What: Between utendum dare and beneficium: thoughts on the early history of the commodatum, Meeting of the Edinburgh Roman Law Group
Where: Lorimer Room, Old College University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
When: 28 March 2014, 5:30 pm
Philipp Scheibelreiter, University of Vienna / Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich
According to Alan Watson and other scholars, the history of commodatum as a real contract starts with the introduction of two formulae, one in factum and the other in ius concepta. The creation of these was necessitated by the absence of any specific legal remedies to protect the lender in a loan for use. While, according to the Twelve Tables, a depositor could use the actio ex causa depositi, the lender was not protected by any special penal action. With that said, the phenomenon of borrowing things to use them gratuitously must have existed long before the time of the late Roman Republic and must have given rise to conflict. The aim of the paper is to examine the early history of commodatum by reconsidering sources such as the comedies of Plautus where the expression utendum dare is used in different contexts. This will be done to cast light on early Roman legal practice and to explore the origins of commodatum.