Interpretation based on maxims of legal logic occupies an honourable place among the possible methods of legal interpretation; this being done most frequently using basic concepts originating from the classical period of Roman law, which faciliate orientation among contradictory decrees and help to clarify the meaning of legal rules. The following principles belong hereby, widely known in Modestinus's formulation but dating from the period of the leges XII tabularum: "lex posterior derogat legi priori",the Papinian "lex specialis derogat legi generali", and the "lex primaria derogat legi subsidiariae". It is a basic interpretive principle, that the legal rule should be interpreted in its integrity, not by extracting certain parts of it. The following the letter of the law often leads to its evasion. During the interpretation one should take into account the legislator's intention. If this is doubtful, the more lenient solution should be preferred. All these ideas can be traced back into a highly philosophical, Celsian principle, which is-also widely accepted in contemporary legal thinking. It-declares the vocation of the Law to implement Justice, according to which "ius est ars boni et aequi", the Law is an art of the Good and the Just. Out of these, the procedure called in fraudem legis is connected to the statement that enforcing the letter of the law often leads to inequity contradictory with the spirit of the law, i. e. injustice. Cicero also quotes this proverbium, already widely spread in the age of the Republic, which remained in use in his formulation until today: "summum ius summa iniuria", i. e. the utmost enforcement of the law leads to the greatest injustice. The present paper has a modest aim. It does not offer a general survey, but rather an introspection into the problem. First it enumerates the occurences of this proverb in the sources of Roman literature (I.), then it sketches the development and semantic changes of the concept of interpretatio (II.), next it investigates the meaning of summum ius in the relation of the ars boni et aequi principle and the concept of Justice in legal sources and Cicero's works (III.), in the end it will consider the further reaching consequences of this proverbium in Adagia by Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the most important humanists (IV.).
After the battle of Thapsus that took place on 6 April 46 Caesar kept delaying his return to Rome for a long while, until 25 July — he stopped to stay on Sardinia — and this cannot be attributed fully to implementing measures and actions necessary in Africa since they could have been carried out by his new proconsul, C. Sallustius Crispus too. The triumph held owing to the victory in Africa — in which they carried around representations of the death of M. Petreius, M. Porcius Cato and Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica — must have further grated on the nerves of the aristocracy of Rome, because it was meant to symbolise Caesar’s victory both over Iuba and the senate. It was after that that Cicero broke his silence and delivered Pro Marcello in the senate, which was both oratio suasoria and gratiarum actio for the pardon granted to Marcellus, by which Caesar wanted to assure the senate of his benevolence and wanted to show off his power by his autocratic gesture. Pro Ligario delivered in 46 has been considered a classical example of deprecatio by both the antique and modern literature, and in historical terms it is not a less noteworthy work since from the period following the civil war Pro Marcello, having been delivered in early autumn of 46 in the senate, is Cicero’s first oration made on the Forum, that is, before the general public, in which praising Caesar’s clementia he seemingly legitimised dictatorship. First, we describe the historical background of the oratio and the process of the proceedings (I.); then, we examine the issue if the proceedings against Ligarius can be considered a real criminal trial. (II.) After the analysis of the genre of the speech, deprecatio (III.) we analyse the appearance of Caesar’s clementia in Pro Ligario. (IV.) Finally, we focus on the means of style of irony, and highlight an interesting element of the Caesar-Cicero relation and how the orator voices his conviction that he considers the dictator’s power and clementia illegitimate. (V.)