Roma Yasası

CKM 2018-20 / Aziz Yardımlı




Ancient Origins





Roma Yasası

  Corpus Juris Civilis
Avrupa Tüzesinin Klasik Roma Temelleri:

  • Justinian’ın Yasaları (Corpus Juris Civilis) Doğuda üretildikten sonra “Batıda dağıtıldı” (“distributed in the West” — tıpkı bir broşür gibi, Wikipedia’nın terminolojisi ile).
  • Ama aynı zamanda bu yasalar Roma ve daha sonra Ravenna’da ders kitabı olarak okutuldu.
  • Roma bu bölgeleri barbarlara yitirince yalnızca Güney İtalya “Bizans yasa geleneğini” (“Byzantine legal tradition”) sürdürdü.


  • Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Avrupa’daki topraklarında Roma Yasalarını uygulamada bir sorun görmedi.
  • “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” uzun tarihi boyunca feodal karakterinden ötürü herhangi bir yasaya gereksinim duymadı.
  • Aslında, Napoleon’a dek Batı Avrupa genel olarak bir yasa dizgesine gerek görmedi.
  • Corpus Juris Civilis Fransızca, Almanca, İtalyanca ve İspanyolca’ya 19’uncu yüzyılda çevrildi.
  • İngilizce ilk tam çeviri 1932’de çıktı.

“Corpus Juris Civilis was translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish in the 19th century. However, no English translation of the entire Corpus Juris Civilis existed until 1932.” (W)

Corpus Juris Civilis

Corpus Juris Civilis (W)


The Corpus Juris (or Iuris) Civilis ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern {!} Roman Emperor. It is also sometimes referred to as the Code of Justinian, although this name belongs more properly to the part titled Codex Justinianus.

The work as planned had three parts: the Code (Codex) is a compilation, by selection and extraction, of imperial enactments to date; the Digest or Pandects (the Latin title contains both Digesta and Pandectae) is an encyclopedia composed of mostly brief extracts from the writings of Roman jurists; and the Institutes (Institutiones) is a student textbook, mainly introducing the Code, although it has important conceptual elements that are less developed in the Code or the Digest. All three parts, even the textbook, were given force of law. They were intended to be, together, the sole source of law; reference to any other source, including the original texts from which the Code and the Digest had been taken, was forbidden. Nonetheless, Justinian found himself having to enact further laws and today these are counted as a fourth part of the Corpus, the Novellae Constitutiones (Novels, literally New Laws).

The work was directed by Tribonian, an official in Justinian's court in Constantinople. His team was authorized to edit what they included. How far they made amendments is not recorded and, in the main, cannot be known because most of the originals have not survived. The text was composed and distributed almost entirely in Latin, which was still the official language of the government of the Byzantine {!} Empire in 529-534, whereas the prevalent language of merchants, farmers, seamen, and other citizens was Greek. By the early 7th century, the official government language had become Greek during the lengthy reign of Heraclius (610-641).

The Corpus Juris Civilis was revised into Greek, when that became the predominant language of the Eastern Roman Empire, and continued to form the basis of the empire's laws, the Basilika (Greek: τὰ βασιλικά, 'imperial laws'), through the 15th century. The Basilika in turn served as the basis for local legal codes in the Balkans during the following Ottoman period and later formed the basis of the legal code of Modern Greece. In Western Europe the Corpus Juris Civilis was revived in the Middle Ages and was "received" or imitated as private law. Its public law content was quarried for arguments by both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. This revived Roman law, in turn, became the foundation of law in all civil law jurisdictions. The provisions of the Corpus Juris Civilis also influenced the canon law of the Catholic Church: it was said that ecclesia vivit lege romana – the church lives by Roman law. {?} Its influence on common law legal systems has been much smaller, although some basic concepts from the Corpus have survived through Norman law – such as the contrast, especially in the Institutes, between "law" (statute) and custom. The Corpus continues to have a major influence on public international law. Its four parts thus constitute the foundation documents of the Western legal tradition.

Compilation process



Justinian acceded to the imperial throne in Constantinople in 527. Six months after his accession, in order to reduce the great number of imperial constitutions and thus also the number of court proceedings, Justinian arranged for the creation of a new collection of imperial constitutions (Codex Iustinianus). The commission in charge of the compilation process was explicitly authorized to leave out or change text and to delete what was obsolete or contradictory. Soon, in 529, the Codex was completed and was conferred the force of law in the whole empire, replacing all earlier constitutions and the Codex Theodosianus.



A little more than a year after the enactment of the first edition of the Code, Justinian appointed a commission to compile the traditional jurists' law in a new, shortened and contemporary codification: the 'Digest or Pandects'. The traditional collection of jurists' law, Justinian believed, was so extensive that it had become unmanageable, necessitating a new compilation. The commission completed its work within three years, in 533.

The commission surveyed the works of classical jurists who were assumed in Justinian's time to have the authority to clarify law (ius respondendi) and whose works were still available. In total, there are excerpts from 38 jurists in the Digest.


The four parts



Main article: Codex Justinianeus

The "Codex Justinianeus" or "Codex Justiniani" (Latin for "Justinian's Code") was the first part to be finished, on 7 April 529. It contained in Latin most of the existing imperial constitutiones (imperial pronouncements having force of law), back to the time of Hadrian. It used both the Codex Theodosianus and the fourth-century collections embodied in the Codex Gregorianus and Codex Hermogenianus, which provided the model for division into books that were themselves divided into titles. These works had developed authoritative standing. This first edition is now lost; a second edition was issued in 534 and is the text that has survived. At least the second edition contained some of Justinian's own legislation, including some legislation in Greek. It is not known whether he intended there to be further editions, although he did envisage translation of Latin enactments into Greek.


Legislation about religion

Numerous provisions served to secure the status of Christianity as the state religion of the empire, uniting Church and state, and making anyone who was not connected to the Christian church a non-citizen. The Christianity referred to is Chalcedonian Christianity as defined by the state church, which excluded a variety of other major Christian sects in existence at the time such as the Church of the East and Oriental Orthodoxy.

Laws against heresy

The very first law in the Codex requires all persons under the jurisdiction of the Empire to hold the Christian faith. This was primarily aimed at heresies such as Nestorianism. This text later became the springboard for discussions of international law, especially the question of just what persons are under the jurisdiction of a given state or legal system.

Laws against paganism

Other laws, while not aimed at pagan belief as such, forbid particular pagan practices. For example, it is provided that all persons present at a pagan sacrifice may be indicted as if for murder.



Main article: Digest (Roman law)

The Digesta or Pandectae, completed in 533, is a collection of juristic writings, mostly dating back to the second and third centuries. Fragments were taken out of various legal treatises and opinions and inserted in the Digest. In their original context, the statements of the law contained in these fragments were just private opinions of legal scholars – although some juristic writings had been privileged by Theodosius II's Law of Citations in 426. The Digest, however, was given full force of law.



As the Digest neared completion, Tribonian and two professors, Theophilus and Dorotheus, made a student textbook, called the Institutions or Elements. As there were four elements, the manual consists of four books. The Institutiones are largely based on the Institutiones of Gaius. Two thirds of the Institutiones of Justinian consists of literal quotes from Gaius. The new Institutiones were used as a manual for jurists in training from 21 November 533 and were given the authority of law on 30 December 533 along with the Digest.



The Novellae consisted of new laws that were passed after 534. They were later re-worked into the Syntagma, a practical lawyer's edition, by Athanasios of Emesa during the years 572–77.

Continuation in the East


The term Byzantine Empire {!} is used today to refer to what remained of {?} the Roman Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean following the collapse of the Empire in the West. This Eastern empire continued to practice Roman Law, {?} and it was as the ruler of this empire {?} that Justinian formalized Roman law in his Corpus Juris Civilis. To account for the language shift of the empire's administration from Latin to Greek legal codes based on the Corpus Juris Civilis were enacted in Greek. The most well known are:


The Basilika was a complete adaptation {rather: a translation and development} of Justinian’s codification. At 60 volumes it proved to be difficult for judges and lawyers to use. There was need for a short and handy version. This was finally made by Constantine Harmenopoulos, a Byzantine judge from Thessaloniki, in 1345. He made a short version of Basilika in six books, called Hexabiblos. This was widely used throughout the Balkans during the following Ottoman period, and along with the Basilika was used as the first legal code for the newly independent Greek state in the 1820s. Serbian state, law and culture was built on the foundations of Rome and Byzantium. Therefore, the most important Serbian legal codes: Zakonopravilo (1219) and Dušan's Code (1349 and 1354), transplanted Roman-Byzantine Law included in Corpus Juris Civilis, Prohiron and Basilika. These Serbian codes were practised until the Serbian Despotate fell to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1459. After the liberation from the Turks in the Serbian Revolution, Serbs continued to practise Roman Law by enacting Serbian civil code in 1844. It was a short version of Austrian civil code (called Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch), which was made on the basis of Corpus Juris Civilis.

Recovery in the West (W)


Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis was distributed {like a pamphlet?} in the West and went into effect in those areas regained under Justinian's wars of reconquest (Pragmatic Sanction of 554), including the Exarchate of Ravenna. Accordingly, the Institutes were made the textbook at the law school in Rome, and later in Ravenna when the school relocated there. However, after the loss of most of these areas, only the Catepanate (southern Italy) maintained a Byzantine legal tradition, {!} but there the Corpus was superseded by the Ecloga and Basilika. Only the Corpus’s provisions regulating the church still had any effect, but the Catholic church's de facto autonomy and the Great Schism made even that irrelevant. In Western Europe, the Corpus may have spurred a slew of Romano-Germanic law codes in the successor Germanic kingdoms, but {?} these were heavily based on the Theodosian Code, not the Corpus.

Historians disagree on the precise way the Corpus was recovered in Northern Italy about 1070: legal studies were undertaken on behalf of papal authority central to the Gregorian Reform of Pope Gregory VII, which may have led to its accidental rediscovery. Aside from the Littera Florentina (a complete 6th-century copy of the Digest preserved in Amalfi and later moved to Pisa) and the Epitome Codicis (c. 1050; incomplete manuscript preserving most of the Codex), there may have been other manuscript sources for the text that began to be taught at Bologna, by Pepo and then by Irnerius. Irnerius' technique was to read a passage aloud, which permitted his students to copy it, then to deliver an excursus explaining and illuminating Justinian's text, in the form of glosses. Irnerius' pupils, the so-called Four Doctors of Bologna, were among the first of the "glossators" who established the curriculum of medieval Roman law. The tradition was carried on by French lawyers, known as the Ultramontani, in the 13th century.

The merchant classes of Italian communes required law with a concept of equity, and law that covered situations inherent in urban life better than the primitive Germanic oral traditions. The provenance of the Code appealed to scholars who saw in the Holy Roman Empire a revival of venerable precedents from the classical heritage. The new class of lawyers staffed the bureaucracies that were beginning to be required by the princes of Europe. The University of Bologna, where Justinian's Code was first taught, remained the dominant centre for the study of law through the High Middle Ages.

A two-volume edition of the Digest was published in Paris in 1549 and 1550, translated by Antonio Agustín, Bishop of Tarragona, who was well known for other legal works. The full title of the Digest was Digestorum Seu Pandectarum tomus alter, and it was published by "Apud Carolam Guillards". Vol. 1 of the Digest has 2934 pages, while Vol. 2 has 2754 pages. Referring to Justinian's Code as Corpus Juris Civilis was only adopted in the 16th century, when it was printed in 1583 by Dionysius Gothofredus under this title. The legal thinking behind the Corpus Juris Civilis served as the backbone of the single largest legal reform of the modern age, the Napoleonic Code, which marked the abolition of feudalism. Napoleon wanted to see these principles introduced to the whole of Europe because he saw them as an effective form of rule that created a more equal society and thus creating a more friendly relationship between the ruling class and the rest of the peoples of Europe.

The Corpus Juris Civilis was translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish in the 19th century. However, no English translation of the entire Corpus Juris Civilis existed until 1932 when Samuel Parsons Scott published his version The Civil Law. Scott did not base his translation on the best available Latin versions, and his work was severely criticized. Fred. H. Blume used the best-regarded Latin editions for his translations of the Code and of the Novels. A new English translation of the Code, based on Blume's, was published in October 2016. In 2018, the Cambridge University Press also published a new English translation of the Novels, based primarily on the Greek text.



  Roman Law

Roman law (B)

Roman law (B)

Roman law, the law of ancient Rome from the time of the founding of the city in 753 BCE until the fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century CE. It remained in use in the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire until 1453. As a legal system, Roman law has affected the development of law in most of Western civilization as well as in parts of the East. It forms the basis for the law codes of most countries of continental Europe (see civil law) and derivative systems elsewhere.

The term Roman law today often refers to more than the laws of Roman society. The legal institutions evolved by the Romans had influence on the laws of other peoples in times long after the disappearance of the Roman Empire and in countries that were never subject to Roman rule. To take the most striking example, in a large part of Germany, until the adoption of a common code for the whole empire in 1900, the Roman law was in force as “subsidiary law”; that is, it was applied unless excluded by contrary local provisions. This law, however, which was in force in parts of Europe long after the fall of the Roman Empire, was not the Roman law in its original form. Although its basis was indeed the Corpus Juris Civilis — the codifying legislation of the emperor Justinian I — this legislation had been interpreted, developed, and adapted to later conditions by generations of jurists from the 11th century onward and had received additions from non-Roman sources.



Development Of The Jus Civile And Jus Gentium (B)

Development Of The Jus Civile And Jus Gentium (B)

In the great span of time during which the Roman Republic and Empire existed, there were many phases of legalistic development. During the period of the republic (753 {!}–31 BCE), the jus civile (civil law) developed. Based on custom or legislation, it applied exclusively to Roman citizens. By the middle of the 3rd century BCE, however, another type of law, jus gentium (law of nations), was developed by the Romans to be applied both to themselves and to foreigners. Jus gentium was not the result of legislation, but was, instead, a development of the magistrates and governors who were responsible for administering justice in cases in which foreigners were involved. The jus gentium became, to a large extent, part of the massive body of law that was applied by magistrates to citizens, as well as to foreigners, as a flexible alternative to jus civile.

Roman law, like other ancient systems, originally adopted the principle of personality—that is, that the law of the state applied only to its citizens. Foreigners had no rights and, unless protected by some treaty between their state and Rome, they could be seized like ownerless pieces of property by any Roman. But from early times there were treaties with foreign states guaranteeing mutual protection. Even in cases in which there was no treaty, the increasing commercial interests of Rome forced it to protect, by some form of justice, the foreigners who came within its borders. A magistrate could not simply apply Roman law because that was the privilege of citizens; even had there not been this difficulty, foreigners would probably have objected to the cumbersome formalism that characterized the early jus civile.

The law that the magistrates applied probably consisted of three elements: (1) an existing mercantile law that was used by the Mediterranean traders; (2) those institutions of the Roman law that, after being purged of their formalistic elements, could be applied universally to any litigant, Roman or foreigner; and (3) in the last resort, a magistrate’s own sense of what was fair and just. This system of jus gentium was also adopted when Rome began to acquire provinces so that provincial governors could administer justice to the peregrini (foreigners). This word came to mean not so much persons living under another government (of which, with the expansion of Roman power, there came to be fewer and fewer) as Roman subjects who were not citizens. In general, disputes between members of the same subject state were settled by that state’s own courts according to its own law, whereas disputes between provincials of different states or between provincials and Romans were resolved by the governor’s court applying jus gentium. By the 3rd century CE, when citizenship was extended throughout the empire, the practical differences between jus civile and jus gentium ceased to exist. Even before this, when a Roman lawyer said that a contract of sale was juris gentium, he meant that it was formed in the same way and had the same legal results whether the parties to it were citizens or not. This became the practical meaning of jus gentium. Because of the universality of its application, however, the idea was also linked with the theoretical notion that it was the law common to all peoples and was dictated by nature—an idea that the Romans took from Greek philosophy.


Written And Unwritten Law (B)

Written And Unwritten Law (B)

The Romans divided their law into jus scriptum (written law) and jus non scriptum (unwritten law). By “unwritten law” they meant custom; by “written law” they meant not only the laws derived from legislation but, literally, laws based on any written source.

There were various types of written law, the first of which consisted of leges (singular lex), or enactments of one of the assemblies of the whole Roman people. Although the wealthier classes, or patricians, dominated these assemblies, the common people, or plebeians, had their own council in which they enacted resolutions called plebiscita. Only after the passage of the Lex Hortensia in 287 BCE, however, did plebiscita become binding on all classes of citizens; thereafter, plebiscita were generally termed leges along with other enactments. In general, legislation was a source of law only during the republic. When Augustus Caesar established the empire in 31 BCE, the assemblies did not at once cease to function, but their assent to any proposal became merely a formal ratification of the emperor’s wishes. The last known lex was passed during the reign of Nerva (96-98 CE).

The earliest and most important legislation, or body of leges, was the Twelve Tables, enacted in 451-450 BCE during the struggle of the plebeians for political equality. It represented an effort to obtain a written and public code that patrician magistrates could not alter at will against plebeian litigants. Little is known of the actual content of the Twelve Tables; the text of the code has not survived, and only a few fragments are extant, collected from allusions and quotations in the works of authors such as Cicero. From the fragments it is apparent that numerous matters were treated, among them family law, delict (tort, or offense against the law), and legal procedure.

A second type of written law consisted of the edicta (edicts), or proclamations issued by a superior magistrate (praetor) on judicial matters. The office of praetor was created in 367 BCE to take over the expanding legal work involving citizens; later, a separate praetor was created to deal with foreigners. Upon taking office, a praetor issued an edict that was, in effect, the program for his year in office. The curule aediles, who were the magistrates responsible for the care and supervision of the markets, also issued edicts. During the later stages of the republic, these praetorian and magisterial edicts became an instrument of legal reform, and leges ceased to be a major source of private law.

The Roman system of procedure gave the magistrate great powers for providing or refusing judicial remedies, as well as for determining the form that such remedies should take. The result of this magisterial system was the development of the jus honorarium, a new body of rules that existed alongside, and often superseded, the civil law. The edicta remained a source of law until about 131 CE, when the emperor Hadrian commissioned their reorganization and consolidation and declared the resulting set of laws to be unalterable, except by the emperor himself.

A third type of written law was the senatus consulta, or resolutions of the Roman senate. Although these suggestions to various magistrates had no legislative force during the republic, they could be given force by the magistrates’ edicts. In the early empire, as the power of the assemblies declined and the position of the emperor increased, senatus consulta became resolutions that endorsed the proposals of the emperor. As the approval of the Senate became increasingly automatic, the emperor’s proposals became the true instrument of power. Consequently, emperors ceased referring proposals to the Senate and, not long after the early imperial period, ended the practice of legislating through the Senate.

A fourth type of written law consisted of the constitutiones principum, which were, in effect, expressions of the legislative power of the emperor. By the middle of the 2nd century CE, the emperor was, essentially, the sole creator of the law. The chief forms of imperial legislation were edicts or proclamations; instructions to subordinates, especially provincial governors; written answers to officials or others who consulted the emperor; and decisions of the emperor sitting as a judge.

The last type of written law was the responsa prudentium, or answers to legal questions given by learned lawyers to those who consulted them. Although law, written and unwritten, was originally a rather secretive monopoly of the college of pontiffs, or priests, a recognizable class of legal advisers, juris consulti or prudentes, had developed by the early 3rd century BCE. These legal advisers were not professionals as such but men of rank who sought popularity and advancement in their public careers by giving free legal advice. They interpreted statutes and points of law, especially unwritten law, advised the praetor on the content of his edict, and assisted parties and judges in litigation. Augustus empowered certain jurists to give responsa with the emperor’s authority; this increased their prestige, but the practice lapsed as early as 200 CE.

During the early empire, numerous commentaries were written by the great jurists on individual leges, on civil law, on the edict, and on law as a whole. In the 5th century a law was passed stipulating that only the works of certain jurists could be cited. Legal scholarship declined in the postclassical period.


Concept of laws (W)

Concept of laws (W)

  • ius civile, ius gentium, and ius naturale – the ius civile ("citizen law", originally ius civile Quiritium) was the body of common laws that applied to Roman citizens and the Praetores Urbani, the individuals who had jurisdiction over cases involving citizens. The ius gentium ("law of peoples") was the body of common laws that applied to foreigners, and their dealings with Roman citizens. The Praetores Peregrini were the individuals who had jurisdiction over cases involving citizens and foreigners. Jus naturale was a concept the jurists developed to explain why all people seemed to obey some laws. Their answer was that a "natural law" instilled in all beings a common sense.
  • ius scriptum and ius non-scriptum – meaning written and unwritten law, respectively. In practice, the two differed by the means of their creation and not necessarily whether or not they were written down. The ius scriptum was the body of statute laws made by the legislature. The laws were known as leges (lit. "laws") and plebiscita (lit. "plebiscites," originating in the Plebeian Council). Roman lawyers would also include in the ius scriptum the edicts of magistrates (magistratuum edicta), the advice of the Senate (Senatus consulta), the responses and thoughts of jurists (responsa prudentium), and the proclamations and beliefs of the emperor (principum placita). Ius non-scriptum was the body of common laws that arose from customary practice and had become binding over time.
  • ius commune and ius singulareIus singulare (singular law) is special law for certain groups of people, things, or legal relations (because of which it is an exception from the general rules of the legal system), unlike general, ordinary, law (ius commune). An example of this is the law about wills written by people in the military during a campaign, which are exempt of the solemnities generally required for citizens when writing wills in normal circumstances.
  • ius publicum and ius privatumius publicum means public law and ius privatum means private law, where public law is to protect the interests of the Roman state while private law should protect individuals. In the Roman law ius privatum included personal, property, civil and criminal law; judicial proceeding was private process (iudicium privatum); and crimes were private (except the most severe ones that were prosecuted by the state). Public law will only include some areas of private law close to the end of the Roman state. Ius publicum was also used to describe obligatory legal regulations (today called ius cogens—this term is applied in modern international law to indicate peremptory norms that cannot be derogated from). These are regulations that cannot be changed or excluded by party agreement. Those regulations that can be changed are called today ius dispositivum, and they are not used when party shares something and are in contrary.


The Law Of Justinian (B)

The Law Of Justinian (B)

When the Byzantine {!} emperor Justinian I assumed rule in 527 CE, he found the law of the Roman Empire in a state of great confusion. It consisted of two masses that were usually distinguished as old law and new law.

The old law comprised (1) all of the statutes passed under the republic and early empire that had not become obsolete; (2) the decrees of the Senate passed at the end of the republic and during the first two centuries of the empire; and (3) the writings of jurists and, more particularly, of those jurists to whom the emperors had given the right of declaring the law with their authority. These jurists, in their commentaries, had incorporated practically all that was of importance. Of these numerous records and writings of old law, many had become scarce or had been lost altogether, and some were of doubtful authenticity. The entire mass of work was so costly to produce that even the public libraries did not contain complete collections. Moreover, these writings contained many inconsistencies.

The new law, which consisted of the ordinances of the emperors promulgated during the middle and later stages of the empire, was in a similarly disorganized condition. These ordinances or constitutions were extremely numerous and contradictory. Because no complete collection existed (earlier codices were not comprehensive), other ordinances had to be obtained separately. It was thus necessary to collect into a reasonable corpus as much of the law, both new and old, as was regarded as binding and to purge its contradictions and inconsistencies.

Immediately after his accession, Justinian appointed a commission to deal with the imperial constitutions. The 10 commissioners went through all of the constitutions of which copies existed, selected those that had practical value, cut all unnecessary matter, eliminated contradictions by omitting one or the other of the conflicting passages, and adapted all the provisions to the circumstances of Justinian’s own time. The resulting Codex Constitutionumwas formally promulgated in 529, and all imperial ordinances not included in it were repealed. This Codex has been lost, but a revised edition of 534 exists as part of the so-called Corpus Juris Civilis.

The success of this first experiment encouraged the emperor to attempt the more difficult enterprise of simplifying and digesting the writings of the jurists. Thus, beginning in 530, a new commission of 16 eminent lawyers set about this task of compiling, clarifying, simplifying, and ordering; the results were published in 533 in 50 books that became known as the Digest (Digesta) or Pandects (Pandectae). After enacting the Digest as a lawbook, Justinian repealed all of the other law contained in the treatises of the jurists and directed that those treatises should never be cited in the future, even by way of illustration; at the same time, he abrogated all of the statutes that had formed a part of the old law. An outline of the elements of Roman law called the Institutes of Justinian (or simply Institutiones) was published at about the same time.

Between 534 and his death in 565, Justinian himself issued a great number of ordinances that dealt with many subjects and seriously altered the law on many points. These ordinances are called, by way of distinction, new constitutions (Novellae Constitutiones Post Codicem); in English they are referred to as the Novels.

All of these books — the revised Codex Constitutionum (the original work was revised four and a half years later), the Digest, the Institutes, and the Novels — are collectively known as the Corpus Juris Civilis. This Corpus Juris of Justinian, with a few additions from the ordinances of succeeding emperors, continued to be the chief lawbook in what remained of the Roman world. In the 9th century a new system known as the Basilica was prepared by the emperor Leo VI the Wise. It was written in Greek and consisted of parts of the Codex and parts of the Digest, joined and often altered in expression, together with some material from the Novels and imperial ordinances subsequent to those of Justinian. In the western provinces, the law as settled by Justinian held its ground.


   Categories Of Roman Law

         The law of persons

The law of persons (B)

“The main distinction in the law of persons,” said the 2nd-century jurist Gaius, “is that all men are either free or slaves.” The slave was, in principle, a human chattel who could be owned and dealt with like any other piece of property. As such, he was not only at the mercy of his owner but rightless and (apart from criminal law) dutiless. Even though the slave was in law a thing, he was in fact a man, and this modified the principle. A slave could not be a party to a contract nor own property, but he could be given a de facto patrimony, which could be retained if he were freed; if he made a “commitment,” it could ultimately be enforced against his master. A manumitted slave became, in most instances, not only free but also a citizen.

The definition of citizenship was important for the purposes of private law because certain parts applied only to citizens (jus civile). Noncitizens could be either Latini, inhabitants of Roman settlements that had the rights of members of the original Latin League, or peregrini, who were members of foreign communities or of those territories governed but not absorbed by Rome. The great extension of the citizenship by the emperor Caracalla in 212 CE reduced the importance of this part of the law.



Family (B)

The chief characteristic of the Roman family was the patria potestas (paternal power in the form of absolute authority), which the elder father exercised over his children and over his more remote descendants in the male line, whatever their age might be, as well as over those who were brought into the family by adoption — a common practice at Rome. Originally this meant not only that he had control over his children, even to the right of inflicting capital punishment, but that he alone had any rights in private law. Thus, any acquisitions made by a child under potestas became the property of the father. The father might indeed allow a child (as he might a slave) certain property to treat as his own, but in the eye of the law it continued to belong to the father.

By the 1st century CE there were already modifications of the system: the father’s power of life and death had shrunk to that of light chastisement, and the son could bind his father by contract with a third party within the same strict limits that applied to slaves and their masters. Sons also could keep as their own what they earned as soldiers and even make wills of it. In Justinian’s day, the position regarding property had changed considerably. What the father gave to the son still remained, in law, the father’s property, but the rules concerning the son’s own earnings had been extended to many sorts of professional earnings; and in other acquisitions (such as property inherited from the mother), the father’s rights were reduced to a life interest (usufruct). Normally, patria potestas ceased only with the death of the father; but the father might voluntarily free the child by emancipation, and a daughter ceased to be under her father’s potestas if she came under the manus of her husband.

There were two types of marriage known to the law, one with manus and one without, but the manus type of marriage was rare even in the late republic and had disappeared long before Justinian’s day. Manus was the autocratic power of the husband over the wife, corresponding to patria potestas over the sons.

Marriage without manus was by far the more common in all properly attested periods. It was formed (provided the parties were above the age of puberty and, if under potestas, had their father’s consent) simply by beginning conjugal life with the intention of being married, normally evidenced by the bringing of the bride to the bridegroom’s house. The wife remained under her father’s potestas if he were still alive; if he were dead, she continued (as long as guardianship of women continued) to have the same guardian as before marriage. Both spouses had to be citizens, or if one was not, he or she must have conubium (the right, sometimes given to non-Romans, of contracting a Roman marriage). In marriage without manus, the property of the spouses remained distinct, and even gifts between husband and wife were invalid.

Divorce was permitted to the husband in early Rome only on specific grounds. Later, divorce was always possible at the instance of the husband in cases of marriage with manus; in marriage without manus, either party was free to put an end to the relationship. A formal letter was usually given to the spouse, but any manifestation of intention to end the relationship — made clear to the other party and accompanied by actual parting — was all that was legally necessary. The Christian emperors imposed penalties on those who divorced without good reason, including prohibitions on remarriage, but the power of the parties to end the marriage by their own act was not taken away.

Concubinage was recognized in the empire as a “marriage” without a dowry, with a lower status for the woman, and with provisions that the children were not legally the father’s heirs. A man could not have both a wife and a concubine. In the 4th century the emperor Constantine first enacted a law enabling the children of such unions to be legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their parents. Medieval civil law extended this rule to all illegitimate children.

Persons under the age of puberty (14 for males, 12 for females) needed tutores if they were not under patria potestas. Such tutors could be appointed under the will of the father or male head of the household. Failing such an appointment, the guardianship went to certain prescribed relatives; if there were no qualified relations, the magistrates appointed a tutor. Originally, children were considered adults at the age of puberty; but, after a long development, it became usual for those between the ages of puberty and 25 to have guardians who were always magisterially appointed. Originally, all women not under patria potestas or manus also needed tutores, appointed in the same way as those for children. By the early empire, this provision was little more than a burdensome technicality, and it disappeared from Justinian’s law.



Corporations (B)

The Romans did not develop a generalized concept of juristic personality in the sense of an entity that had rights and duties. They had no terms for a corporation or a legal person. But they did endow certain aggregations of persons with particular powers and capacities, and the underlying legal notion hovered between corporate powers, as understood in modern law, and powers enjoyed collectively by a group of individuals. The source of such collective powers, however, was always an act of state.

Four types of corporation were distinguished:

1. Municipia (the citizen body, originally composed of the conquered cities and later of other local communities) possessed a corporateness that was recognized in such matters as having the power to acquire things and to contract. In imperial times, they were accorded the power to manumit slaves, take legacies, and finally—though this became general only in postclassical law—to be instituted as an heir.

2. The populus Romanus, or the “people of Rome,” collectively could acquire property, make contracts, and be appointed heir. Public property included the property of the treasury.

3. Collegia — numerous private associations with specialized functions, such as craft or trade guilds, burial societies, and societies dedicated to special religious worship — seem to have carried on their affairs and to have held property corporately in republican times. The emperors, viewing the collegia with some suspicion, enacted from the beginning that no collegium could be founded without state authority and that their rights of manumitting slaves and taking legacies be closely regulated.

4. Charitable funds became a concern of postclassical law. Property might be donated or willed — normally, but not necessarily, to a church — for some charitable use, and the church would then (or so it appears from the evidence) have the duty of supervising the fund. Imperial legislation controlled the disposition of such funds so that they could not be used illegally. In such cases ownership is thought to have been temporarily vested in the administrators.


         The law of property and possession

The law of property and possession (B)

In Roman law (today as well as in Roman times), both land and movable property could be owned absolutely by individuals. This conception of absolute ownership (dominium) is characteristically Roman, as opposed to the relative idea of ownership as the better right to possession that underlies the Germanic systems and English law.

Mancipatio, or formal transfer of property, involved a ceremonial conveyance needing for its accomplishment the presence of the transferor and transferee, five witnesses (adult male Roman citizens), a pair of scales, a man to hold them, and an ingot of copper or bronze. The transferee grasped the object being transferred and said, “I assert that this thing is mine by Quiritarian [Roman] law; and let it have been bought by me with this piece of copper and these copper scales.” He then struck the scales with the ingot, which he handed to the transferor “by way of price.”

In jure cessio was a conveyance in the form of a lawsuit. The transferee claimed before the magistrate that the thing was his, and the transferor, who was the defendant, admitted the claim. The magistrate then adjudged the thing to the transferee. (The sham-lawsuit theory, however, is not acceptable to all modern scholars, principally because the judgment of ownership was valid against any possible private claimant, not merely against the defendant, as in a true lawsuit.)

Usucapio referred to ownership acquired by length of possession. In early Roman law, two years of continuous possession established title in the case of land, one year in the case of movables. In the developed law, possession must have begun justifiably in good faith, and the thing must not have been stolen (even though the possessor himself may have been innocent of the theft) or acquired by violence.

In terms of occupatio, ownerless things that were susceptible to private ownership (excluding such things as temples) became the property of the first person to take possession of them. This applied to things such as wild animals and islands arising in the sea. In some views, it also applied to abandoned articles.

Accessio worked in this manner: if an accessory thing belonging to A was joined to a principal one belonging to B, the ownership in the whole went to B. For example, if A’s purple were used to dye B’s cloth, the dyed cloth belonged wholly to B. By far the most important application of this rule asserted that whatever is built on land becomes part of the land and cannot be separately owned.

Specificatio was somewhat different. If A made a thing out of material belonging to B, one school of thought held that ownership went to A, and another held that it remained with B. Justinian adopted a “middle opinion”: B retained ownership if reconversion to the original condition was possible (a bronze vase could be melted down); A obtained ownership if it was not (wine cannot be reconverted into grapes).

According to thesauri inventio, or treasure trove, the final rule was that if something was found by a man on his own land, it went to him; if it was found on the land of another, half went to the finder, half to the landowner.

Traditio was the simple delivery of possession with the intention of passing ownership and was the method of conveyance of the jus gentium. If A sold and merely delivered a slave to B, under the jus civile, A remained the owner of the slave until a specified length of time had elapsed. The praetors, however, devised procedural methods of protecting B’s possession in such a way that A’s title became valueless, and B was said to own the thing in bonis. This was a remarkable triumph for informality in the granting of title. From the phrase in bonis, later writers coined the expression “ bonitary ownership.” Justinian abolished the theoretical distinction between civil and bonitary ownership.

The ordinary leaseholder had no protection beyond a contractual right against a landlord and could not assign tenancy. But there were certain kinds of tenure that did provide the tenant protection and that were assignable: agricultural and building leases granted for a long term or in perpetuity often enabled leaseholders to enjoy rights hardly distinguishable from ownership.

There were also servitudes, in which one person enjoyed certain rights in property owned by another. Rights of way and water rights were rustic servitudes; rights to light or to view were urban servitudes. Ususfructus was the right to use and take the fruits (such as crops) of a thing and corresponded to the modern notion of life interest. A more restricted right, likewise not extending beyond the life of the holder, usus permitted merely the use of a thing; thus, a person could live in a house but could not let it, as that would be equivalent to “taking the fruits.”

Since ownership was absolute, it was sharply distinguished from possession, which the civil law did not protect as such. Any owner wishing to interfere with an existing possessor, however, had to bring legal action to prove his title. If he interfered on his own authority, the praetor would see that the original state of affairs was restored before adjudicating the title.


         Delict and contract

Delict and contract (B)

Obligations were classified by classical jurists into two main categories, according to whether they arose from delict or contract. Justinian’s law recognized two further classes of obligation, termed quasi-delict and quasi-contract.

As early as the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, Roman law was experiencing a transition from a system of private vengeance to one in which the state insisted that the person wronged accept compensation instead of vengeance. Thus, in the case of assault (injuria), if one man broke another’s limb, talio was still permitted (that is, the person wronged could inflict the same injury as he had received); but in other cases, fixed monetary penalties were set. Theft involved a penalty of twice the value of the thing stolen, unless the thief was caught in the act, in which case he was flogged and “adjudged” to the person wronged.

By the early empire, reforms had substituted a fourfold penalty in the case of a thief who was caught in the act, and the court assessed all penalties for injuria (which by then included defamation and insulting behaviour). The law of damage to property was regulated by statute (the Lex Aquilia), which in turn was much extended by interpretation. Additionally, there were situations in which a person could be held liable for damages even though he was not personally responsible. In Justinian’s Institutes only four delicts were dealt with: theft, robbery with violence, damage to property, and verbal or physical assault.

In the early republic, a law of contract hardly existed. There was, however, an institution called nexum, of which little can be said with certainty except that it was a kind of loan so oppressive in character that it could result in the debtor’s complete subjection to the creditor. It was obsolete long before imperial times. The contracts of classical law were divided into four classes: literal, verbal, real, and consensual. The literal contract was a type of fictitious loan formed by an entry in the creditor’s account book; it was comparatively unimportant and was obsolete by Justinian’s day. The verbal contract required set words or patterns of words to be spoken. The stipulatio was the most important form of verbal contract, for it established a form in which any agreement (provided it was lawful and possible) could be made binding by the simple method of reducing it to question and answer: “Do you promise to pay me 10,000 sesterces?” “I promise.” Originally it was absolutely necessary that the words be spoken, but by Justinian’s day a written memorandum of such a contract would be binding, even though, in fact, nothing at all had been spoken.

If an agreement was not clothed in the form of a stipulation, it must, to be valid, fall under one of the types of real or consensual contracts. A real contract was one requiring that something should be transferred from one party to the other and that the obligation arising should be for the return of that thing. Real contracts included loans of money, loans of goods, deposits, and pledges. Consensual contracts needed nothing except verbal or written agreement between the parties, and though there were only four such contracts known to the law, they were the most important in ordinary life—sale, hire of things or services, partnership, and mandate (acting upon instructions). In Justinian’s day there was a further principle that in any case of reciprocal agreement, such as an agreement for exchange (but not sale), if one party had performed, he could bring an action to enforce performance by the other. In addition to the foregoing contracts, a few other specific agreements were recognized as enforceable, but the general recognition of all serious agreements as binding was never achieved by the Romans.

Quasi-delict covered four types of harm, grouped together by no clearly ascertainable principle. They included the action against an occupier for harm done by things thrown or poured from his house into a public place and the action against a shipowner, innkeeper, or stablekeeper for loss caused to customers on the premises through theft or damage by persons in his service.

Quasi-contract embraced obligations that had no common feature save that they did not properly fall under contract, because there was no agreement, or under delict, because there was no wrongful act. The most noticeable examples were, first, negotiorum gestio, which enabled one who intervened without authority in another’s affairs for the latter’s benefit to claim reimbursement and indemnity, and second, the group of cases in which an action ( condictio) was allowed for the recovery by A from B of what would otherwise be an unjustified enrichment of B at A’s expense, such as when A had mistakenly paid B something that was not due (condictio indebiti). This notion of unjust enrichment as a source of legal obligation was one of the most pregnant contributions made by Roman law to legal thought.


         The law of succession

The law of succession (B)

The law of succession is one of the most complex areas of Roman law. Any Roman citizen who was of age could make a will, but several very formal requirements had to be met for the will to be valid. The first requirement was the appointment of one or more heirs. An heir, in the Roman sense of the term, was a universal successor; that is, he took over the rights and duties of the deceased (insofar as they were transmissible at all) as a whole. On acceptance, the heir became owner if the deceased was owner, creditor if he was creditor, and debtor if he was debtor, even though the assets were insufficient to pay the debts. It was thus possible for an inheritance to involve the heir in a loss. Until Justinian’s day this consequence could be avoided only by not accepting the inheritance, though certain categories of heirs could not refuse. Justinian made one of his most famous reforms by providing that an heir who made an inventory of the deceased’s assets need not pay out more than he had received. Freedom of testation, furthermore, was not complete: a man was obliged to leave a certain proportion of his property to his children and in some cases to ascendants and brothers and sisters.

With regard to intestate succession, or succession without a will, those first entitled in early times were the deceased’s own heirs — that is, those who were in his potestas or manus when he died and who were freed from that power at his death. Failing these heirs, the nearest agnatic relations (relations in the male line of descent) succeeded, and, if there were no agnates, the members of the gens, or clan, of the deceased succeeded. Later reforms placed children emancipated from potestas on an equal basis with those under potestas and gradually gave the surviving spouse (in marriage without manus) greater rights of succession. By Justinian’s day the system had evolved as follows: descendants had the first claim, and failing these heirs, came a composite class consisting of ascendants, brothers and sisters of full blood, and children of deceased brothers and sisters. Next came brothers and sisters of the half blood and, finally, the nearest cognates (relations in the female line). Husband and wife were not mentioned, but their old rights were kept alive in the absence of any of the preceding categories. Justinian also gave a “poor” widow a right to one-quarter of her husband’s estate unless there were more than three children, in which case she shared equally with them. If, however, the heirs were her own children by the deceased, she received only a ususfructus (life interest) in what she took.


         The law of procedure

The law of procedure (B)

The earliest law suits(legis actiones) were conducted orally in two stages: a preliminary one before the jurisdictional magistrate, in which the issue was developed; and then the actual presentation of evidence to the judex, or judge. The first stage required that set forms of words be spoken by the parties and, sometimes, by the magistrate. The parties making an assertion of ownership, for instance, would grasp the thing in dispute and lay a wand on it, after which the magistrate would intervene and say, “Let go, both of you.” So formal was the procedure that a plaintiff who made the slightest mistake lost his case. For the second stage, before the judex, there were no formal rules. However, the plaintiff had the burden of proof, was responsible for physically producing the defendant in court and, often, for carrying out the sentence.

Under new procedures developed in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE, the issue at the magisterial stage was formulated in written instructions to the judex, couched in the form of an alternative: “If it appears that the defendant owes the plaintiff 10,000 sesterces, the judex is to condemn the defendant to pay the plaintiff 10,000 sesterces; if it does not so appear, he is to absolve him.” A draft of these written instructions was probably prepared for the plaintiff before he came into court, but there could be no trial until it was accepted by the defendant, for there was always a contractual element about a lawsuit under both the new and the old systems. Pressure, however, could be exercised by the magistrate on a defendant who refused to accept instructions that the magistrate had approved, just as a plaintiff could be forced to alter instructions that the magistrate had disapproved, by the magistrate’s refusal to otherwise give the order to the judex to decide the case.

In late republican times, still another system developed, first in the provinces, then in Rome. Under the new system the magistrate used his administrative powers, which were always considerable, for the purpose of settling disputes. He could command: thus if one person brought a complaint against another before him, he could investigate the matter and give the order he thought fit. As imperially appointed officers superseded republican magistrates, this administrative process became more common. The result was that the old contractual element in procedure disappeared as did the old two-stage division. Justice was now imposed from above by the state — not, as originally, left to a kind of voluntary arbitration supervised by the state.



📙 LAWS OF THE KINGS (753-509? BC)

Kralların Yasaları (İÖ 753-509) (L)

Kralların Yasaları (LINK)
Kralların Yasaları (İÖ 753-509)


(753-509? BC)

Numa Pompilius

(Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 3-6, n. 1

The history of early Rome and its seven kings is largely legendary, but the Romans of classical times had certain customs and institutions inherited from their remote past. To provide a sanction for these, they ascribed them to their traditional kings – Romulus and his six successors. It was believed that a certain Sextus ( or Publius ) Papirius, a contemporary of Tarquin the Proud, the last king, had committed these laws to writing. Papirius is entitled to the same uncertain standing in scientific history as the traditional seven kings ; but there is no question that oral tradition preserved many rules and customs, which antiquarians and historians have recorded for posterity.
Bruns, Girard, and Riccobono have made collections of these laws, of which Girard's Textes is the smallest. Riccobono's text, as found in FIRA, has been taken for this translation, which reproduces its marks of omission.

I.– ROMULUS ( 753-716 )

1.– After Romulus had distinguished the persons of higher rank from those of inferior condition, then he passed laws and apportioned the duties for each to do : the patricians to be priests and magistrates and judges ; the plebeians to be farmers ... cattle breeders, and artisans of gainful trades. ... He entrusted and gave the plebeians to the patricians by permitting each plebeian ... to choose for his patron the patrician whom he wished ... and by calling this protection patronage.

2.– The following regulations in regard to patronage were determined then by him : the patricians were required to interpret the law for their own clients ; ... to bring suit on behalf of clients when wronged ; ... and to support them in the action ; ... the clients were required to contribute to the dowry of their patrons' daughters, when they were given in marriage and their parents were impoverished ; ... to pay ransom to the enemy, if their patrons or their children became prisoners of war ; to discharge the obligation from their own resources, if their patron was condemned in a private suit or incurred a monetary penalty in a public suit. ... In common to both it was neither holy nor lawful to bring suit, to testify, or to cast a vote the one against the other. ... He who was convicted of doing any of these things was held by the law of treason, which Romulus enacted, so that it was lawful for anyone to slay the person convicted of this crime, as a sacrifice to the god of the underworld.

3.– After Romulus had regulated these matters, he immediately resolved to appoint senators, with whom he would administer public affairs, and he chose 100 men from the patricians. ... When he had determined these regulations, he distinguished the ... powers which he wished each class to have. For the king he chose the following prerogatives : first, to have the chief authority in rites and sacrifices, ... then, to maintain the guardianship of the laws and the national customs, ... to judge in person the greatest crimes, but to leave the lesser crimes to the senators, ... to summon the Senate and to convoke the Assembly, ... to have absolute command in war. To the council of the Senate ... he assigned the following authority : to decide and to vote on whatever matter the king introduced. ... To the common people he granted these three things : to elect the magistrates and to ratify the laws and to decide on war whenever the king permitted ... The people did not vote all together, but they were convoked by curias.

4.– Romulus compelled the citizens ... to rear every male child and the first-born of the females, and be forbade them to put to death any child under three years of are, unless it was a cripple or a monster from birth. He did not prevent the parents from exposing such children, provided that they had displayed them first to their five nearest neighbors and had secured their approval. For those who disobeyed the law he prescribed the confiscation of half of their property as well as other penalties.

5.– To many persons he assigned administration of divine worship ; ... he ordained by law that from each curia two men over fifty years old should be appointed ; ... and he ordered that these men should have these honors no for any determined period, but for all their life, freed from military service because of their age and from municipal duties because of the law. ... He ordained by law that all priests ... should be appointed by the curias and that they should be confirmed by the persons who interpret divine matters by divination.

6.– By the enactment of a single ... law ... Romulus brought the women to great prudence and orderly conduct. ... The law was as follows : A woman united with her husband by a sacred marriage shall share in all his possessions and in his sacred rites.

7.– The cognates sitting in judgment with the husband ... were given power to pass sentence in cases of adultery and ... if any wife was found drinking wine Romulus allowed the death penalty for both crimes.

8.– The lawgiver of the Romans gave the father absolute ... power over his son throughout his whole lifetime, whether for imprisonment, for flogging, for keeping in bonds for labor in the fields, or for putting to death ... He also allowed the father to sell his son ... and he permitted the father to make profit from his son until the third sale. ... After the third sale the son was released from the father's power.

9.– He also made certain laws, one of which is severe, namely, that which does not permit a wife to divorce her husband, but gives him power to divorce her for the used drugs or magic on account of children or for counterfeiting the keys or for adultery. The law ordered that if he should divorce her for any other cause part of his estate should go to the wife and that part should be dedicated to Ceres. Anyone who sold his wife was sacrificed to the gods of the underworld.

10.– It is strange, ... when he established no penalty against patricides, that he called all homicide patricide.

11.– If a daughter-in-law strikes her father-in-law she shall be dedicated as a sacrifice to his ancestral deities.

12.– This extent of the year was ordained by Romulus, who ... determined that the year must be of ten months, but of 304 days, and so arranged the months that, of these, four should have thirty-one days, but six should have thirty days.

13. – It is reported variously when ... was the first intercalation. Licinius Macer, indeed, assigns to Romulus the origin of this practice.

II.– NUMA POMPILIUS ( 716-673 )

1.– Numa ordered that fish which have no scales, except the scar, should not be offered to the gods.

2.– When spoils of the first class are captured by a general with a citizen army under his auspices, he shall sacrifice an ox to Jupiter Feretrius. To the captor 300 pounds of bronze shall properly be given. In spoils of the second dais the captor shall sacrifice a boar, a ram, and an ox. full grown or sucklings, as he chooses, on the Altar of Mars in the Campus Martius. The captor shall receive 200 pounds of bronze. For spoils of the third class he shall sacrifice a ram to Janus Quirinus. The captor shall receive 100 pounds of bronze. The commanding general shall make propitiatory sacrifice to the gods.

3.– From Numa's ... laws, in which this also has been written : if a father allows his son to marry a wife who legally will have a share in his religious rites and his prophet the father no longer shall have the right to sell his son.

4.– Having embraced ... all his legislation about religious matters in writing, he divided it into eight parts, as many as were the classes of priests.

5.– Legislation about the boundaries of landed property : Having ordered each one to draw a line around his own landed property and to set stones on the boundaries, he consecrated the stones to Jupiter Terminus. ... But he ordained by law that if anyone destroyed or displaced the boundaries the person who had done this should be dedicated as a sacrifice to the god.

6.– He made holidays and business days, because at some time or other it would be profitable that nothing should be discussed in the popular Assembly.

7.– One shall not sprinkle the funeral pyre with wine.

8.– He ordained it an act of impiety to make libations to the gods with wine from unpruned vines.

9.– On the vestal virgins he conferred high honors, among which was the right of making a will while their fathers lived and of doing all other juristic acts without a guardian. ...

10.– He determined that the time allotted for mourning should be according to certain ages and times. For example, mourning for a child under three years of age was forbidden ; for an older child a month of morning was allowed for every year of his age until ten years, but no longer, for ten months was the limit of the period of longest mourning for anyone. And for this period the widows of the deceased remain unmarried. If a widow had remarried earlier, she sacrificed a cow in calf according to his law.

11.– Of his other political institutions, the distribution of the populace according to crafts is particularly admired ... This was the distribution according to crafts : flutists, goldsmiths, carpenters, dyers, cobblers, leatherworkers, coppersmiths, potters. The remaining crafts he combined in one and from all these he produced one composite group, assigning associations and assemblies and religious worships appropriate to each class, etc.

12.– A royal law forbids the burial of a pregnant woman before the child is extracted from the womb. Whoever violates this law is deemed to have destroyed the child's expectancy of life along with the mother.

13.– A concubine shall not touch the Altar of Juno. If she touches it she shall sacrifice, with her hair unbound, a ewe lamb to Juno.

14.– If a thunderbolt kills a man one shall not lift the body above the knees. If a man is killed by a thunderbolt the proper burial ritual shall not be performed.

15.– If anyone acts contrary to this law he shall be dedicated as a sacrifice to Jupiter.

16.– If anyone with malice aforethought slays a free man he shall be guilty of parricide.

17.– In Numa's laws it is provided that if anyone kills another accidentally he shall offer a ram for the life of the slain man to his agnates in the presence of the assembled people.

18.– Numa added fifty days, so that the year was extended to 354 days, within which he believed that the moon's twelve courses were completed. And to these fifty added by him he annexed six others, drawn from those six months that had thirty days, ... and the fifty-six days thus created he divided in an equal way into two new months : and ... the former he named January and willed it to be the first of the year, ... the latter he dedicated to the god Februus. ... A little later Numa added a day, which he gave to January ... in honor of an unequal number. ... Therefore, January, April, June, Sextilis, September, November, December were reckoned with twenty-nine days ; ... but March, May, Quintilis, and October had thirty days each, but February retained twenty-eight days.

19.– This also was established by Numa : that priests should have their hair cut with bronze, but not with iron, shears.

20.– Numa Pompilius ordained that if anyone plowed up a boundary stone both he and his oxen should be dedicated as a sacrifice to the gods.


1.– He established the law by which wars should be declared. And this law ... he consecrated by fetial religious rite, so that every war which had not been announced and dedared should be adjudged unjust and impious.

2.– There is a law, ... which is still in effect, enacted because of that event, ... ordering that if triplets are born they shall be maintained at public expense until puberty.

3.– For his comrades and the accomplices of his treachery the king established courts and executed those of them convicted according to the law concerning deserters and traitors.

4.– The king ... said : "According to the law I create duumvirs to judge treason in the case of Horatius." The law was in a dreadful formula : "The duumvirs shall judge treason. If the accused appeals from the duumvirs he shall prosecute his case by appeal ; if they win, the lictor shall veil the head of the accused, shall hang him by a rope on a barren tree, shall scourge him either within the pomerium or outside the pomerium."

5.– Claudius added that the rites and the expiations in accordance with the laws of King Tullus ... should be administered by the pontiffs.

IV.– ANCUS MARCIUS ( 640-616 )

1.– Since Numa had instituted religious rites in peace, that religious ceremonies relating to war might be established by him and that wars not only should be waged, but also should be declared by some ritual, he copied from the ancient tribe of the Aequiculi the law, which now the fetials have, by which satisfaction is sought.


1.– Tarquin, ... when he enacted a law about his own power, first doubled ... the original number of senators, and called the old senators "of the greater families," and these he asked their opinion first, and called those added by him "of the lesser families."

2.– The envoys ... were present ... bringing ... the symbols of sovereignty, with which they used to decorate their own kings, carrying a gold crown and an ivory throne and a scepter having an eagle on the tip and a purple tunic rnarked with gold and an embroidered purple robe. ... These honors Tarquin did not use immediately on receiving them, as most of the Roman writers relate, but, after allowing to the Senate and to the people the decision whether these things should be accepted, he then adopted them when all had so wished.

VI.– SERVIUS TULLIUS ( 578-534 )

1.– He sanctioned laws by the curias on contracts and on delicts these laws were about fifty in number.

2.– For a person who had not registered himself he set the penalty that he should be deprived of his property and, after having been scourged, should be sold into slavery.

3.– Tullius permitted ... freed slaves to share equality of civil rights. For, having ordered them along with all other freemen to register their properties, he distributed them among the four tribes in the city. ... And he allowed them to share all the privileges common to the other plebeians.

4.– He separated public from private lawsuits and himself ma the examinations of the crimes relating to the public, but appointed private persons to be judges of private lawsuits and for them ordained norms and rules, which he himself had written as laws.

5.– He instituted ... the census ... and distinguished classes and centuries ... and rank in accordance with the census.

6.– If a son beats his father but the latter cries aloud the son shall be dedicated as a sacrifice to his ancestral deities.


1.– He abolished all ... the laws written by Tullius, according to which ... the people were not injured, as previously, by the patricians in their contracts. He did not leave even the tablets on which these laws had been written, but he also ordered them to be removed from the Forum and he destroyed them.


This very ancient inscription found in the Roman Forum near the reputed grave of Romulus is in a poor state of preservation. Written in archaic letters and still unintelligible, it may be a boundary stone marking the limits of some sacred precinct or it may contain some laws of a very early period.



📙 📹 The Law of the Twelve Tables

The Law of the Twelve Tables (W) (L2)

The Law of the Twelve Tables (Latin: Leges Duodecim Tabularum or Duodecim Tabulae) was the legislation that stood at the foundation of Roman law. The Tables consolidated earlier traditions into an enduring set of laws.

Roman civilians examining the Twelve Tables after they were first implemented.

Displayed in the Forum, "The Twelve Tables" stated the rights and duties of the Roman citizen. Their formulation was the result of considerable agitation by the plebeian class, who had hitherto been excluded from the higher benefits of the Republic. The law had previously been unwritten and exclusively interpreted by upper-class priests, the pontifices. Something of the regard with which later Romans came to view the Twelve Tables is captured in the remark of Cicero (106–43 BC) that the "Twelve Tables ... seems to me, assuredly to surpass the libraries of all the philosophers, both in weight of authority, and in plenitude of utility". Cicero scarcely exaggerated; the Twelve Tables formed the basis of Roman law for a thousand years.

The Twelve Tables are sufficiently comprehensive that their substance has been described as a 'code', although modern scholars consider this characterization exaggerated. The Tables were a sequence of definitions of various private rights and procedures. They generally took for granted such things as the institutions of the family and various rituals for formal transactions. The provisions were often highly specific and diverse.

The Law of the Twelve Tables (LINK)
Laws of the Twelve Tables

Table 1 Procedure: for courts and trials
Table 2 Trials continued & Theft
Table 3 Debt
Table 4 Rights of fathers (pater familias) over the family
Table 5 Legal guardianship and inheritance laws
Table 6 Acquisition and possession
Table 7 Land rights & crimes
Table 8 Torts and delicts (Laws of injury)
Table 9 Public law
Table 10 Sacred law
Table 11 Supplement I
Table 12 Supplement II

Table III: Debt

The laws the Twelve Tables covered were a way to publicly display rights that each citizen had in the public and private sphere. These Twelve Tables displayed what was previously understood in Roman society as the unwritten laws. The public display of the copper tablets allowed for a more balanced society between the Roman patricians who were educated and understood the laws of legal transactions, and the Roman plebeians who had little education or experience in understanding law. By revealing the unwritten rules of society to the public, the Twelve Tables provided a means of safeguard for Plebeians allowing them the opportunity to avoid financial exploitation and added balance to the Roman economy.

Featured within the Twelve Tables are five rules about how to handle debtors and creditors. These rules show how the ancient Romans maintained peace with financial policy. In his article Development of the Roman Law of Debt Security, Donald E. Phillipson states the Twelve Tables were, “A set of statutes known as the Twelve Tables that was passed by an early assembly served as the foundation of the Roman private law. The Twelve Tables were enacted in the mid-fifth century B.C. as the result of a conflict among social classes in ancient Rome.” (pp. 1231–1232). Phillipson also describes the leniency of the relationship between debtor and creditor on how it was changed and arranged in the 5th century BC and how Roman law surrounding it was tweaked within the Twelve Tables that initially drew out the legal boundaries surrounding debt. Specially discussing the influence of creditors rights, Phillipson states, “In the fifth century B.C. only movables were pledged under pignus, although any res in which bonitary ownership was held was capable of being pledged. However, by the late Republic, land and buildings were increasingly pledged in pignus arrangements. This increased usage paralleled the expansion of creditors' rights with respect to the pledged property. The right of possession and seizure (jus possidendi) and the right of foreclosure and sale (jus distrahendi) were probably the most important of the developing creditors' rights. These increased creditors' rights also encouraged and contributed to the expansion of the types of res in which bonitary ownership, and thus pignus arrangements, were possible. For example, the use of pignus expanded to include usufructs, rustic servitudes, rights of way, and even pledges themselves by the second century A.D.” (p. 1239).

In the book, The Twelve Tables, written by an anonymous source due to its origins being collaborated through a series of translations of tablets and ancient references, P.R. Coleman-Norton arranged and translated many of the significant features of debt that the Twelve Tables enacted into law during the 5th century. The translation of the legal features surrounding debt and derived from the known sources of the Twelve Tables are stated as such

“1. Of debt acknowledged and for matters judged in court (in iure) thirty days shall be allowed by law [for payment or for satisfaction].

2. After that [elapse of thirty days without payment] hand shall be laid on (manus iniectio) [the debtor]. He shall be brought into court (in ius).

3. Unless he (the debtor) discharge the debt or unless some one appear in court (in iure) to guarantee payment for him, he (the creditor) shall take [the debtor] with him. He shall bind [him] either with thong or with fetters, of which the weight shall be not less than fifteen pounds or shall be more, if he (the creditor) choose.

4. If he (the debtor) choose, he shall live on his own [means]. If he live not on his own [means], [the creditor,] who shall hold him in bonds, shall give [him] a pound of bread daily; if he (the creditor) shall so desire, he shall give [him] more.

5. Unless they (the debtors) make a compromise, they (the debtors) shall be held in bonds for sixty days. During those days they shall be brought to [the magistrate] into the comitium (meeting-place) on three successive market[…]”

The five mandates of the Twelve Tables encompassing debt created a new understanding within social classes in ancient Rome that insured financial exploitation would be limited within legal business transactions.

Women: Tables V, VI & X

The Twelve Tables have three sections that pertain to women as they concern estates and guardianship, ownership and possession, and religion, which give a basic understanding as to the legal rights of females.

  • Table V (Estates and Guardianship): “Female heirs should remain under guardianship even when they have attained the age of majority, but exception is made for the Vestal Virgins.”
  • Table VI (Ownership and Possession): “Where a woman, who has not been united to a man in marriage, lives with him for an entire year without an interruption of three nights, she shall pass into his power as his legal wife.”
  • Table X (Religion): “Women shall not during a funeral lacerate their faces, or tear their cheeks with their nails; nor shall they utter loud cries bewailing the dead.”

One of the aspects highlighted in the Twelve Tables is a woman's legal status and standing in society. Women were considered to be a form of guardianship similar to that of minors, and sections on ownership and possession give off the impression that women were considered to be akin to a piece of real estate or property due to the use of terms such as "ownership" and "possession".

The Supplements: Tables XI & XII

  • Table XI (Marriage Between Classes): A person of a certain class shall not partake in marriage with a person of a lower class.
  • Table XII (Binding into Law): Whatever one or more persons have ordered into law, shall be held by the law.



📹 The Twelve Tables — Roman Empire Ancient History Podcast (VİDEO)

📹 The Twelve Tables — Roman Empire Ancient History Podcast (LINK)

The History of Rome - The Twelve Tables | Roman Empire Ancient History Podcast

In 451 BC a committee was ordered to compile and then condense Roman law into a single text called the Twelve Tables of Law. Despite tyrannical machinations by the committee, the Twelve Tables secured an objective rule of law for all Roman citizens regardless of wealth or class.







The Emperor Justinian to the Senate of the City of Constantinople. Those things which seem to many former Emperors to require correction, but which none of them ventured to carry into effect, We have decided to accomplish at the present time with the assistance of Almighty God; and to diminish litigation by the revision of the multitude of constitutions which are contained in the Three Codes; namely, the Gregorian, the Hermogenian, and the Theodosian, as well as in those other Codes promulgated after them by Theodosius of Divine Memory, and by other Emperors, who succeeded him, in addition to those which We Ourselves have promulgated, and to combine them in a single Code, under Our auspicious name, in which compilation should be included not only the constitutions of the three above-mentioned Codes, but also such new ones as subsequently have been promulgated.

(1) Therefore, having in view the accomplishment of this extensive work, as well as the maintenance of the public welfare, We have chosen, as being competent for a task involving such labor and care, John, a most eminent man, Ex-Quęstor of our Sacred Palace, and of consular, as well as patrician dignity; Leontius, a man of the highest standing, an officer in the army, an Ex-Prętorian Prefect, of consular and patrician dignity; Phocas, a most illustrious man, an officer of the army, also of consular and patrician dignity; Basilis, a most excellent man, Ex-Prętorian Prefect of the East, and of patrician rank; Thomas, a most glorious man, Quęstor of our Sacred Palace, and Ex-Consul; Tribonian, a distinguished man of great authority, and invested with magisterial dignity; Constantine, an illustrious man, one of the Stewards of Our bounty, Master of Requests, and of Our Judicial Inquiries; Theophilus, a most eminent man, and one of the members of our Sacred Consistory, a Doctor of Laws in this Fair City; and Dioscorous and Pręsentinus, most learned jurists of the Prętorian Tribunal.

(2) To these We have especially entrusted the suppression of superfluous preambles, so far as this can be done without affecting the efficacy of the laws, as well as of such enactments as are similar or contradictory, and, in addition to this, the division of the laws; and it will be to the advantage to omit such as have fallen into desuetude, to give expression in concise terms to those which are included in the said three Codes, and in the New Constitutions, and to place them under suitable titles, adding and omitting portions of the same, and, indeed, changing their phraseology where convenience requires it.

bringing under one head enactments which are scattered through various constitutions, and rendering their meaning clearer; so that the order of the said constitutions may appear not only from the days and the consulate when they were enacted, but also from their composition itself, by placing those primarily published in the first place, and those which follow in the second. And if any laws should be found in the three ancient codes without the date and the name of the consul, or if any new constitutions have been inserted among them, they should be so arranged that no doubt may arise with reference to their general application, in such a way that rescripts addressed to certain individuals, or originally issued by pragmatic sanction, may obtain the effect of general constitutions, where, for the public welfare, they have been included in a new code.

(3) Hence We have hastened to bring these matters to your notice, in order that you may be informed to what an extent Our daily care is occupied with matters having reference to the common welfare, by collecting such laws as are certain and clear, and incorporating them into a single code, so that, by means of this code, designated by Our auspicious name, the citation of the various constitutions may cause decisions to be more readily rendered in all litigation.

Given at Constantinople, on the Ides of February, during the reign and second Consulship of the Emperor Justinian.



The maintenance of the integrity of the government depends upon two things, namely, the force of arms and the observance of the laws: and, for this reason, the fortunate race of the Romans obtained power and precedence over all other nations in former times, and will do so forever, if God should be propitious; since each of these has ever required the aid of the other, for, as military affairs are rendered secure by the laws, so also are the laws preserved by force of arms. Therefore, We have, with reason, directed Our attention, Our aims, and Our labors, in the first place, to the maintenance of the public welfare, and have corrected matters relating to the army in many ways, and thus provided for everything; as We have by means of old laws not only brought matters into a better condition, but We also have promulgated new laws, and by Our just administration, or with additional expense, We have preserved those already enacted, and afterwards by publishing new ones, have established them most firmly for the obedience of Our subjects.

(1) But as it was necessary to reduce the vast number of the constitutions contained in the three old codes, as well in the others compiled in former times, and to clear up their obscurity by means of proper definitions, We have applied Ourselves with willing mind to the accomplishment of this work for the common good; and, after having

selected men conspicuous for their legal learning and ability, as well as for their experience in business, and tireless zeal for the interests of the State, We have committed this great task to them under certain limitations, and have directed them to collect into a single code, to be designated by Our auspicious name, the constitutions of the three ancient codes, namely the Gregorian, Hermogenian, and Theodosian compilations, as well as all those subsequently promulgated by Theodosius of Divine Memory, and the other princes who have succeeded him; together with such constitutions as have been issued during Our reign; and to see that any preambles which are not confirmed by subsequent decrees, and any constitutions which are contradictory, or should be suppressed, as well as such as have been repealed by others of later date, or which are of the same character — except those which, by conferring upon them Our sanction to a certain extent, We have considered to be susceptible of division, and by such division of these ancient laws some new principle may appear to arise.

In addition to all this, many other matters relative to the composition of this Code have been placed by Our authority in the hands of these most wise men; and Almighty God has afforded this protection through Our zeal for the welfare of the State.

(2) The following persons have been chosen for this work, and the completion of a task of such importance, namely: that most excellent man, John, Ex-Quęstor of Our Palace, and of consular and patrician dignity; as well as that most eminent man, Leontius, Ex-Prętorian Prefect, of consular and patrician dignity; and also the most distinguished Phocas, officer of the army, also of consular and patrician dignity; and that most accomplished man of patrician dignity, Basilis, Ex-Prętorian Prefect of the East, now Prętorian Prefect of Illyria; also, the most illustrious Thomas, Quęstor of our Sacred Palace and Ex-Consul; and the eminent Tribonian, of exalted magisterial dignity; the distinguished Constantine, Steward of Our Imperial Largesses, Master of Requests, and of Judicial Inquiries; Theophilus, former magistrate and Doctor of Laws in this Fair City; as well as those most learned jurists, Dioscorus and Pręsentinus, members of your bar; and all that We have directed them to do, they with God's assistance have, through assiduous and untiring industry, brought to a successful conclusion, and offered to Us this new, systematically arranged Justinian Code, compiled in such a manner as to contribute to the common benefit, and meet the requirements of Our Empire.

(3) Therefore We have had in view the perpetual validity of this Code in your tribunal, in order that all litigants, as well as the most accomplished advocates, may know that it is lawful for them, under no circumstances, to cite constitutions from the three ancient codes, of which mention has just been made, or from those which at the present time are styled the New Constitutions, in any judicial inquiry or contest; but that they are required to use only the constitutions which are included in this Our Code, and that those who venture to act otherwise will be liable to the crime of forgery; as the citation

of the said constitutions of Our Code, with the opinions of the ancient interpreters of the law, will be sufficient for the disposal of all cases. No doubt as to their validity should arise where any of them appears without a date and without the name of the consul, or because they may have been addressed to certain private individuals; as there can be no question whatever that all have the force of general constitutions; and even if there should be some of them from which anything has been taken, or to which anything has been added, or which have been changed in certain respects (which We have specially permitted the most excellent men aforesaid to do), We grant to no one the right to cite the said constitutions, as they are stated in the books of the ancient authorities, but merely to mention the opinions of the latter, as being of legal effect when they are not opposed to the constitutions of this Our Code.

(4) Moreover, the pragmatic sanctions that are not included in Our Code, and which have been granted to cities, corporate bodies, bureaus, offices, or private individuals, shall remain in every respect valid, if they concede any privilege as a special favor; but where they have been promulgated for the settlement of some legal point We direct that they shall only hold when not opposed to the provisions of Our Code. But in any matter which comes before your tribunal, or in any other civil or military proceeding, or in one which has reference to accounts forming part of the public expenses, or in such as have any relation to the public welfare, We decree that they shall remain valid as far as public convenience may require this to be done.

(5) Therefore let your illustrious and sublime authority, actuated by a desire for the common good, and with zeal for the execution of Our orders, cause information of this Code to be communicated to all peoples, by the promulgation of an edict in the customary way, and by sending into each province, subject to Our Empire, a copy bearing Our signature, so that in this manner the constitutions of this Our Code may be brought to the knowledge of all persons; and that during festival days, that is to say, from the sixteenth day of the Kalends of May of the seventh current indiction, and during the consulate of that most illustrious man Decius, citations of the constitutions shall be made from this Our Code.

Given at Constantinople, on the sixth of the Ides of April, during the Consulate of the illustrious Decius.




Our heart, Conscript Fathers, always induces Us to pay the strictest attention to matters concerning the public welfare, so that nothing which has been begun by Us may be left imperfect. Therefore, in the beginning of Our reign, we formed the design of collecting in a single

body the Imperial Constitutions which were scattered through several volumes, and the most of which were either repetitions or conflicting, and free them from every defect. This work has now been perfected by certain most distinguished and learned men, and has been subsequently confirmed by Us, as is shown by Our two Constitutions prefixed hereto.

(1) But after We decreed that the ancient law should be observed, We rendered fifty decisions, and promulgated several constitutions relative to the advantages to be derived from the proposed work, by means of which the majority of the former enactments were amended and abridged; and We divested all the ancient law of superfluous prolixity, and then inserted the same in Our Institutes and Digest.

(2) But, as Our new decisions and constitutions, which were promulgated after the completion of Our Code, were distinct from the body of the same, and seemed to demand our care and attention, and as some of them, which were afterwards inserted, appeared to require alteration or correction, it seemed to Us necessary to have the said constitutions revised by that eminent man Tribonian, Ex-Quęstor and Ex-Consul, the authorized minister of our work; and also by the illustrious Dorotheus, Quęstor and Doctor of Laws of Berytus; and, in addition to these Menna, Constantine, and John, most eloquent men, and distinguished advocates of the bar of this City, who were ordered to divide said constitutions into separate chapters for the purpose of rendering them more available; to place them under proper titles; and to add them to those constitutions which had preceded them.

(3) We permitted the aforesaid distinguished and most learned jurists to do all these things, and when there was need of any correction, allowed them to make it without hesitation, relying upon Our authority; and where any of the constitutions were superfluous, or had been annulled by any of Our subsequent decrees; or where they were found to be similar or conflicting, to remove and separate them from the compilation of the Code itself; as well as to complete such as were imperfect, and to bring to light those that were shrouded in obscurity, so that not only the way of the Institutes and the Digest might appear clear and open, but also that the splendor of the Constitutions of Our Code might be manifest to all, and no constitution which resembled another, or was contradictory or useless, should be retained, and no one should have any doubt that what was confirmed by the revision was both valid and sufficiently perspicuous. For, in the ancient Books, the authorities of former times not only called the first, but also the second editions, revisions; which can be readily ascertained from the works of that eminent jurist Ulpianus, on Sabinus, by those who desire to know.

(4) These things having been accomplished according to Our intention, and the Justinian Code having been purified and elucidated by the aforesaid most illustrious and learned men (all of this having been done in compliance with Our order, and the work offered to Us with its amplifications, and changes), We ordered that it should be copied in accordance with the second edition, and not in accordance

with the first, but as it was revised; and, by Our authority, We directed that it alone should be used in all tribunals, whenever the Divine Constitutions were applicable, from the fourth day of the Kalends of January of the most auspicious Consulate of Ourself and that illustrious man Paulinus; and that no constitution not contained in this Our Code should be cited, unless in the course of events some new question may arise which requires Our decision. For, if something better should be found hereafter, and it becomes necessary to revise a constitution, no one will doubt that We should do so, and incorporate into another compilation those laws which are designated by the name New Constitutions.

(5) Therefore, having repeated Our order that We shall permit none hereafter to quote anything from Our decisions, or from other constitutions, which We have previously promulgated, or from the first edition of the Justinian Code; but that only what may be found written in this Our present purified and amended Code shall be regarded as authority, and cited in all tribunals, We have ordered it to be transcribed without any ambiguity, as was done in the case of Our Institutes and Digest, so that everything which has been compiled by Us shall be clear and intelligible, not only in the chirography, but also in the laws themselves, although on this account the matter contained in this Code has been considerably extended.

(6) Therefore, Most Reverend and Illustrious Fathers, in order that Our labors may become manifest to you and obtain authority through all time, We have presented this collection of laws to your most distinguished Order.

Given at Constantinople, on the seventeenth day of the Kalends of December, during the Consulate of Our Lord Justinian, for the fourth time Consul, and of Paulus.

Translated from the original Latin, edited, and compared with all accessible systems of jurisprudence ancient and modern.





1. The Emperors Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius to the people of the City of Constantinople.

We desire that all peoples subject to Our benign Empire shall live under the same religion that the Divine Peter, the Apostle, gave to the Romans, and which the said religion declares was introduced by himself, and which it is well known that the Pontiff Damasus, and Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity, embraced; that is to say, in accordance with the rules of apostolic discipline and the evangelical doctrine, we should believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute a single Deity, endowed with equal majesty, and united in the Holy Trinity.

(1) We order all those who follow this law to assume the name of Catholic Christians, and considering others as demented and insane, We order that they shall bear the infamy of heresy; and when the Divine vengeance which they merit has been appeased, they shall afterwards be punished in accordance with Our resentment, which we have acquired from the judgment of Heaven.

Dated at Thessalonica, on the third of the Kalends of March, during the Consulate of Gratian, Consul for the fifth time, and Theodosius.

2. The Same Emperors to Eutropius, Prętorian Prefect.

Let no place be afforded to heretics for the conduct of their ceremonies, and let no occasion be offered for them to display the insanity of their obstinate minds. Let all persons know that if any privilege has been fraudulently obtained by means of any rescript whatsoever, by persons of this kind, it will not be valid. Let all bodies of heretics be prevented from holding unlawful assemblies, and let the name of the only and the greatest God be celebrated everywhere, and let the observance of the Nicene Creed, recently transmitted by Our ancestors, and firmly established by the testimony and practice of Divine Religion, always remain secure.

(1) Moreover, he who is an adherent of the Nicene Faith, and a true believer in the Catholic religion, should be understood to be one

who believes that Almighty God and Christ, the Son of God, are one person, God of God, Light of Light; and let no one, by rejection, dishonor the Holy Spirit, whom we expect, and have received from the Supreme Parent of all things, in whom the sentiment of a pure and undefiled faith flourishes, as well as the belief in the undivided substance of a Holy Trinity, which true believers indicate by the Greek word o9moo/usiov. These things, indeed, do not require further proof, and should be respected.

(2) Let those who do not accept these doctrines cease to apply the name of true religion to their fraudulent belief; and let them be branded with their open crimes, and, having been removed from the threshhold of all churches, be utterly excluded from them, as We forbid all heretics to hold unlawful assemblies within cities. If, however, any seditious outbreak should be attempted, We order them to be driven outside the walls of the City, with relentless violence, and We direct that all Catholic churches, throughout the entire world, shall be placed under the control of the orthodox bishops who have embraced the Nicene Creed.

Given at Constantinople, on the fourth of the Ides of January, under the Consulate of Flavius Eucharius and Flavius Syagrius.


Translated from the original Latin, edited, and compared with all accessible systems of jurisprudence ancient and modern.


🛑 Germanik Yasa

Salic Yasa ya da Latince Lex Salica 5'inci yüzyılda Galya'yı fetheden Salian Frankların yasalarıdır. En eski olmasa da en önemli Tötonik yasalardır (leges barbarorum). Yasalar 507-511 yıllarında Merovingian hanedanının kurucusu olan Clovis'in hükümranlığı sırasında çıkarıldı. Charlemagne ve ardılları tarafından sürekli olarak değiştirildi ve Eski Yüksek Almanca'ya çevrildi.

Salik Yasa birincil olarak bir ceza yasasıdır ve çeşitli suçlar için uzun bir liste kapsar. Ama sivil yasa ile ilgili başlıklar da vardır ve bunlardan biri kız çocukların toprak kalıt alamaycaklarını bildirir. Bu madde daha sonra 16'ncı yüzyılda kadınların tahta oturmalarına karşı çıkan görüşler için destek olarak kullanılacaktı.

Yasalar ilk biçiminde Hıristiyanlık öncesi evreye aittir. Vizigotlar ve Burgindianlar gibi başka Germanik halkların yasaları daha erken tarihli olmalarına karşın dikkate değer Hıristiyan etki gösterirler. Öte yandan, Latince'de yazılmış olmalarına karşın Roma Yasasından çok az etkilenmişlerdir.


📙 The Salic Law

The Salic Law (LINK)
The Salic Law

The Salic Law.
(Gengler, "Germanische Rechtsdenkmaeler," p. 267.)

Title I. Concerning Summonses.

1. If any one be summoned before the "Thing" by the king's law, and do not come he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings (solid)).

2. But he who summons another, and does not come himself, shall, if a lawful impediment have not delayed him, be sentenced to 15 shillings, to be paid to him whom he summoned.

3. And he who summons another shall walk with witnesses to the home of that man, and, if he be not at home, shall bid the wife or any one of the family to make known to him that he has been summoned to court.

4. But if he be occupied in the king's service he can not summon him.

5. But if he shall be inside the hundred seeing about his own affairs, he can summon him in the manner explained above.

Title II. Concerning Thefts of Pigs etc.

1. If any one steal a sucking pig, and it be proved against him, he shall be sentenced to 120 denars, which make three shillings.

2. If any one steal a pig that can live without its mother, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 40 denars-that is, 1 shilling.

14. If any one steal 25 sheep where there were no more in that flock, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars-that is, 62 shillings.

Title III. Concerning Thefts of Cattle.

4. If any one steal that bull which rules the herd and never has been yoked, he shall be sentenced to 1800 denars, which make 45 shillings.

5. But if that bull is used for the coves of three villages in common, he who stole him shall be sentenced to three times 45 shillings.

6. If any one steal a bull belonging to the king he shall be sentenced to 3600 denars, which make 90 shillings.

Title IV. Concerning Damage done among Crops or in any Enclosure.

1. If any one finds cattle, or a horse, or flocks of any kind in his crops, he shall not at all mutilate them.

2. If he do this and confess it, he shall restore the worth of the animal in place of it, and shall himself keep the mutilated one.

3. But if he have not confessed it, and it have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides the value of the animal and the fines for delay, to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings.

Title XI. Concerning Thefts or Housebreakings of Freemen.

1. If any freeman steal, outside of the house, something worth 2 denars, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings.

2. But if he steal, outside of the house, something worth 40 denars, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides the amount and the fines for delay, to 1400 denars, which make 35 shillings.

3. If a freeman break into a house and steal something worth 2 denars, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 15 shillings

4. But if he shall have stolen something worth more than 5 denars, and it have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides the worth of the object and the fines for delay, to 1400 denars, which make 35 shillings.

5. But if he have broken, or tampered with, the lock, and thus have entered the house and stolen anything from it, he shall be sentenced, besides the worth of the object and the fines for delay, to 1800 denars, which make 45 shillings.

6. And if he have taken nothing, or have escaped by flight, he shall, for the housebreaking alone, be sentenced to 1200 denars, which make 30 shillings.

Title XII. Concerning Thefts or Housebreakings on the Part of Slaves.

1. If a slave steal, outside of the house, something worth two denars, he shall, besides paying the worth of the object and the fines for delay, be stretched out and receive 120 blows.

2. But if he steal something worth 40 denars, he shall either be castrated or pay 6 shillings. But the lord of the slave who committed the theft shall restore to the plaintiff the worth of the object and the fines for delay.

Title XIII. Concerning Rape committed by Freemen.

1. If three men carry off a free born girl, they shall be compelled to pay 30 shillings.

2. If there are more than three, each one shall pay 5 shillings.

3. Those who shall have been present with boats shall be sentenced to three shillings.

4. But those who commit rape shall be compelled to pay 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

5. But if they have carried off that girl from behind lock and key, or from the spinning room, they shall be sentenced to the above price and penalty.

6. But if the girl who is carried off be under the king's protection, then the "frith" (peace-money) shall be 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

7. But if a bondsman of the king, or a leet, should carry off a free woman, he shall be sentenced to death.

8. But if a free woman have followed a slave of her own will, she shall lose her freedom.

9. If a freeborn man shall have taken an alien bondswoman, he shall suffer similarly.

10. If any body take an alien spouse and join her to himself in matrimony, he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

Title XIV. Concerning Assault and Robbery.

1. If any one have assaulted and plundered a free man, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

2. If a Roman have plundered a Salian Frank, the above law shall be observed.

3. But if a Frank have plundered a Roman, he shall be sentenced to 35 shillings.

4. If any man should wish to migrate, and has permission from the king, and shall have shown this in the public "Thing;" whoever, contrary to the decree of the king, shall presume to oppose him, shall be sentenced to 8000 denars, which make 200 shillings.

Title XV. Concerning Arson.

1. If any one shall set fire to a house in which men were sleeping, as many freemen as were in it can make complaint before the " Thing; " and if any one shall have been burned in it, the incendiary shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

Title XVII. Concerning Wounds.

1. If any one have wished to kill another person, and the blow have missed, he on whom it was proved shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

2. If any person have wished to strike another with a poisoned arrow, and the arrow have glanced aside, and it shall be proved on him; he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

3. If any person strike another on the head so that the brain appears, and the three bones which lie above the brain shall project, he shall be sentenced to 1200 denars, which make 30 shillings.

4. But if it shall have been between the ribs or in the stomach, so that the wound appears and reaches to the entrails, he shall be sentenced to 1200 denars-which make 30 shillings-besides five shillings for the physician's pay.

5. If any one shall have struck a man so that blood falls to the floor, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings.

6. But if a freeman strike a freeman with his fist so that blood does not flow, he shall be sentenced for each blow-up to 3 blows-to 120 denars, which make 3 shillings.

Title XVIII. Concerning him who, before the King, accuses an innocent Man.

If any one, before the king, accuse an innocent man who is absent, he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

Title XIX. Concerning Magicians.

1. If any one have given herbs to another so that he die, he shall be sentenced to 200 shillings (or shall surely be given over to fire).

2. If any person have bewitched another, and he who was thus treated shall escape, the author of the crime, who is proved to have committed it, shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 shillings.

Title XXIV. Concerning the Killing of little children and women.

1. If any one have slain a boy under 10 years-up to the end of the tenth-and it shall have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make 600 shillings.

3. If any one have hit a free woman who is pregnant and she dies, he shall be sentenced to 28000 denars, which make 700 shillings.

6. If any one have killed a free woman after she has begun bearing children, he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make 600 shillings.

7. After she can have no more children, he who kills her shall be sentenced to 8000 denars, which make 200, shillings.

Title XXX. Concerning Insults.

3. If any one, man or woman, shall have called a woman harlot, and shall not have been able to prove it, he shall be sentenced to 1800 denars, which make 45 shillings.

4. If any person shall have called another "fox," he shall be sentenced to 3 shillings.

5. If any man shall have called another "hare," he shall be sentenced to 3 shillings.

6. If any man shall have brought it up against another that he have thrown away his shield, and shall not have been able to prove it, he shall be sentenced to 120 denars, which make 3 shillings.

7. If any man shall have called another "spy" or "perjurer," and shall not have been able to prove it, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings.

Title XXXIII. Concerning the Theft of hunting animals.

2. If any one have stolen a tame marked stag (-hound ?), trained to hunting, and it shall have been proved through witnesses that his master had him for hunting, or had killed with him two or three beasts, he shall be sentenced to 1800 denars, which make 45 shillings.

Title XXXIV. Concerning the Stealing of Fences.

1. If any man shall have cut 3 staves by which a fence is bound or held together, or have stolen or cut the heads of 3 stakes, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings.

2. If any one shall have drawn a harrow through another's harvest after it has sprouted, or shall have gone through it with a waggon where there was no road, he shall be sentenced to 120 denars, which make 3 shillings.

3. If any one shall have gone, where there is no way or path, through another's harvest which has already become thick, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings.

Title XLI. Concerning the Murder of Free Men.

1. If any one shall have killed a free Frank, or a barbarian living under the Salic law, and it have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 8000 denars.

2. But if he shall have thrown him into a well or into the water, or shall have covered him with branches or anything else, to conceal him, he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make 600 shillings.

3. But if any one has slain a man who is in the service of the king, he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make 600 shillings.

4. But if he have put him in the water or in a well, and covered him with anything to conceal him, he shall be sentenced to 72000 denars, which make 1800 shillings.

5. If any one have slain a Roman who eats in the king's palace, and it have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 12000 denars, which make 300 shillings.

6. But if the Roman shah not have been a landed proprietor and table companion of the king, he who killed him shall be sentenced to 4000 denars, which make 100 shillings.

7. But if he shall have killed a Roman who was obliged to pay tribute, he shall be sentenced to shillings.

9. If any one have thrown a free man into a well, and he have escaped alive, he (the criminal) shall be sentenced to 4000 denars, which make 100 shillings.

Title XLV. Concerning Migrators.

1. If any one wish to migrate to another village and if one or more who live in that village do not wish to receive him,-if there be only one who objects, he shall not have leave to move there.

2. But if he shall have presumed to settle in that village in spite of his rejection by one or two men, then some one shall give him warning. And if he be unwilling to go away, he who gives him warning shall give him warning, with witnesses, as follows: I warn thee that thou mayst remain here this next night as the Salic law demands, and I warn thee that within 10 nights thou shalt go forth from this village. After another 10 nights he shall again come to him and warn him again within 10 nights to go away. If he still refuse to go, again 10 nights shall be added to the command, that the number of 30 nights may be full. If he will not go away even then, then he shall summon him to the "Thing," and present his witnesses as to the separate commands to leave. If he who has been warned will not then move away, and no valid reason detains him, and all the above warnings which we have mentioned have been given according to law: then he who gave him warning shall take the mutter into his own hands and request the "comes" to go to that place and expel him. And because he would not listen to the law, that man shall relinquish all that he has earned there, and, besides, shall be sentenced to 1200 denars, which make 30 shillings.

3. But if anyone have moved there, and within 12 months no one have given him warning, he shall remain as secure as the other neighbours.

Title XLVL Concerning Transfers of Property.

1. The observance shall be that the Thunginus or Centenarius shall call together a "Thing," and shall have his shield in the "Thing," and shall demand three men as witnesses for each of the three transactions. He (the owner of the land to be transferred) shall seek a man who has no connection with himself, and shall throw a stalk into his lap. And to him into whose lap he has thrown the stalk he shall tell, concerning his property, how much of it-or whether the whole or a half-he wishes to give. He in whose lap he threw the stalk shall remain in his (the owner's) house, and shall collect three or more guests, and shall have the property-as much as is given him-in his power. And, afterwards, he to whom that property is entrusted shall discuss all these things with the witnesses collected afterwards, either before the king or in the regular "Thing," he shall give the property up to him for whom it was intended. He shall take the stalk in the "Thing," and, before 12 months are over, shall throw it into the lap of him whom the owner has named heir; and he shall restore not more nor less, but exactly as much as was entrusted to him.

2. And if any one shall wish to say anything against this, three sworn witnesses shall say that they were in the "Thing " which the "Thunginus" or "Centenarius" called together, and that they saw that man who wished to give his property throw a stalk into the lap of him whom he had selected. They shall name by name him who threw his property into the lap of the other, and, likewise, shall name him whom he named his heir. And three other sworn witnesses shall say that he in whose lap the stalk was thrown had remained in the house of him who gave his property, and had there collected three or more guests and that they had eaten porridge at table, and that he had collected those who were bearing witness, and that those guests had thanked him for their entertainment. All this those other sworn witnesses shall say, and that he who received that property in his lap in the " Thing " held before the king, or in the regular public " Thing," did publicly, before the people, either in the presence of the king or in public " Thing "-namely on the Mallberg, before the "Thunginus"-throw the stalk into the lap of him whom the owner had named as heir. And thus 9 witnesses shall confirm all this.

Title L. Concerning Promises to Pay.

1. If any freeman or feet have made to another a promise to pay, then he to whom the promise was made shall, within 40 days or within such term as was agreed when he made the promise, go to the house of that man with witnesses, or with appraisers. And if he (the debtor) be unwilling to make the promised payment, he shall be sentenced to 15 shillings above the debt which he had promised.

2. If he then be unwilling to pay, he (the creditor) shall summon him before the "Thing"; and thus accuse him: "I ask thee, 'Thunginus,' to bann my opponent who made me a promise to pay and owes me a debt." And he shall state how much he owes and promised to pay. Then the "Thunginus" shall say: " I bann thy opponent to what the Salic law decrees." Then he to whom the promise was made shall warn him (the debtor) to make no payment or pledge of payment to any body else until he have fulfilled his promise to him (the creditor). And straightway on that same day before the sun sets, he shall go to the house of that man with witnesses, and shall ask if he will pay that debt. If he will not, he (the creditor) shall wait until after sunset; then, if he have waited until after sunset, 120 denars, which make 3 shillings shall be added on to the debt. And this shall be done up to 3 times in 3 weeks. And if at the third time he will not pay all this, it (the sum) shall increase to 360 denars, or 9 shillings: so, namely, that, after each admonition or waiting until after sunset, 3 shillings shall be added to the debt.

3. If any one be unwilling to fulfil his promise in the regular assembly,-then he to whom the promise was made shall go the count of that place, in whose district he lives, and shall take the stalk and shall say: oh count, that man made me a promise to pay, and I have lawfully summoned him before the court according to the Salic law on this matter; I pledge thee myself and my fortune that thou may'st safely seize his property. And he shall state the case to him, and shall tell how much he (the debtor) had agreed to pay. Then the count shall collect suitable bailiffs, and shall go with them to the house of him who made the promise and shall say: thou who art here present pay voluntarily to that man what thou didst promise, and choose any two of those bailiffs who shall appraise that from which thou shalt pay; and make good what thou cost owe, according to a just appraisal. But if ho will not hear, or be absent, then the bailiffs shall take from his property the value of the debt which he owes. And, according to the law, the accuser shall take two thirds of that which the debtor owes, and the count shall collect for himself the other third as peace money; unless the peace money shall have been paid to him before in this same matter.

4. If the count have been appealed to, and no sufficient reason, and no duty of the king, have detained him-and if he have put off going, and have sent no substitute to demand law and justice: he shall answer for it with his life, or shall redeem himself with his "wergeld."

Title LIV. Concerning the Slaying of a Count.

1. If any one slay a count, he shall be sentenced to 2400 debars, which make 600 shillings.

Title LV. Concerning the Plundering of Corpses.

2. If any one shall have dug up and plundered a corpse already buried, and it shall have been proved on him, he shall be outlawed until the day when he comes to an agreement with the relatives of the dead man, and they ask for him that he be allowed to come among men. And whoever, before he come to an arrangement with the relative, shall give him bread or shelter-even if they are his relations or his own wife-shall be sentenced to 600 denars which make xv shillings.

3. But he who is proved to have committed the crime shall be sentenced to 8000 denars, which make 200 shillings.

Title LVI. Concerning him who shall have scorned to come to Court.

1. If any man shall have scorned to come to court, and shall have put off fulfilling the injunction of the bailiffs, and shall not have been willing to consent to undergo the fine, or the kettle ordeal, or anything prescribed by law: then he (the plaintiff) shall summon him to the presence of the king. And there shall be 12 witnesses who-3 at n time being sworn-shall testify that they were present when the bailiff enjoined him (the accused) either to go to the kettle ordeal, or to agree concerning the fine; and that he had scorned the injunction. Then 3 others shall swear that they were there on the day when the bailiffs enjoined that he should free himself by the kettle ordeal or by composition; and that 40 days after that, in the "mallberg," he (the accuser) had again waited until after sunset, and that he (the accused) would not obey the law. Then he (the accuser) shall summon him before the king for a fortnight thence; and three witnesses shall swear that they were there when he summoned him and when he waited for sunset. If he does not then come, those 9, being sworn, shall give testimony as we have above explained. On that day likewise, if he do not come, he (the accuser) shall let the sun go down on him, and shall have 3 witnesses who shall be there when he waits till sunset. But if the accuser shall have fulfilled all this, and the accused shall not have been willing to come to any court, then the king, before whom he has been summoned, shall withdraw his protection from him. Then he shall be guilty, and all his goods shall belong to the fisc, or to him to whom the fisc may wish to give them. And whoever shall have fed or housed him-even if it were his own wife-shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 shillings; until he (the debtor) shall have made good all that has been laid to his charge.

Title LVII. Concerning the " Chrenecruda."

1. If any one have killed a man, and, having given up all his property, has not enough to comply with the full terms of the law, he shall present 12 sworn witnesses to the effect that, neither above the earth nor under it, has he any more property than he has already given. And he shall afterwards go into his house, and shall collect in his hand dust from the four corners of it, and shall afterwards stand upon the threshold, looking inwards into the house. And then, with his left hand, he shall throw over his shoulder some of that dust on the nearest relative that he has. But if his father and (his father's) brothers have already paid, he shall then throw that dust on their (the brothers') children-that is, over three (relatives) who are nearest on the father's and three on the mother's side. And after that, in his shirt, without girdle and without shoes, a staff in his hand, he shall spring over the hedge. And then those three shall pay half of what is lacking of the compounding money or the legal fine; that is, those others who are descended in the paternal line shall do this.

2. But if there be one of those relatives who has not enough to pay his whole indebtedness, he, the poorer one, shall in turn throw the "chrenecruda" on him of them who has the most, so that he shall pay the whole fine.

3. But if he also have not enough to pay the whole then he who has charge of the murderer shall bring him before the " Thing," and afterwards to 4 Things in order that they (his friends) may take him under their protection. And if no one have taken him under his protection -that is, so as to redeem him for what he can not pay- then he shall have to atone with his life.

Title LIX. Concerning Private Property.

1. If any man die and leave no sons, if the father and mother survive, they shall inherit.

3. If the father and mother do not survive, and he leave brothers or sisters, they shall inherit.

3. But if there are none, the sisters of the father shall inherit.

4. But if there are no sisters of tile father, the sisters of the mother shall claim that inheritance.

5. If there are none of these, the nearest relatives on the father's side shall succeed to that inheritance.

6. But of Salic land no portion of the inheritance shall come to a woman: but the whole inheritance of the land shall come to the male sex.

Title LXII. Concerning Wergeld.

1. If any one's father have been killed, the sons shall have half the compounding money (wergeld); and the other half the nearest relatives, as well on the mother's as on the father's side, shall divide among themselves.

2. But if there are no relatives, paternal or maternal that portion shall go to the fisc.

Henderson's Note

The Salic Law-is particularly interesting from the fact that it illustrates a period conerning which we have almost no other contemporary information. A few charters, the scanty notes for this time of Gregory of Tours and the Roman writers, the contents of a few graves — the most important that of Childerich, father of Clovis (481-511), found at Tournay in 1663 — are all that we would otherwise have had to show the extent of civilization under the earliest Merovingian kings.

The Salic Law was composed under Clovis. It concerns itself, as will be seen from the extracts here given, with the most manifold branches of administration. The system of landholding, the nature of the early village community, the relations of the Germans to the Romans, the position of the king, the classes of the population, family life, the disposal of property, judicial procedure, the ethical views of the time, are all illustrated in its sixty-five articles. Directly and indirectly we can gather from it a great mass of information. How clearly, for instance, does the title on insults show the regard paid for personal bravery and for female chastity! The false charge of having thrown away one's shield was punished as severely as assault and battery-and the person who groundlessly called a woman unclean paid a fine second only in severity to that imposed for attempted murder!

Henderson, Ernest F.
Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages
London: George Bell and Sons, 1896.




  Byzantine {!} law
‘Bizans’ Yasasının Klasik Roma Temelleri

  • Wikipedia için —
  • Roma Yasası ya da Corpus Juris Civilis ve daha sonra eklenen yeni yasalar ‘Bizans Yasası’dır.
  • “III. Leo tarafından çıkarılan Ecloga ilk önemli Roma-Bizans yasa kitabıdır.”
    (“Ecloga, issued by Leo III, the first major Roman-Byzantine legal code.”)


Roma’nın temeli olarak Roma

  • Wikipedia “Bizans” dediği Roma’yı Roma’nın politik, kültürel ve toplumsal kurumlarını kalıt alan yabancı bir devlet, bir başka imparatorluk olarak anlamayı ister. Ve aynı bakış açısından, Roma yasası ‘Bizans’ yasası için temel olmuştur: “Byzantium inherited its main political, cultural and social institutions from Rome. Similarly, Roman law constituted the basis for the Byzantine legal system.”


Aynı yerde, ‘Bizans’ İmparatorluğunun tarihinin ne zaman başladığını belirlemede yatan güçlüklerden yakınılır.

Byzantine law

Byzantine {!} law (W)

Byzantine law was essentially a continuation {really?} of Roman law with increased Christian influence. Most sources define Byzantine law as the Roman legal traditions starting after the reign of Justinian I in the 6th century and ending with the Fall of Constantinople in the 15th century.

Though during and after the European Renaissance Western legal practices were heavily influenced by Justinian's Code (the Corpus Juris Civilis) and Roman law during classical times, Byzantine law nevertheless had substantial influence on Western traditions during the Middle Ages and after.

The most important work of Byzantine law was the Ecloga, issued by Leo III, the first major Roman-Byzantine legal code issued in Greek rather than Latin. Soon after the Farmer's Law was established regulating legal standards outside the cities. While the Ecloga was influential throughout the Mediterranean (and Europe) because of the importance of Constantinople as a trading center, the Farmer's Law was a seminal influence on Slavic legal traditions including those of Russia.

Influences and sources


Byzantium inherited its main political, cultural and social institutions from Rome. Similarly, Roman law constituted the basis for the Byzantine legal system. For many centuries, the two great codifications of Roman law carried out by Theodosius II and Justinian respectively, were the cornerstones of Byzantine legislation. Of course, over the years these Roman codes were adjusted to the current circumstances and then replaced by new codifications, written in Greek. However, the influence of Roman law persisted, and it is obvious in codifications, such as Basilika, which was based on Corpus Juris Civilis. {?} In the 11th century, Michael Psellos prides himself for being acquainted with the Roman legal legacy ("Ἰταλῶν σοφία").

In accordance with the late Roman legal tradition, the main source of law (fons legum) in Byzantium remained the enactments of the emperors. The latter initiated some major codifications of the Roman law, but they also issued their own "new laws", the Novels (“Novellae,” “Νεαραὶ”). In early Byzantine (late Roman) era the legislative interest of the emperors intensified, and laws were now regulating the main aspects of public, private, economic and social life. For example, Constantine I was the first to regulate divorce and Theodosius I intervened in faith issues, imposing a specific version of the Creed. From Diocletian to Theodosius I, namely during approximately 100 years, more than 2,000 laws were issued. Justinian alone promulgated approximately 600 laws. Gradually, the legislative enthusiasm receded, but still some of the laws of later emperors, such as Leo VI's Novels, are of particular importance. The custom continued to play a limited role as a secondary source of law, but written legislation had a precedence.


Early Byzantine period (W)


There is no definitively established date for when the so-called Byzantine period of Roman history begins. {!} During the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries the Empire was split and united administratively more than once. But it was during this period that Constantinople was first established and the East gained its own identity administratively; thus, it is often considered the early Byzantine period. Despite this, though, the legal developments during this period are typically considered part of Roman Law, as opposed to Byzantine Law, in part because legal documents during this period were still written in Latin. These developments, nevertheless, were key steps in the formation of Byzantine Law.


Codex Theodosianus

Main article: Codex Theodosianus

In 438, Emperor Theodosius published the Codex Theodosianus, which consisted of 16 books, containing all standing laws from the age of Constantine I till then.


Corpus Iuris Civilis

Main article: Corpus Iuris Civilis

Soon after his accession in 527, Justinian appointed a commission to collect and codify existing Roman law. A second commission, headed by the jurist Tribonian, was appointed in 530 to select matter of permanent value from the works of the jurists, to edit it and to arrange it into 50 books. In 533 this commission produced the Digesta.

Although Law as practiced in Rome had grown up as a type of case law, this was not the "Roman Law" known to the Medieval, or modern world. Now Roman law claims to be based on abstract principles of justice that were made into actual rules of law by legislative authority of the emperor or the Roman people. These ideas were transmitted to the Middle Ages in the great codification of Roman law carried throughout by the emperor Justinian. The Corpus Iuris Civilis was issued in Latin in three parts: the Institutes, the Digest (Pandects), and the Code (Codex). It was the last major legal document written in Latin.

The world's most widespread legal system, civil law, is based on the Corpus (in, for instance, most of Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa, as well as in the mixed jurisdictions of South Africa, Scotland, Quebec, the Philippines and Louisiana).

Middle Byzantine period (W)


Following Justinian's reign the Empire entered a period of rapid decline partially enabling the Arab conquests which would further weaken the Empire. Knowledge of Latin, which had been in decline since the fall of the West, virtually disappeared making many of the old legal codices almost inaccessible. These developments contributed to a dramatic weakening of legal standards in the Empire and a substantial drop in the standards of legal scholarship. Legal practice would become much more pragmatic and, as knowledge of Latin in the Empire waned, direct use of Justinian's "Corpus Juris Civilis" would be abandoned in favor of summaries, commentaries, and new compilations written in Greek.



The changes in the internal life of the empire which occurred in the years following the publication of Justinian's code called for a review of the legislation, so as to meet the requirements of the times. It was introduced Within the framework of the reforms of Leo III the Isaurian, (the first Isaurian emperor) and he also provided the modification of current laws. In 726 he issued the "Ecloga", that had his name as well as the name of his son Constantine. "Ecloga", referring to both the civil and criminal law constituted, as was declared in the title, a "rectification (of the Justinian legislation) towards a more philanthropic version". The membership of the editing committee is not known, but its primary mission, however, was on the one hand, to modify those dispositions not to be aligned with the current times and, on the other, to prevent judges from taking money for their actions and to help them to solve cases properly.

The dispositions of "Ecloga" were influenced by the Christian spirit, as well as by the common law, that protected and supported the institution of marriage and introduced the equality of all citizens in law. On the other hand, the penalties of amputation and blindness were introduced, reflecting the Byzantine concept in this period of changes[citation needed]. By means of his "Ecloga" Leo also addressed the judges, inviting them "neither the poor to despise nor the ones unjust to let uncontrolled". Besides, in his effort to deter bribery in the execution of their duties he made their payment local and payable by the imperial treasury. "Ecloga" constituted the basic handbook of justice dispensation up to the days of the Macedonian emperors, that also assumed legislative activity, whereas later it influenced the ecclesiastic law of the Russian Orthodox Church. Formerly the researchers attributed the juridical collections "Farmer's Law", "Rhodian Sea Law" and "Military Laws" to Leo III the Isaurian.

The structure of the act is original and it isn't taken from any other source, considering that Leon didn't want to complete layer legal reform. It seems that his goal was just to modify Justinian's legal tradition in the most important segments of legal life, while still adapting it to the needs and actions of the Middle Ages. It needed to be distinguished from its original model. Among the most important deviations from Justinian's Roman law are departure of consensuality when traiding goods. So that a contract could exist, it was necessary for the object to either be given to the buyer or that a price be paid to the seller. As long as both sides finish their parts, the contract is not valid even if there is downpayment being given as validation element. Patria potestas is decresing its power influenced by hellenistic and canon laws and the rights of women and children are increasing. But Ecloga brings even bigger and more controversial changes in criminal law, which can be seen in the frequent use of physical punishments, not typical for Justinian's law.

The Farmer’s Laws

With the exception of a few cities, and especially Constantinople, where other types of urban economic activities were also developed, Byzantine society remained at its heart agricultural. An important source regarding law, which reflects in a particularly characteristic way the internal life of the Byzantine villages during the Middle Byzantine Era (7th – end of 12th century) is the Nomos Georgikos, also known as the Lex Rustica or Farmer's Law. Due to its importance, the Farmer's Law roused the interest of researchers from a very early stage. Ever since it has been one of the most discussed texts concerning the internal history of Byzantium. It has been suggested that, because of the major influences caused by the influx of Slavs into the Empire at the time the Farmer's Law was established, Slavic traditions were in fact an important influence of the Farmer's Law, both in terms of why it was developed and its content.

It is a private collection, continuously enriched, and refers to specific cases relevant to rural property within the framework of the Byzantine rural "community". As evident by the dispositions of the "Law", peasants were organized in "communities" and collectively responsible for the payment of the total tax the "community" was liable for, being obliged to pay as well the amounts corresponding to indebted members of the community. As for the chronology of its writing, since the text itself bears no specific date, it is placed somewhere in between the second half of the 6th century and the middle of the 14th. Very early on, it was acknowledged as a legal handbook of great importance and greatly influenced much of the law of the Slavic countries and especially Serbia, Bulgaria and Russia.


The Sea Laws

Dating problems, similar to the ones of the "Farmer's Law", presents a code of equal character, the "Rhodian Sea Law" (Nomos Rhodion Nautikos). Written probably between 600 and 800, it is a collection of maritime law regulations divided into three parts. The first part refers to the ratification of the "Naval Law" by the Roman emperors. The second specifies the participation of the crew in maritime profits and the regulations valid on the ship, while the third and largest refers to maritime law, as for example to the apportionment of responsibility in case of theft or damage to the cargo or the ship. The "Naval Law" was included in the Basilika of Leo VI the Wise as a complement to book 53.


Ecclesiastical law

In accordance with the model of the secular legal associations, the canons of the ecclesiastic councils concerned ecclesiastic issues and regulated the conduct of the clergy, as well as of the secular as concerned matters of belief. The "In Trullo" or "Fifth-Sixth Council", known for its canons, was convened in the years of Justinian II (691–692) and occupied itself exclusively with matters of discipline. The aim of the synod was to cover the gaps left in canon law by the previous Fifth (553) and Sixth Ecumenical Councils.

This collection of canons was divided into four parts:

a) The canons ratifying the doctrinal decisions of the first six ecumenical councils along with the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.

b) The canons specifying the obligations of the ministrational clergy.

c) The canons referring to the monks.

d) The canons referring to the secular. The influence of these canons carried on in the future and they were extensively annotated by Balsamon, Zonaras and Aristenos, the three great ecclesiastic jurists of the 12th century.



There were also other Ancient Church Orders no longer extant in Greek. Later, more-scientific collections emerged, including:

All of these books were compiled later by the Athonite monk Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite and became the basis of the modern Eastern Orthodox law, his Pedalion.

Later Byzantine law (W)


The following legal texts were prepared in the later Byzantine Empire:

  • The Prochiron of Basil the Macedonian, c. 870 or 872, which invalidates parts of the Ecloga and restores Justinians Laws, as well as Hellenising arcane Latin expressions.
  • The Epanagoge (repetita proelectio legis), also of Basil the Macedonian, together with his sons, a second edition of the Prochiron, c. 879-886
  • The Eisagoge of Photios, which includes novel law, c. 880
  • The Basilicae (repurgatio veterum legum) or Basilics of Leo the Philosopher, together with his brother Alexander and Constantine VII, c. 900 or 906–11, which attempts to synthesise 6th century commentaries and glosses on Justinians laws by headings, and remove contradictions. By the 11th century, the Basilics had replaced Justinian's laws as the primary source of Roman law.
  • The Synopsis (Basilicorum) maior, an abridgment of the Basilika from the late 9th century
  • The Epitome Legum, later known as the Epitome ad Prochiron mutata, a synthesis of Justinian and the Epanagoge, c. 920-1
  • The Epanagoge aucta, a revision of the 9th century Epanagogue from c. 11th century.
  • The Prochiron aucta, a revision of the 9th century Prochiron from c. 13th century.
  • The Hexabiblos, a 14th-century compilation of the above books made by Constantine Harmenopoulos, a judge in Thessalonica
  • The Hexabiblos aucta, a late 14th century revision of Harmenopoulos' work by Ioannes Holobolos


Other jurists (including at least one Emperor) prepared private collections of cases and commentaries, but these did not form the body of law used by jurists at large. It is held that the 113 Novels of Leo the Wise fall into this category.

Lokin argues that while later legal texts tended to rearrange or explain the 6th century work of Justinian, rather than create new law, they did alter the locus of authority for law (legis vigor) from the Emperor to God. In Justinian's work, Mosaïc Law and God's authority support the Emperor, and are consultative, but do not temper his absolute authority. This process has already begun in the Ecloga, which states law is God-given by way of Isaiah 8:20, and is made explicit first in the Prochiron. There was, however, 'legislative creep' over this period, where the redaction of old laws and case law created new laws in effect, although not explicitly cited as such.

Legacy (W)


During the early Middle Ages Roman/Byzantine Law played a major role throughout the Mediterranean region and much of Europe because of the economic and military importance of the Empire.

The Syro-Roman Law Book, a Syriac translation of a Greek original from the 5th century, was highly influential in eastern Christian communities after the early Muslim conquests. It was based on Roman case law and imperial statutes from the east of the empire.

After the Islamic conquests of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Islamic caliphates gradually codified their legal systems using Roman/Byzantine law as an important model. It has been suggested in fact that it was the Ecloga’s publication that spurred the first major codification of Islamic imperial law.

Slavic legal traditions, including countries ranging from Bulgaria to Russia, were substantially influenced by the Farmer's Law. To a lesser extent the Ecloga and other Byzantine codices influenced these areas as well. During the 18th and 19th centuries, as Russia increased its contact with the West, Justinian's Code began to be studied thus bringing in this influence.

In Western Europe, following the fall of the Roman Empire, the influence of Roman/Byzantine law became more indirect though always significant during much of the Middle Ages. During the European Renaissance, Western scholars embraced Justinian's Code as a basis for jurisprudence, shunning many of the later legal developments of the Byzantine Empire such as the Ecloga. This was to a great extent affected by the East/West (Roman Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox) split in the Church. The perception in the West was that Roman law that was recorded in Latin was truly Roman whereas later laws written in Greek was distinct and foreign.



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