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Corpus Iuris Civīlis

The name given since the sixteenth century to the great collection of authorities on Roman law, made by the lawyer Tribonianus, of Sidé in Pamphylia, at the instance of the Eastern emperor Justinian (A.D. 527-565). To this collection we owe the preservation of the treasures of the ancient jurisprudence, which must certainly otherwise have been lost. The Corpus Iuris consists of four parts:


Codex Iustinianēus, called repetitae praelectionis, as being the revised edition of a code now lost, but which had appeared in 529. This was published in 534, and contains in twelve books the imperial law (ius principale), or the constitutiones of the emperors since Hadrian.


Pandectae, or Digesta. The law of the jurists (ius vetus). These, published A.D. 533, are extracts from the works of thirty-nine ancient jurists, arranged in fifty books, according to subjects.


Institutiōnes. A handbook of jurisprudence, founded mostly upon Gaius , and published in the same year.


Novellae (constitutiones), or supplementary ordinances of Justinian, mostly in Greek. These are preserved only in private collections of various compass, one of which, the Authenticum or Liber Authenticorum, was recognized as the authorized text, and gives the Greek rescripts in a Latin version. The best modern edition of the Corpus Iuris Civilis is that by Mommsen, Schöll, and Krüger (Berlin, 4th ed. 1886-88).

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