Lecture: “Disability in the Roman Digest”
Peter Toohey (University of Calgary)
A variety of disabilities are highlighted in the Roman legal compendium the Digest. One famous passage (Digest 21.1.9ff.) discusses disabilities such as being mute, having lacerations of the limb, being short or dim sighted, having “warts or polypuses in the nose”, or with “imbalance, with one leg shorter than the other”, with limps, being a habitual bed-wetter, having “fingers joined together” or having congenitally swollen tonsils. This talk will explore some of these conditions to suggest how and why the Digest and perhaps the Romans viewed disability.