Justinian I, the Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565, sponsored committees of jurists who reviewed existing laws and, after eliminating outdated or contradictory laws, placed the laws and legal opinion into one work. The work was significant in that it formed the basis of western law for centuries and inspired the categories used in the Napoleonic Code of 1804, which was drawn up under Napoleon and abolished feudal laws.
Justinian's Code also placed regulations on Jews in the Byzantine Empire and began to take away the Jews' ability to practice what was formerly a legal religion. The code allowed the state to intervene in religious Jewish questions, and Justinian often did so. For example, he disallowed the reading of the Pentateuch in Hebrew. The code also prohibited Jews from giving testimony in court against Christians, though they were eventually allowed to testify in cases between Christians and the state. Though Jews had an elevated status compared to other non-Christians, they were relegated to a lesser status than Christians in the Byzantine Empire, and the law became an instrument in their oppression.