All Scholars


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  • Date of Birth: September 07, 1902
  • Born City: San Francisco
  • Born State/Country: CA
  • Date of Death: July 10, 1977
  • Death City: Oneonta
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Married: Irma H. Coblentz, 22 Aug. 1926; Erna Kaske, 23 Jan. 1947.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. California, 1924; M.A., 1926; J.D., 1926; fell. Columbia, 1926-8; J.D., 1932; fell. Soc. Sci. Res. Counc, 1929-30; study at Munich, 1929.; J.D. (hon.), Erlangen, 1950.

  • Dissertation:

    J.D. THESIS: "Ten Coptic Legal Texts" (Columbia, 1932); printed (New York, 1932; repr. 1973).

  • Professional Experience:

    Adm. to California bar, 1926; lctr. to prof, law Columbia Law Sch., 1929-71; dir. African Law Center, 1965-71; guest lctr. U. Indonesia, Graz, Austria, Erlangen, 1949; exch. prof. Free U. Berlin, 1953; Fulbright prof. Aberdeen, Scotland, 1957; U.S. observer, 1st Intern. Cong. Africanists, Ghana, 1962; res. asst. N.Y. State Law Revision Commn., 1935; atty. & staff asst. gen. counsel Treas. Dept., 1938; Guggenheim fell., 1949, 1955, 1962; legal counsel U.N. Mission, Eritrea, 1951-2; Inst. Int. Legal Studies U. Istanbul, 1955; Survey of African Law, travel-study grant Ford Found., 1959, 1963; guest lctr. U. Cape Town, 1968; mem. IAS Princeton, 1973.

  • Publications:

    "Trade Secrets and the Roman Law," Columbia Law Rev. 30 (1930) 837-45; "Sources and Influences of the Roman Law. III-VI centuries A.D.," Georgetown Law Journal 27 (1932-3) 147-60; "The Business Relations of Patrons and Freedmen in Classical Roman Law," Essays in Tribute to Orrin Kip McMurray (Berkeley, 1936), 623-39; "Custom in Classical Roman Law," Virginia Law Rev. 24 (1937-8) 268-82; "Roman interpretatio and Anglo-American Interpretation and Construction," Virginia Law Rev. 27 (1940-1) 733-68; Military Law and Defense Legislation (St. Paul, 1941; 2d. ed. publ. as Military Law: Statutes, Regulations and Orders, Judicial Decisions, and Opinions of the Judge Advocates General [1952]; 3d ed. publ. as Military Law [1961]; 4th ed., [1968]); Texts and Commentary for Study of Roman Law. Mechanisms of Development (New York, 1946); Cases on the Law of Agency, with Edwin R. Keedy (Indianapolis, 1948); Barend ter Haar, Adat Law in Indonesia, ed. with E. Adamson Hoebel (Djakarta, 1948); "Bureaucracy in Roman Law," Seminar 1 (1949) 26-48; The Formation of Federal Indonesia, 1945-1949 (The Hague-Bandung, 1953); Apokrimata: Decisions of Septimius Severus on Legal Matters, text, trans. & hist, analysis by W. L. Westermann, legal comentary by Schiller (New York, 1954); "Provincial Cases in Papinian," Acta Juridica (1958) 221-42; "Jurist's Law," Columbia Law Review 58 (1958) 1226-38; "The Interrelation of Coptic and Greek Papyri; P. Bu and P. BM inv. nos. 2017 and 2018," Studien zur Papyrologie und antiken Wirtschaftsgeschichte Friedrich Oertel zum achtigsten Geburtstag gewidmet (Bonn, 1964), 107-19; "The Nature and Significance of Jurist's Law," Boston University Law Rev. 47 (1967-8) 20-39; "The Budge Papyrus of Columbia University," Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 7 (1968) 79-118; "The Fate of Imperial Legislation in Late Byzantine Egypt," Legal Thought in the United States of America under Contemporary Pressures, ed. J. N. Hazard & W. J. Wagner (Brussels, 1970), 41-60; An American Experience in Roman Law. Writings from Publications in the United States (Gottingen, 1971); " 'Alimenta' in the 'Sententiae Hadriani,' " Studi in onore di Giuseppe Grosso TV (Turin, 1971), 399-415; "Vindication of a Repudiated Text 'Sententiae et Epistulae Hadriani,' " La critica del testo: Atti del secondo congresso internazionale della Societa Italiana di Storia del Diritto, Venezia, 18-22 Settembre 1967 (Florence, 1971) 11:717-27; "The Courts Are No More," Studi in onore de Edoardo Volterra I (Milan, 1971) 469-502; Roman Law: Mechanisms of Development (The Hague & New York, 1978).Festschrift: Studies in Roman Law in Memory of A. Arthur Schiller, ed. R. S. Bagnall & W. V. Harris (Leiden, 1986), ix-xiv (bibliography); obituary by Peter Stein, xv-xviii.

  • Notes:

    Schiller was a man of great intellectual range and energy whose professional influence went far beyond Columbia Law School, where he taught for almost his entire career. His first specialist field was Coptic law, but he soon mastered Roman law and Greek papyrology, then branched out into American military law, about which he wrote a standard textbook. Later, in the years after World War II, he became an expert in the developing legal systems of the newly independent countries, and in a number of instances contributed to the drafting of their legal systems. He was highly esteemed by his colleagues in countries where Roman law is more widely studied than in the United States. Thanks largely to him Columbia Law Library became the best library for ancient law in the nation. Schiller carried his learning easily, and he remained the most open-minded and approachable of scholars.

  • Sources:

    WhWh 1974-5: 2720.

  • Author: William V. Harris