oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - L'evolution de la tutelle romaine a travers le mecanisme de l'

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



This article deals with the evolution of Roman guardianship through the mechanism of . Considered as closely related to , guardianship was formally understood as a form of and a right exercised in the interest of the protected person until she or he reached puberty. The initial concept of guardianship and the role of the guardian started to change during the Principate. Guardianship as (power) developed into guardianship as (office). Imperial policy made an effort to harmonise the three types of guardianship according to the model of guardianship by magisterial appointment, forcing the guardian, in particular the testamentary guardian, to accept the office, to manage it efficiently and not to withdraw lightly. The aim of this paper is not to analyse Marcus Aurelius' generalisation (followed through by successive emperors) of the system of excuses, extending it to all types of guardianship, and forcing guardians to accept the office. This contribution rather focuses on the search for the correct balance between the ward's interests and the guardian's capacity to carry out his mandate effectively and efficiently. This may be deduced from a study of the rich casuistic sources dealing with the grounds for excuse and the evolution of guardianship towards a civilian charge.

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