Code of Justinian


On November 16, 534, Justinian I, the ruler of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, issued his Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law), commonly called the Code of Justinian. It expanded on Justinian's earlier release of the code (in 529) and was divided into three parts: the Codex, which was a compilation of the existing decrees of emperors and statesmen; the Digest (or Pandects, as they were termed in Greek), an anthology of the thoughts and decisions of the famous lawyers of antiquity; and the Institutes, a state-issued and mandated legal textbook designed to standardize legal education across the empire. A separate book of later laws, the Novels, is also considered part of the Justinian Code. With his law code, Justinian completely revolutionized the law of the Eastern Roman Empire, inherited from over a thousand years of Roman jurisprudence.

The Code of Justinian brought together all codifications and decrees put forth before it and streamlined, organized, and...

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The lawgivers Papinianus, Solon, and Justinian (Library of Congress)

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