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Legal History

Introductory Works

Roman law has a long history, but the work that has had the most lasting influence in the West is the Emperor Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis from the early 6th century. Western Europe "rediscovered" his codification in the 11th century. What became the standard printed edition came out in 1583,  remaining so until the 19th century. See below for various modern English translations available.

Major Works

Corpus Iuris/Juris Civilis:

  • Consolidation of Roman law spearheaded by the Emperor Justinian from 528 to 534, with the Novels coming shortly thereafter
  • Became collectively known as the Corpus Juris Civilis in the late 16th c.
  • Has four parts:
  • Modern citation method: first letter of the name of the source, then number of the book, title, law/fragment, paragraph/section. E.g., D. 47. 2. 15. 3. stands for the Digest, book 47, title 2, law or fragment 15, paragraph or section 3
  • Multiple editions available at Tarlton (but avoid inaccurate translation by Samuel Parsons Scott)
  • Online Vulgate edition: the Vulgate is the manuscript version used during the Middle Ages, prior to editions that reflected the work of later Humanists

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    • KJA2-3360

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