Gaius Creates Edition of the Institutes of Roman Law (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Gaius’s edition of the Institutes of Roman law codified classical Roman law in textbook form and survived as the only authentic work of classical legal scholarship still extant and unaltered by the ministers of Justinian.
Summary of Event
When Justinian published Corpus Juris Civilis (body of civil law), his monumental codification of Roman law, in the sixth century c.e., he proscribed the use of any other legal texts. As a result, the older collections lay unused and forgotten, falling prey during the course of centuries to the ravages of time. Because Justinian also ordered that all excerpts included in his Codex Iustinianus (529, 534 c.e.; English translation, 1915; better known as Justinian’s Codification) should be altered if necessary to make them consistent with contemporary legal practice, it seemed impossible for modern scholars to ascertain the ancient texts. It was therefore of some importance to legal historians when B. C. Niebuhr, a German scholar of the early nineteenth century, discovered a fifth century c.e. copy of Gaius’s Institutiones (second century c.e.; Institutes of Gaius, 1946-1953, also known as Institutes), which up to that time was known only from fragments in Justinian’s Digesta (533 c.e., also known as Pandectae; The Digest of Justinian, 1920) and barbaric codes of the sixth century...
(The entire section is 1086 words.)
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