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Law in Roman Arabia 106-132 CE
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 02:46 authored by Giles Rowling
In 106 CE the former kingdom of Nabataea was incorporated into the Roman Empire as the Province of Arabia. In 132 CE Babatha and Salome Komaïse, Jewish women who had been inhabitants of the Province, fled to a cave near the Dead Sea where their archives of legal documents were later discovered. Those archives include documents from the periods both before and after the establishment of the Province and concern Nabataean and Jewish or Mishnaic, as well as Roman law. In this study I offer an analysis of those documents together with other evidence from the Roman Empire to establish, as far as possible, the law of the Province and the terms of the Lex Provinciae by which the kingdom was incorporated as a province. I show that the governor of the Province published an annual provincial edict by which Roman law was established in the Province and so far as possible its extent, including the incorporation of the provisions of the edict of the curule aediles as part of its law. I show that the law of the province as established by the Lex Provinciae and the provincial edict allowed the peregrine inhabitants of the Province to be governed by their own laws and I describe Nabataean law so far as it can be established and both it and Jewish law as they continued to apply in the Province to its Nabataean and Jewish inhabitants . I also describe and examine the course of litigation in the Province showing its conformity with litigation as then conducted elsewhere in the Empire. I show that the Jewish inhabitants of the Province adopted Roman law forms of contract but continued to govern their family relations, including marriages and inheritances, in accordance with Jewish law, and that they were able to litigate before the governor of the Province issues arising under both Roman and Jewish law.