Chari'sius, Aure'lius Arca'dius
a Roman jurist, one of the latest in time of those whose works are cited in the Digest. Herennius Modestinus, who was living in the reign of Gordianus III., is usually considered to be the last jurist of the classical period of Roman jurisprudence. " Hic oracula jurisconsultorum obmutuere," says the celebrated Jac. Godefroi (Manuale Juris,
1.7), " sic ut ultimum JCtorum Modestinum dicere vere liceat." For an interval of 80 or 90 years after Modestinus, no jurist appears whose works are honoured with citation in the Digest, unless Julius Aquila or Furius Anthianus belongs to that interval.
The only two who can be named with certainty as posterior to Modestinus are Charisius and Hermogenianus. Of these two, the priority of date is probably, for several reasons, to be assigned to the former.
It may be here mentioned, that Hermogenianus occupies the last place in the Florentine Index. Charisius cites Modestinus with applause (Dig. 50
. tit. 4. s. 18.26), but his date is more closely to be collected from Dig. 1
. tit. 11. s. un. § 1, where he states that appeal from the sentences of the praefecti praetorio has been abolished. Now, this appeal was abolished by Constantine the Great, A. D. 331 (Cod. 7. tit. 62. s. 19), and, from the language of Charisius in Dig. 1
. tit. 11, it may be inferred, that Constantine was alive at the time when that passage was written. Charisius is sometimes (e. g. Dig. 22
. tit. 5. s. 1. pr.) cited in the Digest by the name " Arcadius, qui et Charisius," and by Joannes Lydus (de Magist. Pop. Rom.
1.100.14), he is cited by the name Aurelius simply.
The name Charisius was not uncommon in the decline of the empire, and, when it occurs on coins, it is usually spelled Carisius, as if it were etymologically connected with Carus
rather than χάρις
The jurist, according to Panziroli (de Clar. Jur. Interpp.
pp. 13, 59), was the same with the Arcadius to whom Carus, Carinus, and Numerianus directed a rescript, A. D. 283. (Cod. 9. tit. 11. s. 4.)
There is a constitution of Diocletianus and Maximianus, addressed, A. D. 300-2, to Arcadius Chresimus. (Cod. 2. tit. 3. s. 27.) Panziroli would here read Charisius for Chresimus, and would also identify our Charisius with the Carisius (Vat. M. S.; vulg. lect. Charissimus), praeses of Syria, to whom was addressed (A. D. 290) an earlier constitution of the same emperors. (Cod. 9. tit. 41. s. 9.)
These identifications, however, though not absolutely impossible, rest upon mere conjecture, and would require the jurist to have lived to a very advanced age. Three works of Charisius are cited in the Digest. Four extracts (Dig. 22
. tit. 5. s. 1; Dig. 22
. tit. 5. s. 21; Dig. 22
. tit. 5. s. 25; Dig. 48
. tit. 18. s. 10) are made from his Liber singularis de Testibus; one (Dig. 50
. tit. 4. s. 18) from his Liber singularis de Muneribus civilibus; and one (Dig. 1
. tit. 1. s. un.) from his Liber singularis de Officio Praefecti praetorio.
In the inscription prefixed to the latter passage (Dig. 1
. tit. 11. s. un.), he is styled magister libellorum, and Cujas (Obss.
7.2), probably suspecting that he held office under Constantine, conjectures that he was a Christian. For this conjecture, however, there is no sufficient ground, for, as Ritter has remarked (ad Heineccii Historiam Jur. Rom.
§ 358), even under Valentinianus the younger, Rome was still for the most part pagan, and men, the most addicted to paganism, held the highest dignities even in the imperial household.
Both the matter and the language of the extracts from Charisius in the Digest mark the declining age of jurisprudence and Latinity.
The matter betrays the mere compiler.
The language is disfigured by barbarisms, e. g. participales, regimentum, incunctabile, munus camelasiae.
(Jac. Godefroi, ad Cod. Theodos.
11. tit. 30. s. 16; Guil. Grot. Vitae Jurisc.
2.11; Chr. Rau, de Aur. Arc. Charisio. Vet. Jurisc.,
4to, Lips. 1773; Zimmern, R. R. G.