I am not a conventional Roman lawyer. The conventional Roman lawyers come from very different kinds of backgrounds. Most of them have some training in law, perhaps, but if so it's in the European system, where the emphasis is upon classification and organization, which is the way in which the 19-century scholars worked. If you ever wanna meet a classicist and make that particular person happy, all you need to do is to find a shard or a piece of text which contains a thousand words of Roman law or Roman history and they will spend time interpreting and getting it right, and they're thrilled. I could care less about those things because the grand scheme of things, what happens in an isolated transaction in Mesopotamia 300 years after Justinian’s digest is written tells you a lot less than reading the digest particularly closely. So then the question is, what are the techniques that you use? And they're trying to figure out classification, which I accept and think they did a brilliant job, and I'm trying to figure out functionality. Why this system lasts, how it worked, what it was put together, why is it that this contract is strictissimi juris that is you have a very precise enforcement deterrent, and that contract is bonafide. I don't want to just say it, I want to explain it and understand it, and then carry it forward to modern times. So the way in which I like to think about is that are many legal problems that often turn around a knife's edge, and the question is, is one system going to do better or worse on this particular issue? And in some cases you get a cleverer solution in the common law. In other cases, you get a cleverer solution in the Roman law, and many cases where the Roman law has very clever solutions. when I teach Roman law, you always have somebody from Belgium, Germany, Chile, or whatever it is there, and so I'm sitting there, we're talking about... they say, "Now let me tell you what the law in your country turns out to be..." have never having read the system. Well why do you do this with about 90% accuracy? Well because essentially, they're following the kind of Roman law position.

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