Section: Seminars and Lectures

Henry Goudy Seminar


Henry Goudy SeminarDuring the course of the 1980s Peter Birks, then holder of the chair of Civil law at the University of Edinburgh set up a Roman law club. According to the advertisement for this club, it was designed to operate in conjunction with the Edinburgh Roman Law Group and was ‘… an informal activity of the [Edinburgh Roman Law] Group with the particular aim of encouraging students whose interest in law or the ancient world attracts them to the study of Roman law.’

After Peter Birks’ departure from the chair in Civil law in the late 80s, the Roman law club lay dormant, while the Edinburgh Roman Law Group went from strength to strength, becoming one of the most prestigious meetings of its kind in Europe. With the filling of the chair in Civil law once more in 2013, it seems appropriate to resurrect the Roman law club also. Given the long and illustrious history of Civil law teaching at Edinburgh, it seems appropriate to rename the club after one of the great civilians who held the chair in the past, Henry Goudy,* professor of Civil law at the University of Edinburgh from 1889 to 1893. Thus, from 2013, the newly resurrected Roman law club will be known as the Henry Goudy Seminar in Roman Law.


The group will meet late each month during term time and will be led by Peter Candy. It is open to all undergraduates, postgraduates, and staff. You do not have to enrol for this seminar. Those who attend will be asked to sign a register to record their presence. A reading programme will be followed. Notification of the reading for the next meeting will be posted on this web page one month in advance.

19 January 2019

Room 2.29, 50 George Square, 18:00-19:30

Reading: Plutarch's Parallel Lives, Lycurgus and Numa

The reading is available from at or as an audiobook from

Drinks and nibbles will be provided and no prior knowledge of the topic is needed. All welcome.


Henry Goudy Seminar 2017/18 End of Year Summary

The close of the academic year provides a good opportunity to reflect on the meetings of the Henry Goudy Seminar this cycle. As usual, a range of texts were discussed:
  • Quintilian’s Lesser Declamations (October 2017)
  • A selection of writing tablets from Vindolanda (November 2017)
  • Digest 1.5 (February 2018)
  • Digest 1.1 (March 2018)
Goudy Seminar March 2018Goudy Seminar March 2018

The organisers would like to thank the Café de la Poste for their excellent hospitality. We hope that all those who attended will have a good summer and look forward to reconvening in the Autumn.
(Photos taken at the Café de la Poste, March 2018. Attendees: Prof. John Cairns, Prof. Paul du Plessis, Peter Candy, Chloe Oakshett, Katie Becher, Dougie Morton, Aparajita Arya, Luca Montag, Pedro Savaget, and Julita Burgess.)

Ancient Famous Man from illustrated MS Harley 3485 f. 122 

Detail of a historiated initial with a portrait of a famous man, at the beginning of a biography. BL MS Harley 3485. f. 122


* John W. Cairns, ‘Goudy, Henry (1848–1921)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 17 Sept 2013]    


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