Twelve Tables

Roman law. The earliest surviving legislation enacted by the Romans, written on 12 tablets in the 5th century B.C.

• The Tables set out many rights and duties of Roman citizens, including debtors’ rights, family law, wills, torts, civil procedure, and some public law. They substituted a written body of laws, easily accessible and binding on all citizens of Rome, for an unwritten usage accessible to only a few. The law of the Twelve Tables was also known as the Lex Duodecim Tabularum.

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