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BREVIA´RIUM ALARICIA´NUM or BREVIA´RIUM. Alaric, the second king of the Visigoths (A.D. 484-507), who reigned over part of Gaul and Spain, commissioned a body of jurists, no doubt Romans, to make a selection from Roman statute law and from the writings [p. 1.317]of Roman jurists which should form a code for the use of his Roman subjects. The code was completed in the twenty-second year of Alaric's reign (A.D. 506), and was then submitted to a council of bishops and nobles held at Aduris (Aire in Gascony), by which it was approved. The work was promulgated under the direction of Gojarich, the comes palatii, by the transmission of a certified copy of it to each comes. These copies were accompanied with a commonitorium or proclamation which explained the character of the work, and prohibited the use of any other law or legal form (ut in foro tuo nulla alia lex neque juris formula proferri vet recipi praesumatur).

The signature of Anianus, the referendarius of the king, was attached to each official copy for the purpose of giving it authenticity; a circumstance which has been so far misunderstood that Anianus has been considered by some critics as the compiler of the code, which has been called Breviarium Aniani. The name Breviarium Alaricianum or Breviarium does not appear before the 16th century, from which time it becomes common. The title given to the work in the commonitorium is Codex de Thleodosiani legibus atque sententiis juris vel diversis libris electus. In some of the MSS. it is called Lex Theodosii, from the title of the first part of its contents; in others it is named, from its second part, liber juris, liber legis doctorum, liber juridicus. It is often described by the general title, Lex Romana. The following are the contents of the Breviarium, with their order in the code:--1. Codex Theodosianus, sixteen books. 2. Novellae of Theodosius II., Valentinian III., Marcian, Majorian, Severus. 3. The Institutes of Gaius, two books. 4. Pauli Receptae Sententiae, five books. 5. Codex Gregorianus, thirteen titles. 6. Codex Hermogenianus, two titles. 7. Papinianus, lib. i. Responsorum.

The code was thus composed of two kinds of materials,--imperial constitutions, which, both in the code itself and in the commonitorium, are called leges, and the writings of Roman jurists, which are called jus. Both the Codex Gregorianus and Hermogenianus being compilations, made without any legislative authority, are included under the head of jus. Except in the case of the Institutes of Gaius, the Breviarium is made up of extracts from the authorities enumerated above, and of an interpretation which explains the text and gives an account of amendments in the law relating to it. As a general rule the text of the passages selected was not altered. It is to be noticed that the compilers of the Breviarium made no use of the writings of some of the most eminent jurists. Thus there is no selection from the works of Ulpian, and only one short extract is taken from Papinian. The Institutes of Gaius are abridged or epitomised, and such alterations in the law as had taken place, or were considered necessary for the time, were introduced into the text. This part of the work, on account of its, distinct character, has no interpretation attached to it. The epitome gives but a very imperfect account of the parts of Gaius which it was intended to be a summary of. Its value was much diminished by Niebuhr's discovery of the Institutes of Gaius at Verona in 1816.

The Breviarium contains several sources of Roman law which are otherwise almost entirely unknown, especially Paulus and the first five books of the Theodosian Code.

Numerous MSS. of the Breviarium are in existence. There are also MSS. of epitomes of the Breviarium, which were made in the Middle Ages. A complete edition of this code was published by Sichard in his Codex Theodosianus, Basileae, 1528. The entire code was not edited again till 1849, when the well-known standard edition by Haenel was published. (Puchta, Cursus, 1.137; Savigny, Geschichte des Böm. Rechts im Mittelalter, 2.100.8; Rudorff, Geschichte des Röm. Rechts, 1.104; Danz, Geschichte des Röm. Rechts, 1.81; Huschke, Jurisprudentiae Antejustinianae quae supersunt; Julius Paulus.)

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