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Codex Theodosiānus

In A.D. 429, Theodosius II., whose capital was Constantinople, communicated to the Senate his resolution to form a compilation of the general constitutions issued from the time of Constantine (A.D. 306-337) to his own day, after the model of the Codices Gregorianus and Hermogenianus; and appointed a commission of a lawyer and eight State officials to execute the scheme. Nothing, however, was done for six years. In A.D. 435, a new commission was appointed, presided over, like the earlier one, by Antiochus, and the imperial instructions were repeated. The result of their labours, known as the Theodosian Code, was published in February, A.D. 438, with statutory force from January 1 in the following year.

The constitutions are arranged in chronological order, under “titles” and “rubrics,” in sixteen books. The first five, which contain most of the enactments relating to private law, are in form modelled on the commentaries on the The sixth to the eighth books consist principally of administrative and constitutional ordinances; the ninth is criminal law; the tenth and eleventh relate to the financial system, and in part to procedure; the twelfth to the fifteenth, to the constitution and administration of towns and other corporations; and the sixteenth contains the constitutions which deal with the Church and the ecclesiastical system in general.

Our knowledge of this code is derived partly from incomplete MSS., partly from the code of Justinian, and partly from an epitome of its contents in the Breviarium (q. v.). The valuable edition of Gothofredus J. (6 vols. Leyden, 1665, re-edited by Ritter, Leipzig, 1736-45) contained the code in its complete form, except the first five books, for which it was necessary to use the epitome just referred to. This is also the case with the edition of this code contained in the Ius Civile Anteiustinianeum of Berlin (1815). But the discovery of a MS. of the Breviarium at Milan in 1820 by Clossius, and of a palimpsest of the Theodosian Code at Turin by Peyron, has contributed largely both to the critical knowledge of the other parts of this code, and has added numerous genuine constitutions to the first five books, especially Book i. Haenel's discoveries have added also to our knowledge of the later books, and his edition of the Theodosian Code (1842-44) is the latest and the best.

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