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Magnus Goffin, Mag. iur.

Doctoral Researcher

Magnus Goffin

University of Bonn
Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
"Institutions, Norms and Practices"
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn
m.goffin[at]uni-bonn.de

 

 

Research

Extrema Necessitate
Sale of One's Children and Self-sale in Emergencies

Manpower has already been regarded as a commercial good in pre-modern societies, even where these societies lack philosophical, economic or legal reflections on the value and application of manpower. The idea that there is a market for manpower manifests itself in the concept of selling oneself or family members into slavery, known to many societies throughout history.

This applies as well for Roman antiquity, which distinguishes itself by the fact that the jurisprudence of the Early Roman Empire managed to grasp the social phenomenon of "self-sale" or "sale of one's children" in general legal concepts: The "contract of sale" is conceived as solely giving rise to an obligation, which is fulfilled by the "provision of possession", and can clearly be distinguished from an "employment contract", which is conceived as a rental contract. However, research in this area is meagre. Incorporating Early Roman and Early Medieval sources on the sale of oneself and one's children into the scope of the study promises to bring new insights. In particular, it can help to address unanswered questions while simultaneously opening up new perspectives. 

The characteristic structure of the Roman family with the pater familias at its head and his power wielded over the children (patria potestas) creates the conditions necessary to conceive the sale of one's children as a "sale" and as a case of "transfer of possession" or "transfer of property". With the sale of one's children, a new or at least a different relationship of dependency arose, which is decisively premised on the relationship of dependency with the former pater familias.

Education

  • 2019–2022         Ph.D. in Law, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2013–2019         Law, University of Bonn, Germany
                               (03/2019: First State Examination, Oberlandesgericht Köln, Germany;
                               03/2018: State Part of the First State Examination, Oberlandesgericht Köln, Germany;
                               01/2016: Certificate for Roman Private Law, Institute for Roman Law and Comparative Legal History,
                               University of Bonn, Germany)

Academic Positions

  • 2019–present     Research Associate in Research Area C "Institutions, Norms and Practices", University of Bonn,
                               Germany
  • 2019                   Research Associate, Institute of Roman Law and Comparative Legal History, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2015–2019         Student Assistant, Institute of Roman Law and Comparative Legal History, University of Bonn, Germany  
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