a Roman jurist, who lived in the reign of Constantine the Great, and under his sons Constantius and Constans. Although jurisprudence as a science was now upon the wane, jurists were privileged by the emperors as late as the reign of Constantius; and, by virtue of such privilege, their writings and opinions were invested with a kind of legislative force. The jurist-made
law of the Romans came into existence under the form of authoritative exposition or interpretation, and was more directly binding than what Bentham calls English judge-made
It was nearly analogous to a parliamentary declaration of the existing law, inasmuch as the jurist, in the exercise of his vocation, was made the representative of the emperor, the supreme power. Eunapius (in Vit. Chrysanthii,
p. 186, ed. Commelin) says that Innocentius was privileged as a jurist by the emperors under whom he lived.
He is not mentioned in the Digest, which contains extracts from no jurist of later date than his.
In the collection of Agrimensores,
there is a treatsise, headed " Ex libro xii. Innocentii de literis et notis juris exponendis," or " Innocentius, V. P. auctor."
The treatise does not profess to be the original work of a jurist, and is manifestly a compilation of much more recent date than the reign of Constantine : nor does it at all resemble the remains of legal stenography that we possess under the name of Valerius Probus and other writers of the same class.
It relates to the casae
which were named after the letters of the alphabet, and the case
appears to have been fundi,
or portions of land; but the mode in which letters were connected with the fundi, so as to designate their qualities and peculiarities of position, has not been satisfactorily explained; and the treatise De Casis Literarum
is still perhaps the most enigmatical part of the writings on ancient land-surveying.
Rigaltius, in his first note on the treatise, " De Casis Literarum," says that an Innocentius, agrimensor, is mentioned in the 19th book of Ammianus Marcellinus, and quotes a passage, whence it would seem that, on some occasion, Innocentius gave instructions which enabled a party of troops sailing up a river to steer by observing certain marks upon the banks.
The reference is incorrect, and the passage cited by Rigaltius has not been found by subsequent inquirers. (Auctores Rei Agrariae,
ed. Goes. p. 167, n. p. 220-232.)