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CORPUS JURIS CIVI´LIS is the term which, since the end of the 16th century, has been used to denote Justinian's three great compilations--the Institutes, the Digest or Pandects, and the Code (together with the Novels), which form one compact body of law, and were considered as such by the glossators, or law school of Bologna, at the beginning of the 12th century, who divided it into five volumina. The Digest was distributed into the three first volumes under the respective names of “Digestum vetus,” “Infortiatum,” and “Digestum novum;” the fourth volume contained the first nine books of the “Codex repetitae praelectionis;” in the fifth were the Institutes, the “liber authenticorum” (Novels) and the three last books of the Code. This division into five volumes is found in the oldest editions of the Corpus Juris Civilis, but its portions are now usually arranged in the order Institutes, Digest, Code, Novels. The name “Corpus Juris Civilis” seems to have originated with Dionysius Gothofredus, who prefixed it to his edition of the Justinianean compilations towards the end of the 16th century: it is especially used in contradistinction to the “Corpus Juris Canonici” or Canon Law.

Most editions of the Corpus also contain thirteen [p. 1.552]edicts of Justinian, five constitutions of Justin the younger, and several of the younger Tiberius, and a series of constitutions of Justinian, Justin, and Tiberius; 113 Novels of Leo, a constitution of Zeno, and a number of constitutions of different emperors under the name of Βασιλικαὶ διατάξεις; the Canones sanctorum et venerandorum Apostolorum, Libri Feudorum, a constitution of the Emperor Frederick II., two of the Emperor Henry VII. called extravagantes, and a Liber de pace Constantiae. Sometimes there is also to be found an attempt to reconstruct the Twelve Tables, the Praetorian Edict, and other celebrated monuments of the older law.

The Roman Law, as received in Europe, consists only of the Corpus juris, i. e. the three compilations of Justinian, and the Novels by which he supplemented them; and it is only received within the limits and in the form which was given to it in the famous school of Bologna. Accordingly, all the ante-Justinianean law is now excluded from all practical application, as are the Greek texts in the Digest, for which the translations received at Bologna are substituted, and also the few unimportant restorations in the Digest, and the more important restorations in the Code. Of the three collections of Novels that only is received which is called Authenticum, and in the abbreviated form which was given to it at Bologna, called the Vulgata.

But, on the other hand, there are received the additions made to the Code in Bologna by the reception of the Authentica of the Emperors Frederick I. and Frederick II., and the still more numerous Authentica of Irnerius. The application of the matter comprised within these limits of the Corpus juris has not been determined by the school of Bologna, but by the operation of other principles, such as the customary law of different European countries, and the development of law. Various titles of the Corpus juris have little or no application in modern times; for instance, that part of the Code in particular which relates to constitutional forms and administration (Savigny, System, vol. i. p. 66).

Some editions of the Corpus juris are published with the glossae of the great Bolognese lawyers, and some without: the latest edition with them is that of J. Fehdius, Lugd. 1627, six vols. fol. Of the editions without the glossae the most important are those of Russardus, Lugd. 1560-61, fol., several times reprinted; Contius, Lugd. 1571 and 1581, 15 vols., 12mo; Lud. Charondae, 1575, fol.; Dionysii Gothofredi, Lugd. 1583, 4to. The best modern edition of the Corpus Juris Civilis is by Mommsen and Krueger, Berlin, 1877.

[G.L] [J.B.M]

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