Scholar Who Simplified the Empire`s Legal Code

In the west, the Codex of Justinian was largely lost or never present in many places due to the limited western extent of Byzantine territories. The Latin version known today has been painstakingly restored over many centuries. The only known manuscript that once contained the entire Latin codex is a Veronese palimpsest from the 6th or 7th century; They are now only fragments. [13] [14] In his homeland of the Byzantine Empire, the code was translated into Greek, which had become the language of government, and adapted into a basilica in the 9th century. It seems that the Latin code was shortened to a «Codex Epitome» in the Middle Ages, omitting inscriptions and making many other changes. [15] In the 8th or 9th century. In the nineteenth century, the last three books of the codex were separated from the others, and many other laws of the first nine books, including all in Greek, were abandoned. [16] Essentially complete versions of the Justinian Codex were restored towards the end of the 12th century, and the humanists of the 16th century added the laws originally promulgated in Greek. [17] Paul Krüger created the modern standard version of the codex in 1877. [18] A core of the special collections of the Jacob Burns Law Library is the Roman Law Collection. As the basis on which many legal systems in Western Europe have been developed, our Roman Law Collection supports a number of our other special collection forces, including the French and Canon Law Collections.

The Corpus Juris Civilis may have failed in Justinian`s goal of supporting his imperial ambitions, but since it began in the 11th century AD. has become a fundamental part of all higher education across Europe and has since become the basis of many legal systems, it may have ended up achieving some sort of permanent cultural dominance. The codex is a monument that can rival his other great achievement, Hagia Sophia of Constantinople. Roman and then Byzantine laws were primarily rational, precise and complete, and it is these characteristics that have greatly influenced many of the national and international laws in which we live today. As historian J. H. Rosser notes, in February 528, Justinian I assembled a group of ten jurists and 39 scribes to re-evaluate Byzantine law and assemble a new code of collective law. It was a truly Herculean task, studying hundreds of Latin Roman documents and laws from the early Western Roman Republic and deciding which ones were no longer relevant, which should be preserved, and which should be adapted.

The ancient system was based on traditional sources of Byzantine law as diverse as the Codex Gregorianus (imperial edicts from 196 to 284 AD), the Codex Hermogenianus (mainly imperial edicts of Diocletian, r. 284-305 AD) and the Codex Theodosianus (published in 438 AD and with edicts of Constantine I, r. 306-337 AD). The commission to update Byzantine law was headed by the great Tribonian jurist, who had already served as quaestor of the Great Palace of Constantinople, the highest legal position in the empire. The first part of the Corpus Juris Civilis was completed in April 529 AD. and two more parts were added the following year. The work replaced all previous legal documents and records of any kind. In addition, Justinian himself issued decrees, and the Justinian Codex eventually consisted of four main parts: Around 1771 BC, Hammurabi, king of the Babylonian Empire, issued a series of laws for each city-state in order to better govern his burgeoning empire.

Now known as the Code of Hammurabi, the 282 Laws are one of the oldest and most comprehensive written legal texts of antiquity. The codes served as a model for establishing justice in other cultures and are thought to have influenced the laws established by Hebrew writers, including those in the Book of Exodus. The codes were originally carved into a massive monolith of black diorite, eight feet high. The column, which was erected after the fall of Babylon in 1595 BC. Lost for centuries, it was rediscovered in 1901 in the ruins of the Elamite city of Susa. Shortly after Justinian became emperor in 527, he decided that the legal system of the empire needed to be repaired. There were three codices of imperial laws and other individual laws, many of which were contradictory or obsolete. The Codex Gregorianus and the Codex Hermogenianus were unofficial compilations. (The term «codex» refers to the physical appearance of works that are in book form rather than papyrus scrolls. The transition to the codex took place around 300 AD.) [4] The Codex Theodosianus was an official collection commissioned by Theodosius II.

In February 528, Justinian promulgated the Constitutio Hac quae necessario, which created a ten-member commission to examine these earlier compilations as well as individual laws, eliminate all unnecessary or obsolete laws, make any changes it deemed appropriate, and create a single compilation of existing imperial laws.[4] [5] The commission was headed by the Praetorian Prefect John the Cappadocian[6] and included Tribonian, who would later direct the other projects of the Corpus Juris Civilis. [7] The Hammurabi Code is not comprehensive legislation, but rather a series of decrees dealing with specific cases and issues such as slavery, debt, trade regulations, marriage, and inheritance. There are many codes that prescribe different degrees of punishment for crimes, compensation for certain injuries, fees for surgeons, hairdressers and veterinarians. Here are a few examples. The text compiled at the end of Hammurabi`s reign is less a proclamation of principles than a collection of precedents established between prose celebrating the righteous and pious reign of Hammurabi. The Hammurabi Codex provides some of the earliest examples of the doctrine of lex talionis, or laws of punishment, sometimes better known as «an eye for an eye.» Until the 20th century, no English translation of the codex was made.

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