This study focuses on fetial priests’s college in the Roman Law. A lot of scholars are interested in historical, political and diplomatic aspects and they describe the fetial priests as repository of the ius fetiale, substituted by senatorial legati after Rome transmarine expansion. In this historical period (3rd century B.C.), the juridical forms of the ius fetiale would have been abandoned and recovered later, between the 2nd and the 1st century B.C. by the antiquarians and the annalists, but mainly with propaganda aims (ch. I). However, sources allow to think something different. First of all, it is important to take a historical-legal point of view. The ancient rituals (foedus, war declaration, deditio) describe the fetials as priests expert in legal procedures, excluding every role in defining their contents: they do not have any political and decision-making role (ch. II). The analysis of embassies which counted the presence of both legati and fetials, together or in different moments, shows the clear distinction among their own competences (ch. III). Furthermore, the exegesis of priest documents related to their consulting, provided to the Senate at the beginning of the 2nd century B.C., reveals that the fetials continued to carry on a delicate and important jurisprudencial activity for the city (ch. IV). The descriptions of the fetials made by some authors, during the 1st century above all, confirm their role as jurists, distinct from the diplomatic policy, and the survival of the ius fetiale, even if adapted to the new requests of roman imperialism (ch. V).
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