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Paulus, Ju'lius

one of the most distinguished of the Roman jurists, has been supposed, without any good reason, to be of Greek origin, and from a Phoenician town.

Others conjecture that he was a native of Patavium (Padua), because there is a statue there, with an inscription, Paulus ; but the statue and inscription may refer to another Paulus (Gellius, 5.4, 19.7). Paulus was in the auditorium of Papinian (Dig. 29. tit. 2. s. 97; 49. tit. 14. s. 50), and consequently was acting as a jurist in the joint reigns of Septimius Severus and Antoninus Caracalla, and also during the reign of Caracalla. Paulus was exiled by Elagabalus, but he was recalled by Alexander Severus when he became emperor, and was made a member of his consilium (Aurel. Vict. De Caes. xxiv.; Lamprid. Alex. 25). Paulus also held the office of praefectus praetorio : he survived his contemporary Ulpian. In two passages of the Digest which have been already referred to, Paulus (Libro tertio Decretorum) speaks of two cases in which he gave an opinion contrary to Papinian, but the emperor decided according to Papinian's opinion.


Paulus was perhaps the most fertile of all the Roman law writers, and there is more excerpted from him in the Digest than from any other jurist, except Ulpian. It is said that there are 2462 excerpts from Ulpian, in the Digest, and 2083 from Paulus, or 2080, according to Puchta (Cursus, &c. vol. i. p. 458), which make about one sixth of the whole Digest. The excerpts from Paulus and Ulpian together make about one half of the Digest. Cervidius Scaevola, Paulus, and Ulpian, are named by Modestinus (Dig. 27. tit. 2. s. 13.2), who was the last of the great jurists, τῶν νομικῶν κορυφαίους : Paulus is honoured by Gordian with the title "prudentissimus" (Cod. 5. tit. 4. s. 6). It has been objected to him that his style is too condensed, and that he is sometimes obscure; but his style is as good as that of other writers of the period, though not so easy as that of Ulpian. Some writers have discovered something of Grecism in him, which is made an argument in favour of his Greek origin. The writings, like those of all the Roman jurists who are known to us only by excerpts, require a careful study, as we have the fragments detached from their context.

Paulus commented on Javolenus, Labeo, Salvius Julianus, C. Scaevola, and Papinian. He is cited by Macer and Modestinus.

Writings mentioned in the Florentine Index

The writings of Paulus mentioned in the Florentine Index are the following; from some of which there is only a single excerpt or a few, and from some not one in the Digest.

Treatises in single books

All the following treatises were in single books :--

Works not in the Index

The Index does not contain the following works, unless, as Zimmern remarks, they ought to stand in place of some of the works which are named in the Index, and from which there are no excerpts:--

4. And the following Libri Singulares:

There are also the notes to Julian, Papinian, and Scaevola, which last, however, are merely cited.

There is also a passage in the Fragmenta Vaticana, § 247, from the Lib. I. Editionis secundae de Jurisdictione singulari.


The enumeration of the works of Paulus is not made merely for the sake of completeness. To those who are conversant with the matter of jurisprudence it shows his wonderful fertility and the great variety of subjects on which he was employed. Cujacius has devoted to the Libri ad Edictum and the Quaestiones of Paulus the whole of the fifth volume of his works (ed. Neap. 1758), except a few pages, which are upon the Differentiae of Modestinus. The sixth volume of the same edition contains the Recitationes Solemnes of Cujacius (A. D. 1588) on the Responsa of Paulus. The first volume of Cujacius contains the Interpretationes in Julii Pauli Receptarum Sententiarum Libros quinque. The industry of Paulus must have been unremitting, and the extent of his legal learning is proved by the variety of his labours. Perhaps no legal writer, ancient or modern, has handled so many subjects, if we except his great commentator.

Further Information

Grotius, Vitae Jurisconsultorum; Cujacius, Op. ed. Neapol. 1758; Zimmern, Geschichte des Römischen Privatrechts, 367, &c.; Paulus, Receptae Sententiae cum Interpretatione Visigoithorum, ed. L. Arndts, Bonn, 1833.


1 There is only a single excerpt in the Digest (48. tit. 9. s. 15)

2 Dig. 34. tit. 9. s. 5.

3 Dig. 50. tit. 15. s. 8

4 Dig. 38. tit. 10

5 There is no excerpt in the Digest, but there is an excerpt in the Fragmenta Vaticana, § 237, the commencement of which is also in the Digest (27. tit. 1. s. 46.1), but it is cited from the Liber de Cognitionibus ; there is also another excerpt in the Fragmenta Vaticana, § 243.

6 Dig. 48. tit. 16. s. 16

7 Dig. 32. s. 98

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