Much of my scholarly research is designed to set the historical record straight—essentially myth-busting.
For reasons I’ll explain another time, most legal writers are terrible historians. They tend to cherry-pick history to promote a case, and when there aren’t enough historical facts, they sometimes make them up.
My efforts to correct the record are best known in the realm of constitutional law, but my first big project of the kind was actually about condominiums.
In the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, legal writers were uncritically repeating the story that the ancient Romans invented condominiums, or at least used them widely. This story made no sense at all: Ancient writers don’t mention condominiums, and Roman law actually prohibited schemes whereby one person owned airspace above another person. (The word “condominium,” meaning “co-ownership,” is Latin, but it is of relatively modern, not Roman, coinage.)Details