The Classical Quarterly

Research Article

The Place of Arbitration and Mediation in Ancient Systems of International Ethics

Louise E. Matthael

There can be no doubt that the Romans were very much influenced in their use of interstate arbitration by the Greeks. This statement can be made without affecting the question as to whether the actual principle of arbitration was known to them before their contact with the Greeks. Either the practice sprang up independently in Italy and Greece owing to similarity of conditions, or else it was part of the same stock of political and social ideas inherited by each race alike from common ancestors. It would be improbable if two nations of such close relationship and such similar civilisation could not have inherited so natural an idea or developed it along similar lines, and indeed the very widespread practice of arbitration in private law at Rome has none of the signs of an imported idea.