The aim of this paper is to study specific clauses of certain Roman laws, namely leges rogatae and municipal statutes, written between 204 a.C. and the Augustan period and exempting one’s kindred (cognates and affins) from the prescriptions that they made (personae exceptae). The first section of this analysis reviews the epigraphic evidence, which is supposed to provide us with the most reliable phrasing of the laws; the paper then proceeds with studying texts of jurists and historians as transmitted by the manuscripts, and thus more doubtful formulations that require a thorough philological examination. On the basis of this twofold analysis, it is argued that Roman lawgivers repeatedly endeavoured to protect a nucleus consisting of a wide circle of cognates (generally going as far as the sobrinus, viz. at the 6th Roman degree) and of some close affins.
Fest., p. 144L. s. u. minuitur populo luctus : « minuitur populo luctus (...) priuatis autem (...) cum prop[r]iore quis cognatione quam is qui lugetur natus est – le deuil est abrégé pour le peuple (...), pour les particuliers (...) en cas de naissance d’un parent plus proche que ne l’était celui dont on porte le deuil ». Voir Ph. Moreau, Festus, témoin de la naissance d’une science de la parenté à Rome, dans : F. Glinister et C. Woods (dir.), Verrius, Festus and Paul,[Supplement of the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 93],Londres 2007, p. 80–82.