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La'beo, M. (?) Anti'stius

the son of the subject of the preceding article, adopted the republican opinions of his father, and finally eclipsed him in reputation as a jurist. His praenomen is uncertain. The Scholiast on Horace (Sat. 1.3. 83) calls him Marcus, and Gellius (20.1) calls him Quintus. In his youth he was prompted by his active intellect to cultivate philosophy, and to apply himself to various branches of learning. He became a proficient in logic, philosophy, and archaeology, and turned these acquirements to profit in the cultivation of law. In tracing the origin and signification of Latin words he was peculiarly skilful, and by this kind of knowledge he was able to unravel many legal knots. He received the elements of his legal education from Trebatius, but he also listened to the instruction of Tubero and Ofilius. Pomponius states that he was a legal innovator (plurima innovate instituit, Dig. 1. tit. 2. s. 2.47), whereas, the letter of Capito, cited by Gellius, makes him out to be a strict adherent to ancient usages (ratum tamen nil haberet, nisi quod justum sanctumque esse in Romanis antiquitatibus legisset, Gel. 13.12). Under the article CAPITO [Vol. I. p. 600], we have mentioned the manner in which it has been attempted to reconcile these testimonies. Though in private law Labeo was an innovator, he held fast to the ancient forms of the constitution. The anecdote of his refusing to obey the summons of a tribune, while he admitted the right of a tribune to arrest (Gell. l.c.), is an instance of his pertinacity in matters of public right. On the other hand, his resort in his own case to codicilli (a word used in very different senses in Roman and in English law) instead of a formal testament, proves that he was not averse to every kind of legal novelty. (Inst. tit. 25, pr.) It is also a proof of the great authority he possessed, that codicilli were universally recognised as admissible, after the precedent which Labeo had afforded in his own case. If Labeo, our jurist, be referred to in Dig. 34. tit. 2. s. 32.6, we are in possession of a clause of his will, containing a bequest to his wife Neratia.

The rugged republicanism of Labeo (libertas quaedam nimia atque vecors) was not pleasing to Augustus, and it has been supposed by many that the Labcone insanior of Horace (Sat. 1.3. 80) was a stroke levelled against the jurist, in order to please the emperor; though Wieland has suggested that, at the time when Horace wrote his first book of Satires, Labeo the jurist was probably too young and undistinguished to provoke such sarcasm.

In the year B. C. 18 Labeo was one of those who were appointed by Augustus to nominate senators, and, in the exercise of his power, he nominated M. Lepidus, who was disliked by the emperor. On being threatened with punishment by Augustus, for selecting an unfit person, he answered, " Each of us has a right to exercise his own discretion, and what harm have I done in admitting into the senate one whom you allow to be pontiff?" The answer was clever, and not unacceptable to the emperor, who wished to be pontiff himself, but could not make up his mind to go to the length of depriving Lepidus of that dignity. A proposal was made in the senate, that the senators should guard Augustus by turns, by passing the night in his ante-chamber. Labeo, not liking the plan, but not wishing openly to oppose it, excused himself by saying, " I am a snorer, and not fit to sleep near the emperor." (D. C. 54.15; Suet. Aug. 54.)

We have already [CAPITO] fully adverted to the contrast between Labeo and Capito, and have given an account of the different legal sects which they founded. Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 3.75) calls these two great rival jurists of the age of Augustus duo decor pacis. The statement of Pomponius (l.c.), that Labeo refused the consulship, seems to be inconsistent with the statement of Tacitus (l.c.), that Labeo became popular from the wrong he suffered in not rising above the praetorship. The following is the most plausible explanation of the apparent inconsistency :--Labeo was of an older and far more distinguished family than Capito, whose ancestors first came into notice in the time of Sulla, whereas the Antistii are heard of in the earliest period of Roman history, and by reference to Eckhel it will be found that there are still many subsisting medals of the gens Antestia or Antistia, but none of the gens Atteia. In age, too, it is probable that Labeo was senior to Capito. The wrong spoken of by Tacitus may, therefore, have consisted in allowing Labeo to remain praetor at a time when regularly he might have expected the consulship, and in promoting Capito, out of the ordinary course, over his head. This wrong would not have been purged by a subsequent offer on the part of the emperor to make Labeo consul suffectus.

Perhaps the desire of leisure to pursue his studies may have been the real cause, or may have contributed, along with the feeling of having suffered a slight, as a cause of Labeo's refusal to accept political power, offered in such a way, and at such a time, that it possessed little value.


He devoted himself to reading and literature, and the study of his profession. Half of every year he spent at Rome in giving instruction to his pupils, and answering in public the questions of those who consulted him on legal points; and six months he passed in the country in writing books. Of these he left no fewer than four hundred behind him, a number at which we need not be surprised, when we consider how small in general were the ancient libri and volumina. His works were more in request in subsequent ages than those of most of the veteres. By Gains he is cited several times, and his name appears more than once in the Institutes. The extracts from Labeo in the Digest occupy about twelve pages in Hommel's Palingenesia Pandectarum. They are sixty-one in number, but the name of Labeo occurs in other passages of the Digest no fewer than five hundred and forty-one times. He wrote commentaries on the laws of the twelve tables (Gel. 1.12; ib. 7.15, where the second book is cited; ib. 20.1) and upon the Praetor's Edict, in at least four books (Gel. 13.10; Dig. 11. tit. 4. s. 1.5). Ulpian cites Labeo libro primo praetoris vrbani (Dig. 50. tit. 16. s. 19), and refers to his thirtieth book praetoris peregrini (Dig. 4. tit. 3. s. 9.4). The books so cited by Ulpian may form part of the general work on the Praetor's Edict. (Wieling, de Labeonis ad Edict. Libris, 4to. Franeq. 1731.)

Πειθανῶν βιβλία ὀκτώ, and

Of his works, the Florentine Index mentions only Πειθανῶν βιβλία ὀκτώ, and Posteriorum βιβλία δέκα, and these are the works from which the greater number of passages from Labeo that occur in the Digest are taken. The Peithanon or Probabilium are cited sometimes simply (as in Dig. 19. tit. 1. s. 53), and sometimes with the addition a Paulo Epitomatorum (as in Dig. 28. tit. 1. s. 2).

Labeo probably quoted fro remodelled editions of subsequent commentators

It is doubtful whether any of the remains of Labeo given in the Digest, even those which appear to be cited from his original writings, were not taken by the compilers from his works as they appeared in the remodelled editions of subsequent commentators. (Von Regius, Ἐναντιοφανῶν, 1.25, in Otto, Thes. vol. ii. p. 1493; Blume, in Savigny's Zeitschrift, vol. iv. p. 317, &c.)


The Peithanon of Labeo treated of general rules of law which, though probabilities, were sometimes fallacious; and Paulus, in his notes, directed attention chiefly to the particular cases which formed exceptions to the rule. (Bynkershoeck, Obs. 3.16.) Of the Libri Posteriorum of Labeo, and the Epitome of that work made by Javolenus, we have already treated under the article JAVOLENUS. The Libri (qu. Liber) Epistolarum and Libri Responsorum of Labeo, are referred to under LABEO, DOMITIUS, while his Commentarii de Jure Pontificio and his other theological works, are mentioned under LABEO, CORNELIUS. In ancient times, not only were commentaries written upon him by Paulus and Javolenus, but we read of the Notae upon Labeo of Proculus (Dig. 3. tit. 5. s. 10.1; Dig. 35. tit. 1. s. 69 ; Dig. 17. tit. 2. s. 65.5), and of a certain Quintus (Dig. 4. tit. 3. s. 7.7); and we find from Dig. 28. tit. 5. s. 17.5, that his Posteriorum Libri were annotated by Aristo and by Aulus (probably Aulus Cascellius). In modern times, according to Maiansius (Ad XXX. Ictorum Frag. Comment. vol. i. praef.), Sebastian Ortega commented specially on his remains; but such a work (like the works of many other Spanish jurists) is unknown to the legal bibliographers.

Further Information

Bach. Hist. Jur. Rom. 3.1.10; Zimmern. R. R. G. vol. 1.82, 83; Chr. Thomasius, Comparatio Antistii Labeonis et Ateii Capitonis, 4to. Lips. 1683; Chr Thomasius, Comparatio Labeonis et Trebatii, 4to Lips. 1684; Corn. van Eck, De Vita, Moribus a Studiis M. Antistii Labeonis et C. Ateii Capitonis 8vo. Franeq. 1692, reprinted in Oelrich's Thesaurus Novus Dissertationum Juridicarum, vol. ii. tom. 2, p. 821-856; A. N. Moller, Selecta Quaedam, 4to. Traj. ad Rhen. 1763, reprinted in Oelrich's Thes. Nov. Dis. Jur. vol. ii. tom. 2, pp. 107-154; Neuber, Die juristische Klassiker, pp. 77-92, and pp. 209-216; P. Ph. Wolffhardt, De Posterioribus Labeonis, 4to. Rentel. 1751; Chr. Glob. Biener, Antistius Labeo, Juris Civilis Novator, 4to. Lips. 1786, reprinted (vol. i. No. 9) in Chr. Glob. Biener's Opuscula Academica, 2 vols. 4to. Lips. 1830; Oteyza et Olano, Paralipomenon et Electorum Juris Civilis, vol. i. in Meerman's Thesaurus, vol. i. pp. 619-622.


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