ekki orðnir 25 ára eða vanþroskaðra og ekki viðskiptahæfra sui iuris.

curator                               sá sem fer með forsjá ungra karlmanna sui iuris komnir að lögaldri en enn ekki orðnir 25 ára eða vanþroskraðra og ekki viðskiptahæfra sui iuris.

dos                                    heimanfylgja, heimanmundur.

emancipatio                       „láta af hendi“ (e/ex manu; manus eða hönd sem tákn valds yfir persónum eða hlutum); sonur eða dóttir verða sui iuris fyrir ákvörðun → paterfamilias þeirra og yfirgefa þar með sína eigin fjölskyldu.

familia                               faðir og móðir, hús þeirra og lausafé, börn þeirra, kvæntir synir, sonabörn þeirra og sonakonur, þrælar og skjólstæðingar – þetta allt til samans var hin rómverska familia sem fremur mætti kalla heimili en fjölskyldu, ekki hópur náinna skyldmenna, heldur fólk og fé sem allt var undirgefið elsta karlmanni flokksins → pater familias.

gens                                  ætt; flokkur frjálsborinna manna sem röktu kyns sitt til eins forföður, báru nafn hans, blótuðu guðina sameiginlega og voru skuldbundnir til samhjálpar í friði og stríði. Hvert sveinbarn bar þrjú nöfn: eiginnafn (prænomen), t.d. Públíus, Marcus, Caius; ættarnafn (nomen), svo sem Cornelíus, Túllíus, Júlíus, og viðurnefni (cognomen), svo sem Scipíó, Cíceró, Caesar. Konur voru að jafnaði nefndar ættarnafninu einu: Cornelía, Túllía, Cládía, Júlía.

impubes                            drengur til 14 ára aldurs, stúlka til 12 ára aldurs.

infans                                barn allt til 7 ára aldurs.

libertus / libertinus              leysingi; þræll sem hefur öðlast frelsi.

mancipium/mancipia          «handhöfn» undir valdi → pater familias eins og eiginkona og börn (sem eru þó frjálsbornir ríkisborgarar!), uns honum þóknast að gefa þeim frelsi, sleppa af þeim hendinni (t.d. með → emancipatio).

manumissio                       að veita þræli frelsi.

paterfamilias                      «faðir fjölskyldunnar» eða höfuð fjölskyldunnar (elsti lifandi karlmaður flokksins sem getur verið faðir, afi eða langafi) sem lýtur ekki stjórn annars manns, þ.e.a.s. ef sonur kvæntist meðan faðir hans var á lífi, hélst föðurvaldið yfir barnabörnunum í höndum afa þeirra.

patria potestas                   föðurvald; persónulegt vald höfuðs fjölskyldunnar; hann einn átti öll réttindi að lögum á fyrstu tímum þjóðveldisins; innan fjölskyldunnar er hann sá eini sem mátti kaupa, eiga og selja fasteignir eða gera samninga og þurfti að samþykkja hjónabönd þeirra sem lutu valdi hans.

patronus                            eftir að hafa veitt þræli frelsi varð fyrrverandi → dominus að verndara leysingjans.

peculium                            fé eða eign í umsjón persónu sem lýtur stjórn sem sonur eða þræll og sem hún má nota að vild en er samt eign → paterfamilias eða → dominus.

puber                                 drengur allt frá 14 ára, stúlka allt frá 12 ára aldri.

pupillus                              skjólstæðingur.

servus                               þræll sem lagalega séð varð ekkert annað en (mennskur) hlutur (res) og naut þar með ekki persónuréttinda. Þrælar máttu ekkert eiga, erfa eða gefa. Þeir gátu ekki gengið í lögmætt hjónaband. Börn þeirra voru talin óskírgetin/óskilgetin, og ambáttarbörn voru talin til þræla jafnvel þótt faðirinn væri frjáls maður.

status                                staða persónu sem greindist af þrem einkennum: libertas (frelsi), civitas (borgararéttur) og familia (fjölskylda). Aðeins sá eða sú sem bjó yfir öllum þessum einkennum var persóna í fyllstu merkingu orðsins: hann / hún var frjáls en ekki þræll, var ríkisborgari en ekki útlendingur og tilheyrði rómverskri fjölskyldu.

sui iuris                              að vera óháð(ur) → patria potestas; lagalega sjálfstæð(ur).

tutela                                 forræði yfir barni undir lögaldri eða ævilöng forsjá konu (tutela mulierum) sem eru sui iuris og lúta þar með ekki lengur stjórn → paterfamilias.

tutor                                  sá sem fer með forsjá barns undir lögaldri eða konu (tutela mulierum) sem eru sui iuris.

c. Eignarréttur

animus                              hugarfar; í vissum tilvikum þarf animus að vera til staðar svo að lagalegar afleiðingar koma til greina, t.d. við eignarnám án titils (animus possidendi) eða við þjófnað (animus furandi).

bona fide                           „í góðri trú”; hugarfar manns sem telur sér trú um að haga sér rétt í samskiptum (t.d. í samningum) eins og sæmir góðum borgara.

bonae fidei possessor        sá sem hefur eignast e-ð af samningsaðila sem er í raun og veru ekki lögmætur eigandi; en hann getur hlotið titil eigandans í gegnum → usucapio.

bonorum possessio            eignarhald arfs heimilað af pretor þegar ekki var hægt að ganga að erfðum samkvæmt → ius civile (sjá → réttarkerfi Rómaveldis). Í gegnum → usucapio varð þess konar erfingi þá að löglegum eiganda.

commodatum                     útlán mestmegnis → res mobilis til notkunar eða afnota án þess að krafist sé leigugjalds; ófullkominn tvíhliða samningur, þ.e.a.s.  lántakandi einn skuldbindur sig til að skila því sem hann fékk til afnota en skyldur lánveitandans gætu hafist að ákveðnum skilyrðum uppfylltum.

conducere                         taka á leigu.

consensus                         samkomulag, samþykki.

contractus                         samningur.

contrectatio                        að skipta sér af eign óviðkomandi manns → furtum.

creditor                              kröfuhafi eða skuldheimtumaður, þ.e.a.s. lögvarin heimild tiltekins aðila, kröfuhafa, til þess að krefjast þess af öðrum aðila, skuldara, að hann geri e-ð eða láti e-ð ógert.

crimen                               afbrot, glæpur eða meiri háttar refsivert ásetningsbrot, oftast gegn almennum hegningarlögum, afbrot, sem sætir opinberri ákæru (crimen publicum).

culpa                                 (refsivert) gáleysi, ófyrirsynja eða óvarkárni sem í vissum tilvikum (culpa lata = að gera sér ekki grein fyrir því sem hver og einn veit) jafngildir → dolus.

custodia                             ábyrgð manns á hlutum annarra sem eru í hans umsjón (detentio) t.d. → depositum → commodatum → locutio conductio án þess þó að hann ætli að eiga þá (animus possidendi).

damnum emergens            fjárhagslegt tjón í kjölfar tjóns á eign eða eignarmissi (→ Lex Aquilia).

damnum iniuria datum       skaði á eign annarra (→ Lex Aquilia).

debitor                               skuldari, sá aðili að kröfusambandi sem á að inna greiðslu af hendi til samræmis við kröfuna.

delictum                             (lög-)brot eða sú háttsemi sem er andstæð réttarreglum og gefur þeim sem verður fyrir því tækifæri til að leita réttar síns fyrir dómstól.

depositum                          samningur um að geyma e-ð (→ res mobilis) án þess að fá endurgoldið; ófullkominn tvíhliða samningur, þ.e.a.s. aðeins sá sem tekur við hlut skuldbindur sig til að skila því sem hann hefur fengið í gæslu en skyldur hins aðilans gætu hafist að ákveðnum skilyrðum uppfylltum.

diligentia                            nákvæmni eða vandvirkni í umsjón hluta sem faldir eru manni til umsjónar (t.d. í → depositum). Krafist er að haga sér eins og bonus et diligens paterfamilias.

dolus                                 blekking eða fyrirætlun um að villa um fyrir samningsaðila á lymskulegan hátt (sjá einnig í réttarfar → exceptio doli).

dominium                           eignir (hlutir og þar með einnig þrælir) á valdi eigandans (= dominus).

dominus                            eigandi hluta (einnig þræla!).

emere                                kaupa.

emptio venditio                  kaupsamningur; fullkominn tvíhliða samningur milli tveggja einstaklinga.

error                                  villa.

exheredatio                        brottfall erfðaréttar.

extraneus heres                 erfingi sem kemur að utan, þ.e. utan fjölskydunnar.

fideicommissum                 fyrirmæli í erfðaskrá þar sem hinum löglega arftaka er falið að láta hluta af arfinum renna til manns sem á ekki fullan erfðarétt skv. lögum.

furtum                               þjófnaður.

hereditas                           arfur; samheiti á þeim réttindum sem ganga að erfðum (eign, kröfur, skuldir), þ.e. skipta um eigendur við andlát manns, arfleifanda.

heres                                 erfingi sem tekur við eignum, kröfum og skuldum hins látna.

honorarium                        þóknun.

hypotheca                          veðlán

in bonis habere                  sá sem hefur eignast t.d. → res mancipi af lögmætum eiganda án þess þó að eignaskipti hafið farið fram skv. lögum (→ mancipatio); þar með vantar hann titil eigandans; en hann getur hlotið titil eigandans í gegnum → usucapio.

iniuria                                móðgun eða lögbrot sem felst í því að ráðast á líkama annars aðila eða svívirða hann.

in iure cessio                     formleg afhending eignar fyrir dómstóli pretors þar sem sá sem tekur við hlutum lýsir hátíðlega yfir að vera eigandi á meðan sá þegir sem lætur þá af hendi.

intestatio                            erfðaröð án erfðaskrár.

iura in re aliena                  réttir í hlutum / eign annars aðila (t.d. vegaréttindi →  via).

Lex Aquilia                         lög frá 3. öld f.Kr. sem heimila að innheimta skaðabætur af þeim sem hefur af ásettu ráði eða af gáleysi valdið tjóni á eigum annarra (→ damnum iniuria datumdamnum emergens lucrum cessans).

locare                                leigja út.

locatio conductio                samningur á grundvelli samþykkis tveggja aðila til 1) að leigja út (færanlegan eða ófæranlegan) hlut (locatio conductio rei) til 2) að leigja út þjónustu (locatio conductio operarum) eða til 3) að láta framkvæma vinnu á hlut (locatio conductio operis). Fullkominn tvíhliða samningur.

lucrum cessans                 tjón á hagnaði í kjölfar tjóns á eign eða vegna eignarmissis í heild (→ Lex Aquilia).

mancipatio                         hátíðleg afhending eignar í votta viðurvist fyrirskipuð fyrir → res mancipi, → emancipatio ( sjá → persónuréttur) eða → testamentum. Formlega numin úr gildi á tímum Jústiníanusar.

mancipium                         frumform eignanna, oftast fengið og aflað með eigin hendi (= manu capere); handhöfn.

mandatum                         umboð; samningur á grundvelli samþykkis tveggja aðila þar sem annar aðilinn lofar að gera hinum greiða án þess þó að þiggja greiðslu fyrir það; ófullkominn tvíhliða samningur, þ.e.a.s. aðeins sá sem tekur við umboði skuldbindur sig til að gera það sem honum er falið en skyldur hins aðilans gætu hafist að ákveðnum skilyrðum uppfylltum.

metus                                hótun eða ógnun til að neyða annan aðila til gera samning (sjá einnig undir réttarfar → exceptio metus).

mutuum                             lán á varningi  til neyslu; sá sem tekur við varningi eins og víni, korni eða olíu gerist eigandi þessa og skuldbindur sig til að endurgreiða lánveitanda sama magn í sömu gæðum (tandumdem); einhliða samningur.

necessarius heres             neyðarerfingi, oftast þræll sem tekur við þegar arfurinn er skuldir einar.

obligatio                             skylda; skuldbinding sem hefst með samningi.

occupatio                           að gerast frumeigandi hlutar sem hefur ekki verið í eign annars manns (res nullius) eins og eyjar eða villidýr.

pignus                               pantur; veð

possessio                          eignarhald án löglegs titils; einhver gerir eigna annars að sinni.

pretium                              verð.

procurator                          umsjónarmaður sem sér um (viðskipta-) mál annars manns eftir að hafa fengið fullt umboð til þess.

proprietas                          lögleg eign sem nýtur verndar erga omnes (gagnvart öllum).

rapina / vi bonorum raptorum          rán; lausir munir annarra teknir með valdbeitingu (vis).

res communes                   hlutir í almannaeigu.

res corporales                    áþreifanlegir hlutir.

res divini iuris                     hlutir guðdómlega réttarins.

res extra commercio          hlutir undanskildir viðskiptum.

res humani iuris                 hlutir mannlega réttarins.

res immobiles                    fastir hlutir (hús, lóð = oftast fasteignir).

res in commercio               hlutir í viðskiptum.

res incorporales            óáþreifanlegir hlutir eins og samningar og kröfur og skuldir sem fylgja þeim.

res mancipi                        hlutir eins og í → res immobiles á ítalskri grund, vegaréttindi (→ via), þrælar og burðardýr sem krefjast → mancipatio í eignarskiptum, þ.e.a.s. sérstakrar hátíðlegrar athafnar í votta viðurvist.

res mobiles                        lausafé (í merkingunni: færanlegir hlutir).

res nec mancipi                 hlutir sem ekki krefjast mancipatio í viðskiptum og eru einfaldlega afhentir í → traditio.

res nullius                          hlutur sem hefur ekkir verið fyrr í eign annars manns.

res publica                         hlutir í ríkiseign.

res religiosae                     heilagir hlutir og staðir (eins og greftrunarstaðir).

res sacrae                        helgigripir sem njóta bannhelgi (eins og musteri).

res sanctae                    helgihlutir undir sérstakri vernd guðanna (borgarmúrar og borgarhlið).

res universitatis                  hlutir í almannaeign.

res                                    hlutur; annar hluti Rómaréttar Jústiníanusar sem fjallar um hlutaréttinn.

societas                             (viðskipta-) félag á grundvelli samnings þar sem fleiri aðilar samþykkja að deila ávinningum og töpum.

solutio (≠ vinculum)            samningsslit skv. ákvæðum samnings, þ.e.a.s. upplausn samnings með því að gera það sem kveðið er á um í samningi.

stipulatio                            munnlegur samningur að hefðbundnum hætti á grundvelli ákveðinna spurninga milli samningsaðilanna («Lofar þú mér að gefa mér hitt og þetta? Ég lofa þér að gefa þér hitt og þetta»). Hér er um að ræða klassískan einhliða samning stricti iuris, þ.e.a.s. aðeins annar aðilinn (= sá sem svarar) skuldbindur sig til að gera það sem felst í samningi eða loforði. Stipulatio gat þjónað sem einskonar frumform samnings fyrir viðskipti milli einstaklinga.

suus heres                         «síns eigin erfingi» = sonur eða dóttir sem verður → sui iuris við andlát → paterfamilias (→ persónuréttur) og tekur við fjölskyldueignum.

testamenti factio                lögmætt umboð til að skrifa undir erfðaskrá.

testamentum                     erfðaskrá.

traditio                       einföld eignarskipti ( → res non mancipi) sem krefjast ekki → mancipatio.

usucapio                            að verða löglegur eigandi þeirra hluta sem maður hefur þegar undir hendi (með animus possidendi) að liðnum fyrningarfresti (tvö ár fyrir → res immobiles og eitt ár fyrir → res mobiles).

usufructus                         afnota- eða nýtingarréttur sem heimilar að uppskera ávexti sem kunna að vaxa á grundu annars manns.

vendere                             selja.

via                                     «vegaréttindi»; sá sem nýtur þessara réttinda má fara yfir eign annars manns sem kann að liggja milli tveggja hluta eign lands síns (→ iura in re aliena ).

vinculum (≠ solutio)            band milli tveggja samningsaðila.

vis                                     valdbeiting; brotaþoli getur höfðað mál gegn geranda bæði skv. → ius privatum og → ius publicum.

d. Réttarfar

arbitrium                            gerðardómur; á tímum einveldis (dominatus) endanleg úrlausn deilumáls utan dómstóls ef báðir deiluaðilarnir komu sér saman um það.

actio                                  “verknaður”; réttur rómversks borgara til að hefja málaferli.

actio bonae fidei                málaferli sem leyfði dómaranum að taka tillit til ýmissa ástæðna eða staðreynda sem ekki koma beinlínis fram í → formula. Dómstjórinn veitti dómaranum svigrúm til að meta góða trú eða trúverðugleika (bona fides) deiluaðilanna beggja.

actio civilis                         málaferli á grundvelli laganna; einnig kölluð actio in ius concepta.

actio in factum                   málaferli sem leyfa dómaranum að hefja rannsóknina á grundvelli ákveðinna staðreynda sem sannast við rannsóknina; ein af actiones honorariae (→ ius honorarium, sjá → réttarkerfi).

actio in personam              málaferli á grundvelli (viðskipta-)samskipta tveggja einstaklinga sem hófust með samningi (→ contractus) eða með lögbroti (→ delictum) annars aðila.

actio in rem                       málaferli á grundvelli samskipta milli einstaklings og hluts sem hann á (res), oftast til að endurheimta eignina (→ rei vindicatio).

actio iudicati                       ef sá sem hefur verið dæmdur sekur vildi ekki greiða skuld sína innan ákveðins tíma gat ákærandinn hafið ný málaferli gegn honum til að neyða hann að gera það sem honum bar að gera samkvæmt úrskurði dómarans.

actio poenalis                     málaferli gegn þeim sem hefur valdið tjóni (→  delictum).

actio Publiciana                  málaferli (in rem) heimiluð af praetor sem leiðbeinir dómaranum að viðurkenna sem staðreynd að skilyrði fyrir usucapio (= að verða löglegur eigandi að liðnum fyrningarfresti) hafi verið uppfyllt (einnig kallað actio fictitia); ein af actiones honorariae (→ ius honorarium, sjá → réttarkerfi).

rei vindicatio  (actio)           eignarkrafa; málaferli til að endurheimta eign sína.

actio stricti iuris                  málaferli sem veita dómaranum ekkert svigrúm til að taka tillit til ástæðna sem ekki er gert ráð fyrir í formúlu, t.d. málaferli á grundvelli → stipulatio (sjá eignarréttur).

actio utilis                          málaferli á grundvelli staðreynda sem ekki er gert ráð fyrir beinlínis í lögunum en sem líkjast þeim að breyttu breytanda; ein af  actiones honorariae (→ ius honorarium, sjá → réttarkerfi).

actor                                  sá sem sækir um málaferli; í sakamálum accusator (ákærandi) og í einkamálum petitor eða postulator (sá sem krefst réttar síns).

appellatio                           áfrýjun; þegar aðili dómsmáls leitar endurskoðunar á dómi um efni máls með málskoti til æðra dómstóls. Ekki var gert ráð fyrir því að skjóta máli til hærra dómstigs á tímum lýðveldisins. Úrskurður dómarans var endanlegur. En frá og með tíma principatus mátti áfrýja málinu til næsthæsta embættismanns og í vissum tilvikum til sjálfs keisarans. Á tímum einveldis (dominatus) var dómskerfi háttað þannig: 1. stig héraðsstjóri (eða → iudex datus í hans umboði), 2. stig umdæmisstjóri (vicarius) eða hirðsstjóri keisarans (præfectus prætorio); 3. stig keisari (nema praefectus praetorio hefði dæmt á 2. stigi enda var hann álitinn staðgengill keisarans).

apud iudicem                     síðasti partur málaferlanna frammi fyrir dómara sem var óbreyttur borgari allt til tíma principatus; hann sat réttarhaldið á grundvelli þeirra staðreynda sem embættismaður hins opinbera hafði viðurkennt fyrr (→ litis contestatio).

cognitio extraordinaria         „óhefðbundin rannsókn“; eftir → legis actio og → formula tók réttarfar Rómaveldis á sig þessa mynd á tímum  principatus fyrst samhliða formula – réttarfari og síðan allt frá 342 e.Kr. sem eini háttur réttarhaldsins fyrir → iudicia privata og → iudicia publica. Cognitio einkennist af tvennu: 1) ríkisvæðing alls réttarfars í hendur embættismanns hins opinbera og þar með ekki lengur skipting á milli → in iure frammi fyrir embættismanni ríkisins og → apud iudicem hjá dómara úr röðum óbreyttra borgara; 2) en um leið og princeps tók málaferli í sínar hendur og annaðist stöku sinnum réttarhaldið í sinni eigin persónu fór það fram utan hins hefðbundna réttarhalds og var þess vegna kallað cognitio extra ordinem eða cognitio extraordinaria.

condemnatio                      sakfelling; í grundvallaratriðum var sakborningurinn  dæmdur til að borga sekt. Ef formúla gerði ráð fyrir mátti dómarinn bjóða honum til að skila því sem hann hafði undir hendi en sem var reyndar í eign ákærandans (→ rei vindicatio).

condictio                            málaferli in personam til að innheimta skuldina        (certa pecunia = ákveðin fjárupphæð).

confessio                           játning; hinn ákærði játar sig sekan þegar → in iure áður en farið er til dómarans og er þar með dæmdur (confessus pro iudicato habetur).

crimen (publicum)              afbrot, glæpur eða meiri háttar refsivert ásetningsbrot, oftast gegn almennum hegningarlögum og sætir opinberri ákæru (→ iudicia publica).

delictum (privatum)            (lög-)brot eða sú háttsemi sem er andstæð réttarreglum og gefur þeim sem verður fyrir því tækifæri til að leita réttar síns fyrir dómstólum (→ iudicia privata).

deportatio                          strangasti útlegðardómurinn; hinn dæmdi var lagður í fjötra, fluttur á ömurlegan stað og sviptur öllum eignum sínum.

episcopalis audientia          dómstóll biskups í málaferlum ef báðir deiluaðilarnir samþykktu það (aðeins → iudicium privatum!) allt frá tímum Konstantínusar keisara.

evocatio                             venjulega hófust málaferlin með því að annar málsaðilanna beggja leitaði réttar síns, en frá og með tímum principatus gat keisarinn sjálfur tekið frumkvæði, hafið málsrannsókn og kallað málaferlin öll til sín (= evocare) ef honum þótti vera mikið í húfi sem snerti hið opinbera eða hans eigin persónu (sjá einnig → cognitio extraordinaria). En úrskurðir keisarans urðu að fordæmi fyrir önnur og svipuð mál sem kunnu að gerast í framtíðinni.

exceptio doli                      málflutningur af hálfu varnaraðilans – heimilaður af praetor – sem staðfestir að hafa orðið fyrir blekkingum af hálfu ákærandans í samningaviðskiptum (t.d. → actio in personam).  

exceptio metus                  málflutningur af hálfu varnaraðilans – heimilaður af praetor – sem staðfestir að hafa gert samninginn bara af ótta við hótanir af hálfu ákærandans.

exilium                               mildara form útlegðar, því þá mátti hinn dæmdi lifa sem frjáls maður hvar sem honum þóknaðist utan Ítalíu.

formula / processum formulare         allt frá 150 f.Kr. var ekki lengur krafist tiltekinna orða og aðferða í málaferlum (→ legis actio), en málsaðilar og dómstjóri komu sér saman um það hvernig málið skyldi lagt fyrir dómarann (→ iudex). Síðan sendi dómstjóri dómaranum ritaða skýrslu um alla málavöxtu. Var þetta kallað að reka mál per formulam.

infamia                              “málleysi”; sum afbrot eins og þjófnaður og rán leiddu til þess að menn féllu í áliti innan þjóðfélagsins og máttu ekki lengur taka þátt í málaferlum eða láta annan gera það fyrir sína hönd.

in iure                                fyrsti partur málaferlanna frammi fyrir embættismanni ríkisins til að ganga úr skugga um hvort gildandi lög geri ráð fyrir beiðni umsækjandans; dómstjórinn metur hvort leyfa eigi að hefja → actio eða ekki.

interdictio aquae et ignis    „bann á notkun vatns og elds“; þegar hinn ákærði í → iudicia publica flúði áður en dómurinn var felldur var hann úrskurðaður útlægur og mátti ekki lengur njóta vistar meðal samborgaranna. Ef hann snéri heim í leyfisleysi mátti hver sem var drepa hann.

interdictum                         bann; eitt af „meðulum“ ráðherravalds pretors: áður en kom til málaferla eða til að forðast þau gat praetor skipað manni að gera eða hætta að gera eitthvað í garð annars manns.

iudex                                 dómari; í málaferlum einstaklinga á milli ekki embættismaður hins opinbera heldur óbreyttur borgari menntaður í lögfræði sem falið er að dæma allt fram á tíma einveldis (dominatus).

iudex datus (pedaneus)      frá og með tímum principatus tilnefndu ríkisstjórar héraðanna sem höfðu umsjón með réttarhöldum í sínum umdæmum lægra setta embættismenn til að gegna hlutverki dómara (sjá einnig → cognitio extraordinaria).

iudicatus                            sá sem hefur verið dæmdur sekur í málaferlum.

iudicia populi                      á fyrstu öldum lýðveldisins voru málaferli vegna ákveðinna afbrota og glæpa (→ crimen publicum) borin fram til atkvæða fyrir hundraðsdeildaþingi (→ comitia centuriata) eða sveitaþingi fólksins (→ comitia tributa) [sjá → saga Rómaveldis].

iudicia privata                    einkamál; mál sem einstaklingur eða lögpersóna höfðar gegn einstaklingi eða lögpersónu til úrlausnar á réttarágreiningi um réttindi þeirra eða skyldur.

iudicia publica                    sakamál; mál sem handhafar ákæruvalds eða einstaklingur sjálfur sem varð fyrir lögbroti annars aðila höfðar til refsingar lögum samkvæmt.

legis actio (sacramento)     málaferli á grundvelli ákveðinna laga í gildi frá tímum tólftaflnalaganna allt til endaloka lýðveldisins. Þessi málaferli fóru fram munnlega og krafist var að fara í einu og öllu eftir settum orðum enda gátu hin minnstu afbrigði ónýtt málið. Í legis actio sacramento sem var ein af fimm háttum þessara fornu málaferla fékk hvor deiluaðilanna dómstjóranum í hendur fjárhæð nokkra (sacramentum) og  rann framlag þess sem tapaði málinu til ríkistrúarinnar. Legis actio málaferli voru í gildi einnig á tímum málaferla → per formulam en formlega afnumin með leges Iuliae iudiciorum publicorum et privatorum á tímum Ágústusar.

litis contestatio                   „deiluyfirlýsing“; að loknum fyrsta áfanga í málaferlum (→ in iure) staðfesti embættismaður ríkisins það sem umdeilt var meðal beggja deiluaðilanna áður en haldið var áfram frammi fyrir dómaranum (→ apud iudicem).

missio in possessionem     eitt af þeim „meðulum“ sem praetor gat notað í processum formulare; í krafti ráðherravalds síns gat dómstjórinn veitt ákærandanum umsjón með eign (allri eigninni eða að hluta til) hins ákærða til að tryggja sæmilega framkomu þess í málaferlunum sjálfum.

parricidium                         ólöglegt dráp frjáls borgara (upphaflega foreldramorð eða dráp ættingja: parricidium = patrem caedere = að drepa föður).

perduellio                           landráð.

quaestiones extraordinariae                   dómstóll, frá og með 2. öld. f.Kr., reistur af gefnu tilefni til að rannsaka sérstaka (pólitíska) glæpi → crimen publicum.

quaestiones perpetuae       frá og með 149 f.Kr. fóru málaferli afbrota og glæpa (→ crimen publicum) fram fyrir kviðdómi undir forystu dómstjórans (praetor).

relegatio                            mildasta form útlegðar; hafði engan eignamissi í för með sér, en útlaginn varð að dveljast á tilteknum stað, venjulega langt frá Rómaborg.

restitutio in integrum          eitt af þeim „meðulum“ sem praetor gat notað í processum formulare; ef annar deiluaðilinn hafði tapað miklu í málaferlum stricti iuris og varð þar með fyrir óréttlæti (t.d. ef hann var óreyndur, of ungur) gat dómstjórinn skipað að endurnýja ástandið sem fyrr ríkti áður en málsaðilarnir gerðu samning sín á milli.

sententia                           dómur; annaðhvort condemno = ég sakfelli (hinn ákærða) eða absolvo = ég leysi (hinn ákærða).

stipulationes praetoriae      eitt af þeim „meðulum“ sem praetor gat notað í processum formulare; dómstjórinn gat neytt annan málsaðilanna beggja (eða báða) til að gera → stipulatio (sjá → eignarréttur) í þeim tilgangi að tryggja sæmilega framkomu hans / þeirra í málaferlunum sjálfum.

reus                                   hinn ákærði í sakamálum,  sakborningur; í einkamálum kallast oft pars conventa = sá sem er kallaður fyrir dómstól.

North and South – And a Traveler from In-Between

Instead of an Introduction (Starting from the Middle)

The Balkans is an especially unique place on Earth. It is really a difficult task to compare it with any other part of our world, but I would take the risk of comparing it with the Caucasus. The Balkans comprise dozens of linguistically related and non-related nations sprinkled in a seemingly random manner all over the mostly mountainous peninsula. In reality, nothing is random or spontaneous about that. Their placement in space (and not only space) is a result of thousands of years of warfare, power games, ideological and religious indoctrination, violence, and, to a great extent, trade, cooperation and intermarrying. All these nations and their respective languages are crowded between the high mountains, powerful rivers, deep lakes and crushing seas; all of them representing their own national truth, all of them carrying their own type of hatred and love. That is the reason why in this land many hilltops are crowned with castles. Each castle has displayed dozens of different flags, depending who the master was at the moment. Each castle wall has seen thousands of deaths by wounds, disease or hunger, and some of the walls contain the bodily remains of the enemy. What for? So that we would have history books filled with national history. So that we could rename places and call them differently in our own language. Furthermore, castles are great for tourism – they are money machines, and tourists love them. Romantic selfies taken upon a meter or so of soil which covers tons of bones and still rotting blood.

But the key questions among the nations of the Balkans is surely the following:

‘Who was here first?’

Because someone was. Some nations are sure that their forefathers were the aborigines of the peninsula. Some claim that they came later but the land was already empty due to evil Romans. And then some claim that we are all descendants of the aborigines, just to varying degrees. I would not be surprised if all of them were mostly wrong, and all of them just a bit right. One fact is for sure: The Balkans was populated even before humans by Neanderthals. So, arrows have been flying through these woods for a long time. And just like Americans, Spaniards in South America, Canadians, Australians, etc., most of the nations of the Balkans have that complex of getting there too late and seizing other people’s land. That complex is manifested in hundreds of different ways, some of them even being incorporated into the notion of national pride. In that respect, Rhaeto-Romans (in all variations), Albanians, and Greeks are a bit different because they undoubtedly regard themselves as the original peoples of the Balkans, and they rather take on the role of the historical victim than that of a historical conqueror.

Although modern genetics is telling a different story, the majority of the people of the Balkans remain firmly anchored in their traditional postulates: We are all nationally pure and homogeneous, we all righteous, we are all brave conquerors/tragic victims, we are all better than the others. We will sooner or later receive our justice. In reality, all of the people of the Balkans have spent the vast majority of their history as slaves to other white people. Some nations reached short term independence, mostly when big powers got bored and tired of killing them and investing in high mountain wars. It was only in the 20th century that the nations of the Balkans started on the path of independence, and on a long and successful mission of becoming Europe’s poorest and most backward region. The inflamed appendix of Europe. The Balkans, the abused child of Europe enters puberty. People who have experienced suffering in long lasting, devastating slavery in the 20th century started practicing their sovereignty in the most unlikely of ways. People so complicated in their profound experience, and so simple in their utter stupidity.

If you are a person from the Balkans and you are visiting Iceland for the first time, absolutely nothing can prepare you for the culture shock. That is only understandable. It was by a great coincidence that just a few months after Iceland I had a chance to visit a culture in the southern extreme of the Mediterranean – Lebanon. Although being strikingly different from the Balkans, Lebanon nevertheless seemed to be culturally and historically closer to me than Iceland. And the distance between Iceland and Lebanon seemed as a never-ending journey. I am extremely grateful for being able to compare the North, the South, and the thing in the middle.

Allow me to share a part of my vastly subjective experience.

The Battle of Iceland

It was plus +45° C on my Mediterranean terrace as I read the email sent by the organizers of a scientific conference (on Canadian culture) in Akureyri, Iceland. In the email they strictly warned the conference participants, including me, to take warm jackets, although it was summer in Akureyri. I read that sentence twenty times while big drops of sweat kept falling down my forehead. It was just one day before departure. In my typically self-confident but, nevertheless, superficial Balkan manner I thought: ‘A jacket takes a lot of space in the bag. And summer is summer everywhere. It can’t be that cold. I’ll take only one warm pullover. I mean, it is in Europe.’

A decision I regretted instantly upon arrival.

Cold or not, the scenery was breathtaking. The black colors of lava, and those specifically Icelandic shades of green and brown, which collided with the blackness above and beneath the waterfalls, kept my face stuck to the bus window. I was sleepy and exhausted but had no intention of missing even a second of the Icelandic landscape. And I watched. No castles. No wide, boasting roads. No dramatic highway bridges built on IMF loans, and so typical of the poorest European countries. No visible attempts to subordinate nature with large chunks of reinforced concrete. Just timid, mostly wooden, beautifully painted houses (with large SUVs parked in front of them, some of these cars being as big as the houses; I learned later that these cars are a result of sheer necessity in Iceland, and the shovel attached to the rear is not a matter of tuning but rather good sense). Great roads but just wide enough to serve the everyday needs of inhabitants. And virgin nature around, untouched, proud and content. I had a feeling that the Icelanders and their nature constantly cuddle each other. That’s all they do, they cuddle. And both the people and nature know when is the right moment to safely pull back the hand, stop cuddling, and let mutual respect do the rest.

Somewhere above Skagarfjörður the bus stopped and I got out. The first time I’d experienced the Icelandic wind. I was told this wind was far from its maximum galore, although it was already stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced in Europe, including our infamous eastern Mediterranean bura (or bora) and the brisk northern winds of the Baltic Sea. And, yes, I was frozen again, but happy to discover one interesting thing: You can eat Icelandic air. It has a wonderful smell and the taste of Earth’s untouched north and breathing it is close to the experience of eating skyr for the first time. I could see a fjord, and a dark sea. Icelandic horses on the field far away. There were black peaks of mountains that looked like the teeth of a dragon sleeping on his back with his mouth wide opened. There was me eating the air. I suddenly realized how really wonderfully different Iceland was.

I arrived in Akureyri around midnight. The bus stopped at the central bus station in front of the Hof. I got out of the bus and right away I was frozen. The bus driver asked me where my hotel was. I told him the street, it was some 400 meters away. The bus driver told me: “Hop in, you’ll freeze”. He started the bus and drove me a few streets further at the beginning of the Hafnarstæti. Mind you, and official Icelandic transport bus. I couldn’t believe it. I started thanking him and then I noticed he was a bit annoyed. Later I realized that you don’t need to thank too much in Iceland, you don’t even have to ask. People just help when they feel that help is needed.

I realized right away that Icelanders don’t fall for empty words, phrases and formal courtesy. They just do what they feel is right. And their feeling of righteousness is deeply rooted in them through their culture, tradition and history. I was never a fan of traditionalism in the continental sense of the word, but in Iceland the air is different, and so is tradition. Because of the rough climate and isolation, the core of any tradition in Iceland is based on mutual help. In other words, without any fallacy of politeness, a traveller constantly feels as though surrounded with members of loving and caring family. You don’t have to know a word of the language.

I got to know about the hostel on Hafnarstæti through an Icelandic friend of mine I met via the Internet. Owners of the hostel, who were my friend’s relatives, greeted me in a way that would not be considered whole-hearted in the Balkans, but they right away gave me a big discount, helped me to settle in, and started treating me as one of their own. After a few days there, I felt like a part of the team. As if I was a part of the family or, at least, employed by the hostel. Following my friend’s tip, I went to the Icelandic Red Cross center and purchased a wonderful traditional Icelandic wool jacket. I paid three times less than what I would have paid in the center. I was proud but instantly bothered by that fact. In a conversation with the hostel owners and employees, I tried to express that in a self-justifying joke. I said: ‘Hah, I’m a real Balkan opportunist: a day in Iceland and I already raided the Red Cross’. No one laughed, and there was a long moment of confusion. Then, as if he felt my Eastern European mentality infected with all sorts of inferiority complexes, the owner of the hostel told me: ‘Relax. We are all relaxed here. And we all buy cheaper when we can. We are not crazy to do any different’.

Relax. Indeed, a key word in Iceland. I saw nervous people; I heard people raise their voices. But it would all soon pass, and life continued without any drama. It was just like the Icelandic wind; it came unexpectedly kicking up dust and stones, and then it would disappear even faster leaving the scenery equally beautiful.

The other thing I noticed about Icelanders right away was their deep, unscrupulous and opened self-criticism. Where I come from, we generally still feel like we have to prove to Western Europe that we too are Europeans. We very often hide our weak sides and consider them shameful. One big part of our existence is occupied by gluing tons of cultural make-up on the face of our intellectual decay and especially the burlesque inefficiency of our economy and deeply corrupted society. On the other hand, Icelanders, a nation incomparably richer and more developed than mine, were entirely comfortable claiming that they were an unhappy nation of utter weekend (and not just weekend) alcoholics, adulterers and villains, led by a weak and corrupted government. Nothing could have surprised me more. I listened to what they had to say about themselves. What I concluded is that Icelanders on average really do not look “violently happy”, as Björk would have it, but their sadness is perfectly softened by all of the great aspects of life in Iceland, and these aspects are numerous. They seemed to me more down-to-Earth than depressed. There is a problem with drinking in Iceland, although the extent of that problem could not be compared with anything we have on the continent. From Scandinavia and Iberia all the way to the Balkans and the Caucasus, alcohol consummation is a huge problem. Most Icelanders are at least decent enough to typically drink Friday evening and over weekends in designated bars. And yes, some of them drink until they fall off their seats, and then they are carried home. But I never saw groups of young people lying drunken and unconscious in a park, for example. Not to mention tons of heroin syringes covering public spaces like pointy flowers – you can’t see that in Iceland. As far as their marital and extramarital practices are concerned, coming from a culture terribly suppressed by a mostly false and hypocritical understanding and practice of faith, I found their way of life much more original, straightforward and morally acceptable. I never met villains in Iceland in any possible sense of the word. While I am sure that corruption exists everywhere, in Iceland as well, I will not lose time or energy on even trying to compare the level of institutional corruption in Iceland and continental Europe, not to mention Eastern Europe.

I did not try to contradict them because I noticed one thing: Their open self-criticism is an efficient way of coping with their problems, and, more importantly, an important tool in repairing the damage and keeping their social problems under control. Successful self-correction through unbiased self-criticism: this is a complex personal skill and an essential social virtue, which even some developed continental European societies still have to adopt and/or perfect.

One thing drew my attention, an apparent lack of ill-tempered nationalism. Icelanders do not seem to compare themselves to anyone. Not in the way we do that on the continent at least. Around them is the sea. Furthermore, they have accepted an enormous number of foreign workers (for the most part from Poland), and I saw quite a few Icelanders walking in the streets with spouses from different countries, races and religions. I spoke with some of the foreigners, Poles and Croats to be precise, and they told me only good things about Icelanders and their attitude towards foreigners. One Croatian immigrant I met in the hostel told me the following: ‘No one asks you where you came from, they just want to see what you can do. If you work fairly, you will have everything. If you break the rules, you have nothing to look for here. This is a different world.’

While people of the Balkans quite often insist on their national purity, Icelanders will openly and proudly tell you that the Vikings formed only one half of their national genetic pool. Apparently, the Vikings, on their way to Iceland, stopped in Scotland and Ireland to borrow a certain number of females. These Celtic women provided the other half of modern Icelandic cultural identity. Hence, the amusing idea of mountain trolls seems to be much more important for the Icelandic cultural identity than an idealized image of a Viking warrior. You can quite often see troll dolls in shop windows, on streets, in souvenir shops, and in the windowpanes of private homes. Vikings seem to reside mostly in museums, books and in the names of several bars (this is, at least, what I experienced in Akureyri). I can easily imagine that, if the people of the Balkans inhabited Iceland, they would be ashamed of traditions connected to trolls, but they would have streets named after Vikings, with large Viking monuments on every square. These Vikings would be fierce warriors with swords, cutting off the heads of every possible enemy. Especially heads of the Danes, the ex-colonists, disregarding the fact that Danish rulers and Vikings were separated by at least nine centuries. But Iceland is not such a society.

Another thing about Iceland impressed me, and that is the absence of the national flag. You can buy it in all souvenir shops, but you can rarely see it on buildings, even governmental ones. I bought an Icelandic flag, and looking at it in the evenings, I wondered how many Icelandic flags remain on the island, and how many travel with tourists around the globe. My guess was that only one small portion of the flags stays in the country. In the end, I had no idea where the urge to buy the flag came from in the first place.

On my way back from Akureyri to Reykjavik, I took a tourist bus that takes travelers on a longer road through the center of Iceland. In the bus, stuck over the driver’s head, I saw a small Danish flag. That really intrigued me; this kind of behavior would spark debates in the Balkans. I mean, the flag of the ex-colonist! So, I approached the driver and asked why the Danish flag was waving over his head. He got confused, he stared at the flag for a moment. Then he asked: ‘This is a Danish flag? I didn’t know that. I am from Poland. I just drive the bus’.

The feature of Icelandic society that has utterly won my heart is their trust in basic human goodness. We have all watched documentaries about desolate parts of the world, untouched by human civilization. In these parts of the world animals are not afraid of people, but they often approach them out of curiosity. I had the same feeling when observing young Icelanders and children. Children would approach foreigners without fear, and they seemed so confident in their surroundings. My Icelandic friend had arranged that I meet with her son, which I did (although at the moment she was at the other end of the country). We went rowing shortly in a boat in the middle of the fjord. Then we ate an ice cream. Her son was everything that a child of his age should be, a curious little prankster, but every now and then he would turn into a serious and extremely well informed interlocutor in English. I was amazed by this balance of childish carefreeness and responsibility and maturity of a grown up. The same happened when I spoke with the son of my colleague whom I met at the conference in Akureyri. His son, a boy of nine years, who is, just to mention, multilingual, told me about the games and sports he likes, and then he told me about his job as a porter in a hotel. In Iceland, children can have grown up jobs, and they are paid fairly for that. Listening to his childish laughter interrupted by his briskly sharp and serious thoughts of a responsible member of society, I couldn’t help wondering how they achieve that in Iceland. And I thought that this is how children must have been, at least a little bit, in my country some hundred years ago, not because of excellent education and responsible upbringing but rather out of necessity that arose from poverty and hardship.

Children in Iceland are real children, mischievous and playful, but at the same time they are responsible, and in every way efficient parts of the society. How come a twelve-year-old boy goes rowing alone in the fjord with a stranger, engages in an interesting two-hour conversation, and then hurries home because his job is waiting in the morning? I compared that with the upbringing we have back home. First of all, we are over protective parents, and the first thing we teach our children is not to trust strangers, actually, not to trust anyone (although I cannot blame the parents for that). An important part of that is implanting in them utter doubt about the society and the establishment as such (and I don’t blame parents for that neither). Secondly, our schooling system molds them in a way that suppresses their creativity, critical and independent thinking. Growing up in our society basically comes down to surviving and learning to cope with numerous forms of open and tacit types of humiliation imposed by people, by peers, by bureaucracy, by the establishment, etc. Your success is measured according to the level of your acquired resistance to humiliation. We insist that children stay childish as long as they can, and responsibility… We are never taught how exactly to take on or cope with any responsibility. In my country it is not rare that children stay with their parents until the age of 40. Of course, this is closely connected with the state of our economy, but still, so much could be improved.

Reflecting on my Icelandic experience, the way Icelandic children are brought up was maybe one of the most impressive things I saw in that country. Icelandic children are fully integrated into their society at an early age. They feel absolutely safe in the society, hence their childish joy of living, but on the other hand, they very early learn how to contribute to society through meaningful and useful work. Ever since I visited Iceland, I’m thinking that this is a societal experience and upbringing I would wish for my children.

To summarize the most striking features of life in Iceland, I will make a very personal claim that Icelandic society displays that wonderful streak of an intuitive society. Intuitive society in the sense of a group of people with a developed higher sense of societal responsibility, the appreciation of justice, humanity and natural surroundings, actually, to the point where most of the forms of the repressive apparatus become redundant. Social proofs to this claim are abundant, and in the political sense, the strikingly clear sign of highly developed social intuition in is the Icelandic Pirate Party (a movement for direct democracy which is intrinsically related to intuitive societies) which at one point in 2016 won more than 14% of votes in the general elections.

I remember how, upon the news that the Pirate Party won enough votes to send representatives to parliament, the reaction in my country varied from disbelief to mockery. I myself could not believe how that could have happened, and I thought that the rise of the Pirate Party had to be mainly preconditioned and sparked by the shocking experience of the collapse of banking and the economy from 2008 to 2011. While that might be partially true, only after visiting Iceland have I gotten the full picture. The fact is that Icelandic society already is a partially intuitive society, a society so complex and well balanced that every freedom and justice movement finds fertile soil there. In that respect, it is enough just to look at the Icelandic attitude towards female rights. The truth is that Icelandic society is decades ahead of any other European society. The size of the society and their relative isolation have surely been factors which Icelanders were able to turn to their benefit. I believe it will take decades for other European societies to grasp the level of the intuitive society now existing in Iceland, and even more decades to implement it.

I would add here that I spent ten days in Iceland, and I never saw a police officer. In 2018.

Meanwhile, people of the Balkans still vote mostly for their serious parties falsely divided into the so called left and right. They continue giving their support to people they do not trust but they consider them less harmful than some other people. They continue living in the fog of empty nationalist rhetoric that gives full license for the political opportunists to continue spreading their web of crime and corruption. Meanwhile, more and more potential immigrants from the Balkans dream about finding their future in the west and north. I understand them fully.

People I met in Iceland asked me: ‘How does it feel to live in a country surrounded with hostile neighbors, squeezed behind the land borders that are so often visited by the demon of war?’ I did not try to fully explain the hate and bad blood that flow through every creek in the Balkans, in every pit, under every stone, and forms waterfalls over every elevation in the Balkans, just like volcanic and glacial waters do in Iceland. I couldn’t explain it fully, even if I wanted to. Especially not to Icelanders. Icelanders took over an uninhabited island. They did not cause a genocide of any other nation upon their final settlement. From the very beginning they were blessed with a clean start. And then, although colonized by Denmark, they were left out of all the carnages that Europe produced and went through. Furthermore, when the British army took over the island during WWII, Icelanders largely profited from that moment in history as well. And today Iceland is one of the most developed and richest nations in the world. What I told my Icelandic friends basically comes down to following:

You are lucky to be surrounded by the sea. So lucky.

History has spared you.’

There is a history museum in Akureyri. It is situated in a vast modernist villa which, with its symmetry and sharp edges, somehow sticks out from its surroundings (and, of course, reflects the architectural outlines set by Mies van der Rohe in his Villa Tugendhat in Brno). I read that the villa was built in the first half of the 20th century by a German family, obviously in favor of the modern building style and the Icelandic landscape (which is interesting and somehow contradictory; while the general public in Germany in those times largely idolized Iceland and its culture, they were quite negative towards modern architecture and art in general). Taking into consideration that the family is no longer there, and that the house is a museum, I gather that’s a way that Icelanders successfully closed that monstrous chapter in Europe’s history on their soil (while, let’s be fair, a large portion of the European continent still lives in the year of 1945).

I was thinking how a history museum so far north could possibly look like (just under or barely in the Polar circle, depends which claims stated by Wikipedia you accept as true) and what can it offer here in this history-free land? I came to the museum just at closing time. However, a young curator of the museum (she herself being a child) decided to keep the museum open for another half an hour just for me. And that half an hour changed everything.

I soon learned that the Vikings tried to inhabit the island three times but the island kept on killing them. After the final successful colonization of land, the remaining population was several times almost annihilated by the climate, diseases, and hunger. Icelanders lived in horrible poverty for centuries, constantly under the threat of freezing, hunger, and, strangely enough, fire (the city of Akureyri was hit by devastating fires several times, and most of them seem to have started in bakeries). According to the data revealed in the museum, at the beginning of the 20th century Iceland was one of the poorest countries in the world. All the way up to WWII a large portion of the people lived in dugouts, dwellings dug in the dark Icelandic turf. During WWII, when the British arrived, and later the Americans, Icelanders started trading with them, they learned the English language (almost all Icelanders are fluent in English), they got rid of the Danish rule entirely (only in 1944), and that has sparked a speedy development of the economy. The rest of the century Icelanders dedicated to successfully becoming one of the richest nations in the world.

I realized that my country was actually much more developed, much richer and better off than Iceland probably all the way until the fifties of the 20th century. And since then, Iceland has gone further, and my country became one of the poorest in the EU. All this new information shocked me. I was speechless, just staring at a photograph of children taken during carnival. I was pulled out from my thoughts by the young curator who now politely warned me that the half an hour had passed a long time ago. I realized I was totally and absolutely wrong: Iceland was not spared by history. Not at all. Their entire history was, and still is, a battle. I realized now that the battle of Iceland was one of the fiercest in the history of Europe. It was the battle against the elements and nature, the only battle people can never entirely win.

Iceland also had to be fought for, and its conquest claimed more people (compared with the overall population) than in any other nation in Europe. And houses dug in the soil, warm springs, tiny horses, and most of all, strong expanded families, these were Icelandic castles.

The enemy of Icelanders were not others who brought death, but rather death itself.

I continued my walk up the slope behind the Museum. Being an almost typical Croatian, I wanted to take a walk in the city graveyard, because here we believe that this is the final and the crucial step in getting to know a place. A visit to the field of death. The oldest part of the graveyard followed the pattern of other European graveyards – at the beginning were old, dignified but totally solemn monuments marking the remains of Danish rule.  Even if they bore Icelandic names, their promise to rest in peace was written in Danish, or, at least, in Danish orthography. And then a great surprise:  I saw, in the newer part of the graveyard, Icelandic flags everywhere. Almost all of the graves were marked by one small national flag stuck in the ground. The graveyard looked like a field of flags, a field full of blue, red and white flowers (I did see a few Danish, Norwegian, and one Finnish flag as well). A nation which rarely uses their national flag among the living, uses these symbols of colorful cloth to mark what was left of their dead. It all became clear to me.

There is no land that hasn’t been fought for, by sword, by word, or by central heating of some sort. And this wonderful land, Iceland, was one of the rare places on Earth morally and practically worth fighting for.

Lebanon Refuses (to) Disappoint(ment)

First I saw it from the air. It was night, the lights disclosed the shape of the coastline. As the airplane approached the city, even from the high altitude I could feel the luxury and grandeur of Beirut. Before the war they used to call it ‘Paris of the Middle East’. They also dubbed Budapest ‘Paris on the Danube’. I could never really understand why should anyone compare other cities, especially those in the East, to Paris in the first place. This is how the world works, I guess, in constant collaboration of the feelings of superiority and fear. By naming an alien place after something you consider yours and supreme, the fear is reduced and superiority is set to thrive. Beirut looked nothing like Paris to me. It was Beirut.

I was overwhelmed with joy upon the news that the second part of the Saudi crime serial, in which I had a role of an American mafia guy, would take place on set in Lebanon. When I told the people close to me that I would travel there, they became anxious and their faces darkened under a shade of worry. They told me that this part of the world is not safe, if nothing else, because it was too close to the war-torn Syria. That made me even more determined to go there.

I saw armed people at the Frankfurt airport upon boarding the airplane. Special forces, all covered and wrapped up. I could not help noticing that the soldiers were present only at the gate where the passengers for Beirut were boarding. They checked us all thoroughly. Passengers bound to other destinations were strolling down the corridor behind our backs and observing in astonishment. When they saw the word ‘Beirut’ on the display, I saw their face expressions change into a large Aha! sign. Travelers to Beirut have to be checked, naturally.

I saw soldiers again in the airport in Beirut. They were armed lightly and seemed utterly uninterested about what was going on. It was much warmer than in Frankfurt. The young woman at the customs asked me about the hotel where I was staying. I told her I didn’t know the hotel’s name. She told me that in that case I could not enter the country. I hastily connected to the airport Wi-Fi and called the assistant director. He said: ‘Just give them this name’. I gave them the name of a hotel I eventually never visited. The young woman smiled and I was in.

At the exit there was a guy waiting with my name written on a piece of paper. I approached him, and, without many words, I found myself in a black van. Behind the windshield, there was a paper with the Arabic inscription saying ‘Ehktiraq’ or, translated in English, ‘Infiltration’, which is the title of the crime serial we were shooting. In this instance as well, a familiar name has cured some discomfort. I was the only passenger in the van.

We passed by some crumpled looking palm trees, then through an underpass made of massive concrete blocks, and then the astonishing beauty of night time Beirut struck me as a sudden light after darkness. Although it was late, the traffic was quite thick, and that gave me the time to observe the wonderful buildings and squares were passed by. The driver was silent. He lit the second cigarette even before we reached the center.

Again, I pushed my face against the window. The center of Beirut seemed as an otherworldly mixture of traditional and modern architecture. And, what surprised me a bit, streets were riddled with sacral objects belonging to a variety of different religions. If I would fall into a temptation of comparing Beirut with other places, I would say it looked to me like a mixture of Athens, Rome, and Tunis, but then again, it looked nothing like any of these places.

Once we passed the strict center, I first saw buildings whose facades bore the scars of the civil war. I remembered growing up in the 80’ and watching this terrible war on the TV. In those times Beirut was a synonym for death and destruction, and its Holiday Inn the symbol of the war. Little did I know that I would live through in many ways a similar conflict in my own country just a few years later. Splinter holes in walls look the same all around the world.

The traffic got even thicker on the half-highway that connects all the Lebanese coastal towns. I noticed right away that the quality of the road could not support the bravery of some drivers. The traffic looked like a deadly mixture of chaos and speed. The driver was getting more and more nervous, I heard bitter words coming out of his mouth together with the cigarette smoke. I thought it was a right time to start a conversation in my broken Arabic and a bit of gesticulation. ‘Is it always like this?’, I asked. To put it short, the driver told me that road safety and the death toll are one of the burning issues in the country. Every day people die on Lebanese roads, good people that would otherwise build the future of this land.

‘Roads have killed more people in Lebanon than any war.’

And just when that thought was about to sink in, we saw a large shadow over the opposite side of the highway, a few hundred meters further from us, a shadow that quickly disappeared, and then produced a loud crash. On the road where people drive up to 150 km/h with a half a meter distance between vehicles, only luck will prevent chain crashes when someone suddenly kicks the brake. And that’s exactly what happened; the driver pushed the brake violently, I grasped the seat in front of me. We stopped. Sounds of honks, and very soon sirens. After waiting for about twenty minutes, we started moving slowly towards the place where the accident had happened. It took us a half an hour to make that few hundred meters. The driver opened his window and looked left. There was a sight of total destruction on the opposite side of the highway. It seems that one of the cars hit the rear part of the other car in high speed, which propelled that car into the air. The flying car then fell on another moving car and then bounced over to our side of the highway.  The driver shook his head in disbelief and lit another cigarette.

It was a horrible scene. However, just like holes in walls, all car accidents look more or less the same. But one thing I will never forget; there was an older woman standing in middle of the highway, trembling, crying, and shrieking. She was constantly calling the name of God, which in Arabic translates as Allah (Arabs of all religions have only one name for God, and that’s Allah, and it can be found in the Arabic version of the Bible as well. Contrary to the western media, there is no need to get paranoid just upon hearing the word uttered by any Arab). I think she was the one who caused the crash, the driver of the flying car. She stood there and shrieked. In one moment, a younger man left the group of men he was standing with near another crashed car, and he approached the woman. She cried once more: ‘Allah!’ In that moment he hugged her and tapped her on the back.

I was shocked. Absolutely shocked. Coming from a place where even parking disputes can result in shootings and dead people, I was shocked to see that one of the afflicted people hugged the culprit. It was me who now said: ‘God, are they hugging now?’ The driver of our van continued nodding his head. He then muttered: ‘Crazy people’. He threw the cigarette butt out of the window, and we slowly left the scene of the accident. The sounds of sirens became more silent; it was all behind us now. The driver looked at me in the mirror and said: ‘Welcome to Lebanon.’

Due to some technical issues, the shooting was postponed for a couple of days. I didn’t mind at all. I stayed in a wonderful hotel built right on the beach in the center of the city of Jbeil, also known as by its ancient Phoenician name Byblos. I took long walks in this ancient city. I saw the ruins of the Phoenician town and the port, I visited old Christian basilicas, mosques and the bazaar with narrow streets full of life. It struck me as a place where people live in peace and harmony. A lot of people, because Lebanon is a very small country with a population of over 6.8 million. More than a million of them refugees.

I’ve noticed right away the freedom of movement and expression. No one stared at no one, no one asked questions. I could walk freely everywhere, even in the shabby part of the town, and I never felt unsafe or even unpleasant. At one point I got hungry and I decided to go far further from the center to find a traditional Lebanese restaurant, not a touristic place such as those displayed in the center. After a longer walking I didn’t find any restaurant, so I asked an old man sitting in front of his thin but high house (in this way builders win space on a crowded land) to help me. ‘Are there any restaurants here?’, I asked showing with my hand towards the East and the mountain slopes. He nodded his head in a bit worried manner. ‘Yes, well… yes’, he replied and also pointed towards the East with his hand. I walked further and crossed the highway on a pedestrian overpass (practically the only and definitely the safest way to cross roads in Lebanon because zebra crossings are almost inexistent and very dangerous) and got uphill to the eastern suburbs. I asked another man about a restaurant. He said he didn’t know of any. I’ve noticed a large shopping mall a hundred meters away, and asked him if there was a restaurant in the mall. He said: ‘Yes… yes, it has to be.’ I asked for the reconfirmation: ‘In the shopping mall?’ The man looked towards the ground and said in a hesitant way: ‘Yes… on the second floor. Or somewhere.’

So, I went to the mall just to learn that it had no second floor. The security guy laughed at me for ten minutes. I asked him if there was a restaurant nearby. He answered in French: ‘Not that I know of, but there has to be at least one somewhere.’ I walked further, more and more uphill. I thought, ‘if I continue like this, I would very soon have my lunch in Syria’. And then I gave it the last try. An old woman. I asked her about a restaurant. She told me: ‘Go to the center. It’s full of restaurants.’  I told her: ‘I want something not so touristic.’ The woman replied: ‘But I also eat there, in the center.’ I shrugged my shoulders. One last try. ‘Do you know of any traditional, family-type, smaller restaurants around here?’ The woman asked: ‘Here?’ and she looked uphill towards the place where the last houses were slowly disappearing in the Mediterranean macchia and rocks. She sighted, looked to the ground, and she said: ‘Yes… there has to be. Somewhere…’. And she left. By that time, I knew there were no restaurants around at all. All the restaurants were in the center. I enjoyed the view of the city that I had from the hill slope, and then I returned to the hotel.

I made friends with all the people working in the reception. It wasn’t hard, they were wonderful young people. I helped them decorate the Christmas tree because it was that time of the year. By the way, the biggest Christmas tree in the world is erected in Jbeil, and it is made of high metal construction covered with empty green water bottles. After three hours of unsuccessful search for a restaurant, I returned to the hotel and grabbed a bottle of water at the reception desk, took a long sip and asked the young woman who worked there: ‘Why is everybody here lying?’ She was shocked. ‘Who’s lying?’ and then I told her my restaurant story. She smiled, although she obviously felt a bit unpleasant. She told me: ‘They are not lying. In Lebanon there is Yes and Yes. One means No. This is so because nobody wants to disappoint you.’

You have to know which yes is no. It’s not hard if you’re not a silly tourist trying to implement your logic on the clarity of an ancient place with a troublesome history like Jbail. The young woman at the reception also told me: ‘You can eat in the center. These are real Lebanese restaurants, and no one will cheat on you. And anyway, you can eat anything and anytime in the hotel restaurant because the film production had already payed for everything.’ Was I walking in vain. Not quite. It was a great experience on so many levels.

It was almost Christmas, and just a few days before the Independence Day. The sea was still warm and the beach full of swimmers. I took a long swim and then some selfies in the sea just to make my friends freezing back home a bit jealous. There were both men and women on the beach, and surprisingly enough (or not?) one day there was a Polish Catholic priest on the beach. He was talking to some young people. Trainer aircrafts of the Lebanese Air force were constantly flying over us in various formations preparing for the Independence Day celebration. I observed them lying on the beach and sunbathing.

One day I was on the beach, and I entered the sea. But just when I was about to start swimming, I heard that horrible sound. The sound that you hear once and never forget it. It was coming from far away, but I had no doubt these were explosions. I thought maybe there was a military practice somewhere in the hills. I haven’t heard these hellish sounds since the war in the nineties. It really messed up my day at the beach. I returned to the hotel earlier than planned and opened the Internet. The news spoke about a strong bombing of Aleppo that had happened earlier that day. I asked at the reception if it was possible to hear explosions on the beach in Jbail. ‘Of course’, they told me, ‘We hear that almost every day. The sounds of bombs from Damask, Aleppo, all the other Syrian cities in a hundred kilometers range from the border.’ I felt bad about the fact that people were dying a few hundred kilometers away while I was swimming in the sea and sunbathing.

Lebanon is crowded. It is crowded for the last 6000 years or so. There is no place in Lebanon, except maybe on the high Lebanon Mountains, where you can dig in the ground and not find the traces of ancient buildings (which is partially true for some parts of the Balkans as well). Pieces of ancient ceramics and brick are everywhere; people have lived here continuously for so long that you can hardly start building and be the first on that spot. As far as culture and history is concerned, this is heaven, ground zero of what we call the western civilization. As far as ecology is concerned, the early settlement and development of the area had one very sad result: The coastline from the Sinai Peninsula all the way to Hatay is built up. That means that you could walk along the seaside from Egypt to Southern Turkey without ever stepping off concrete (of course, that could be possible only if the politics in the region would be different). In Lebanon I came to a horrifying realization that the entire Eastern-most part of the Mediterranean is one long concrete pathway. In Lebanon there are smaller patches of original coastal vegetation between the cities, but these parts are minuscule. 6000 years of history and 6.8 million people had taken their toll. Even the symbol of Lebanon, the cedar tree, now grows only in some parts of the highest mountains.

Just for the comparison, Lebanon has the area of 10.452 km², while Iceland covers the area of 102.775 km², making Iceland almost exactly ten times larger. But the population of Iceland is 360.000 people compared to Lebanon’s 6.8 million (just for reference; Croatia: 56.594 km² and the population of about 3.9 million). Such a small country like Lebanon boosts three main religions divided into numerous subgroups. Actually, roots of both Judaism, and especially Christianity can be found in Lebanon. Bible was allegedly named after Byblos, today’s Jbail. From here Christianity spread in the region and to Armenia. It was here where the Romans got infected with Christianity which they then took to Europe in a very changed, in a way, simplified form. Today Christianity is usually regarded a true European faith, actually, that has been the credo of many rightist movements in the ‘old’ continent. But the truth is that the Middle East is much older, and that all the three monotheist religions were established by the forefathers of the local people that today live from Egypt to Turkey, Iraq and Yemen. I spoke about that with some Lebanese Christians and I got the feeling that they feel a bit puzzled by Europe’s usurpation and modification of their faith, and they generally perceive Europe’s treatment of Syrian refugees as appalling (those who knew about that treatment; there seems to be a media blockage regarding the information on the fate of Syrian refugees in Europe). However, they are proud of their alliance with the Pope of Vatican, and they practice various polite and unobtrusive ways to show that. The Muslims I spoke with in Jbail had only good words for their neighbors of other faiths, and whole Muslim families were delighted to make photos with the giant Christmas tree. I also had a chance to meet several Druze men who told me, with a large smile on their faces, that they were ‘a little bit of everything.’

Besides the Arabs, there is a large Armenian minority, and various smaller ethnic groups in Lebanon. I have witnessed that many of the workers at the construction sites were from the Philippines and other countries of South-East Asia.  I wondered how did an extremely bloody civil war happen in a such a society like the Lebanese one? People were generally reluctant to talk about the Civil War, but those that did speak about it emphasized the fact that most of the war was instrumented from outside of Lebanon, particularly from Israel and Syria. I could feel a bit of bitterness when they spoke about the role of Syria in that war, nevertheless, they were more than opened to help the Syrian people who are today afflicted by a somehow similar conflict. Lebanon learns and forgives.

One of the people I met on set in Lebanon told me an interesting story. During the war there was an unusual number of Lebanese soldiers killed by Israelis in one particular part of Beirut. These killings were done with amazing accuracy and from far away, as if the Israelis knew the exact movement of Lebanese forces (belonging to some of the ideological/religious fractions). It was later discovered that the Israelis had a spy in the street. Literally in the street. It was a local beggar that Israel had installed in one busy street long before the war. The man who told me the story laughed as he asked:

‘And who sees better than the beggar?’

The Independence Day was an extremely well balanced and tasteful celebration. There was very little cheap national pathos so prominent for such manifestations in the Eastern Europe. In the port of Jbail they made a water wall (pumped out of the sea) on which they projected a film about the national history. It struck me how little was shown of wars. People watching the projection on the water wall hugged each other, families and friends, sometimes chanting and singing. I felt the love that they had for the place where they lived in, and I experienced absolutely no negative or destructive feelings. I, and other foreigners, were constantly cheered by the smiles of the local people. There were no us and no them. In such an atmosphere I was taken over by the good vibes and I felt proud and satisfied to be a part of this celebration.

A lot of the interesting cultural input came from the stuff of the hotel. They were mostly young people, half of them refugees from Syria. Most of them had a burning wish to escape from Lebanon, and those who did not dream of leaving Lebanon (or at least returning to Syria) expressed their worries about the future. These young people were painfully aware of the deepest problem of modern Lebanon, and that is corruption. They were quite opened and articulated about it, and they believed that changes were on the way (at the time I revised this text, the Lebanese Revolution of 2019 had already happened, and the corrupted government has fallen giving place to unstable coalitions and partially the military). What amazed me is the fact that the Syrian refugees had an idea that they were genuinely welcome in Europe, and that Europe was easily reachable. I told them about the human traffickers which rob people on their way, I told them about boats full of people that capsize in the sea, about fences along borders, about refugee camps and violent police forces. They were mostly ignorant of all this. ‘But why would they do that to us?’ one of them asked me in utter disbelief.

I will remember my stay in Lebanon for yet another thing. This was when I, for first time in my life, experienced the power of fake news. One day, it was before the Independence Day, I came down to the lobby and found some actors from Serbia standing there (there were quite a few actors from Serbia and the whole of Balkans because we shot one part of the project in Belgrade). They were visibly agitated and afraid, and some of them were fully packed to leave. I asked them what was the problem. They told me the war had started, and that Israel had crossed the southern border in the morning.

‘This is a small country; they will be here in a few hours, just like the last time!’

I can’t say I wasn’t afraid. I asked them to show me the news, and they opened some Serbian on-line portal. And really, it showed the right date, and it said that Lebanon had been invaded. My first thought was to somehow get to Cyprus over the sea. Then we heard the airplanes. There was a silence. But I recognized the sound. I came out to the terrace and saw Lebanese trainer aircrafts. I looked down on the beach, there were swimmers there. Why would they train for the celebration and even swim in the sea if the war had started? Are they so calm about the whole thing? Actually, that would not surprise me.

I went to the reception and asked the young woman there if we were in war. She was confused, then she started laughing. Then, in a bit worried manner, she checked Lebanese news online. Then she called home. ‘No, no war today,’ she said.

In that moment, the assistant director appeared in the hotel lobby. They asked him about the invasion. He nodded his head and said: ‘Impossible. It is Summer. Never in history have they attacked in Summer. We make wars in Winter only.’ It turned out that the news was totally fake and launched as a decoy in Serbia on a day when the country faced some political instability.

Summer or not, we were happy that there was no war. The hotel stuff was laughing at us and our naivety. In order to amuse them even more, we decided to give them an improvised performance. One Serbian actress took on a role of the invading Israeli army, while I, a Croat, acted the Lebanese forces. In a macabre parody that resembled fencing in Bollywood productions, I was victorious, and I forced the Israelis out to the hotel’s terrace. There we were served coffee and fresh fruit salad.

Lebanon refuses to disappoint.

Natalia Loukacheva (ed.), Polar Law Textbook II (Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, 2013)

The publication is intimately related to the Master’s Programme in Polar Law (run by the University of Akureyri, Iceland), which had housed the initiative in 2012-2013, and the Polar Law Symposium, an annual conference which brings the major experts on Polar issues together and organized by the Polar Law Institute (also based in Akureyri).

Clearing forthwith the air, it must be first said that “Polar Law Textbook” may be a somewhat misleading title. Although the structure actually resembles a proper textbook specifically designed for students, with 15 chapters written in the form of intensive lectures (inclusive of suggestions for further reading and questions aimed to check on the understanding of the text), each contribution is an in-depth, up-to-date, and brilliant review of distinct Polar-Law-relevant issues, suitable therefore not only for students, but also for politicians, decision-makers, scientists and academics. Having said that, the reader must also know that the legal part, albeit being the main focus of the book, is here mostly explained in its social, environmental and historical perspectives, rather than being scrutinized in depth, making the reading feasible also for non-lawyers (just watch out for some “avoidable” difficulties, as for instance the alternation between “UNCLOS”, used by Loukacheva and Heininen (Chapter 1 and 2), and “LOS Convention”, used by McDorman (Chapter 5)).

Overall, the book is a wise balance between innovation and continuation of the first volume, published in 2010. The general concept broadly describing “Polar Law” used in the previous book is here re-proposed verbatim as “a developing field of law that deals with the international and domestic legal regimes that are applicable to the Arctic or the Antarctic, or both”, including also legally non-binding instruments, commonly referred to as “soft law” (e.g., various Memorandums of Understanding concluded by Arctic stakeholders; declarations of the Arctic Council, etc). Furthermore, it has also been re-confirmed that Polar Law as a developing discipline, educational and practical tool, not only cross-cuts distinct branches of Law, e.g. Human Rights Law, Law of the Sea, Environmental Law, Resources Law, Wildlife Law, to name but a few, but also draws upon several areas of the social sciences and humanities, e.g. international studies and politics. Polar Law is indeed a highly multidisciplinary approach to the Arctic and Antarctic legal issues, involving in the debate not only legal experts but also scientists, politicians, practitioners and the indigenous peoples of the Arctic.

Apparently, a concrete necessity for a second volume was already disclosed in the first book, which, despite its comprehensiveness, left enough room for further research (Chapter 1, Loukacheva, 2010). In fact, each relevant area in the field of Polar Law may include in turn many different topics.  For intance the discourse on indigenous people and governance has been here re-proposed, but focusing on the Sami of Norway and Nunavut instead of the Inuit of Alaska and Chuckotka’s indigenous people, while the common topic of Greenland has been analysed under the lens of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, instead of the legal processes leading to self-determination (2010).

An example of a refreshing new perspective on governance and autonomies in the Arctic is the captivating chapter on “Faroese Governance” (chapter 13, Kari a Rogvi). A seemingly unusual choice at first glance, considering the relevance commonly accorded to indigenous people and autonomy by academics and media alike, the study has revealed itself to be nevertheless essential to introduce the reader to the compelling issue, whilst little studied so far, of the struggles of “small states” in achieving a satisfactory but functional autonomy (missing in the first volume). The author of the chapter suggests as a major outcome that a study on Faroese governance may outline a realistic model for achieving a feasible but high-level degree of autonomy notwithstanding marginal conditions and limited capacities, hopefully serving also as a “workable paradigm for other polar or marginal polities than, say, either Greenland or Iceland”.

Understandably, an additional strong rationale for a new volume was the necessity to update the book with the newest developments occurred during the past three years. Indeed, all the articles were written between May 2012 and February 2013, and were requested to catch the most updated news and tendencies in both regions, as the case of the essay on “The International Legal Regime of the Continental Shelf with Special Reference to the Polar Regions” (Chapter 5, Ted L. McDorman). The author, anticipating that both Canada and Denmark will be submitting information to the Commission on its proposed continental shelf outer limit in the Arctic Ocean, respectively in December 2013 and sometime in 2014, has brilliantly contributed to tackling, with a realistic and expert insight in its legal features, a growing and rather alarmistic media attention on States’ claims.

 

Although the textbook is undoubtedly rich of cutting-edge research aimed to cover a wide range of topics, some of the editor’s choices may not please everybody. An awaited but unfortunately missing insight is probably an in-depth research on the role of non-Arctic States/actors in the rapidly evolving geopolitics of the Arctic. The topic was briefly hinted at in the first volume, while a brief mention is made also in the current one; however, nothing more is offered. Indeed, notwithstanding the fact that countries such as China, India and South Korea, among others, gained the observer status on the Arctic Council only ar the last Arctic Council Ministerial meeting (held in Kiruna, Finland, in May 2013), the speculation on their potential role started way before, while the attention of the media and the interests of scholars have been increasing accordingly.

To conclude, the book is a wide selection of updated Polar law articles dealing with several topics, written in a clear but not superficial language, and truly stimulating. What makes the book even more enjoyable, if anything else was needed,  is perhaps the fact that the possibility for its free download in electronic format has been maintained (as already done for the first volume, published in 2010). This is something that is highly appreciated considering the high level of each contribution and the often-prohibitive prices of Polar-issues related books. A hard copy can also be ordered on the same website for a reasonable price (338 DKK). Specifically, the volume can be downloaded in electronic format or/and ordered in hardcopy format at: http://www.norden.org/en/publications/publikationer/2013-535/