The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


What constitutes the legacies left behind by the Roman Empire and who has been empowered to evaluate their value and legitimacy? The Romans left wills, expressions of the most solemn and honest emotions prompted by a sense of duty and declarations which insured one’s remembrance in life and death. The authors left evaluations, through which the frequent appearance of certain topoi characterized vivid aspects of daily life and expected societal practices. Scholars are left conflicted. To reconstruct the social world of family, friends, enemies, and community members, it is necessary to interact with both literary and legal texts to understand the intentions of the testatores when drafting and revising their final wishes. In hoping to remain attuned to assumptions of typified Roman life, this essay aims to connect practiced legal undertakings and established characterization of the parasite to the condemnation of captatio in the first centuries BCE and CE.

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