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Financial market of shares in Antiquity and the partnership of tax collectors in Roman law (societas publicanorum)

Grant number: 18/00579-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2018
Effective date (End): February 28, 2019
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Cesar Silveira Vita Marchi
Grantee:Paulo Eduardo Frederico
Home Institution: Faculdade de Direito (FD). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The societas publicanorum is one of the most particular societal types of the Roman law since many of its characteristics differ from the other Roman societies. The Roman sources oppose to the so-called private companies to publicans' societies, which might be due to the fact that publican’s societies are related to the state's public revenues, but also for its peculiar attributes as, for instance, the fact that publican’s societies are not dissolved by the death of one of its partners. Thanks to the great importance of these societies in Rome, their demands would be among the first to be heard by the Roman authorities and consequently, their characteristics evolved differently from other Roman societies. According to many scholars, there was a stock exchange in these societies, in other words, it would be a financial market of antiquity. Such qualification could lead to the claim that they are precursors of the current type of constitution of companies represented by the Corporations. Although within the scope of the Roman law doctrine, the existence of a stock trading in the societates publicanorum is the dominant position, new studies of historical and economic perspective contradict this affirmation. It is, therefore, necessary to compare, through a dialectical method, the new historical studies with the classical juridical works on the subject in order to arrive at a precise systematization of the doctrine on the societies of publicans. This may serve as a basis for further comparative studies in comparison with the current societal formations. (AU)