Theodosian Code


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Theodosian Code

The legal code of the Roman Empire promulgated in a.d. 438 by the emperor Theodosius II of the East and accepted by the emperor Valentinian III of the West.

The Theodosian Code was designed to eliminate superfluous material and to organize the complex body of imperial constitutions that had been in effect since the time of the emperor Constantine I (306–337). It was derived primarily from two private collections: the Gregorian Code, or Codex Gregorianus, a collection of constitutions from the emperor Hadrian (117–138) down to Constantine compiled by the Roman jurist Gregorius in the fifth century; and the Hermogenian Code, or Codex Hermogenianus, a collection of the constitutions of the emperors Diocletian (284–305) and Maximian (285–305) prepared by the fifth-century jurist Hermogenes to supplement the Gregorian Code. The Theodosian Code was one of the sources of the Civil Law, the system of Roman Jurisprudence compiled and codified in the Corpus Juris Civilis in a.d. 528–534 under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Until the twelfth century, when the Corpus Juris Civilis became known in the West, the Theodosian Code was the only authentic body of civil law in widespread use in Western Europe.

Further readings

Matthews, John. 2000. Laying Down the Law: A Study of the Theodosian Code. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press.

The Theodosian Code and Novels, and the Sirmondian Constitutions. 2001. Trans. by Clyde Pharr. Union, N.J.: Law-book Exchange.

Cross-references

Roman Law.

References in periodicals archive ?
The senatorial aristocracy found it important to ensure that slaves and freedmen could not marry free women, as indicated in The Law of Anthemius, found in the Theodosian Code.
Throughout the Theodosian Code, property confiscation and deportation were punishments reserved for serious crimes that included endangerment of national security, harboring proscribed individuals, producing counterfeit money, and hosting soothsayers.
Tax rolls gained increasing importance in Late Antiquity, and tenants would often attempt to evade taxes and the tax collectors, creating a growing need to register tenants and slaves in order to define their obligations to the land on which they served (see Theodosian Code 9.
Fourth is the fact that a number of the laws in the Theodosian Code that attempt to stop curials from evading municipal service (for instance, by fleeing to another city or obtaining an undeserved exemption) are echoed in the Breviarium of the Visigothic king Alaric II, promulgated in 506.
As we know from the Theodosian Code, curials and principales were involved in a wide variety of administrative duties.
Although created under entirely different political circumstances, these texts all shared certain qualities that distinguished them from earlier Roman law codes like the Theodosian Code, as well as the crowning achievement of Roman legal science, the Corpus Iuris Civilis of the emperor Justinian (527-565).
As the ET shows, the Roman law of Theoderic's Italy was quite unlike that preserved for us in the Theodosian Code or Justinian's Corpus.
Apart from the Theodosian code, Libanius provides our main contemporary evidence for the decline of the city councils in the fourth century.
He draws much of his information from panegyrics and the Theodosian Code as a means of offering character traits either omitted or tainted by partisan authors like Eusebius.
This is one of many significant recent books, far too many to cite here, dealing with late antique law in general and the Theodosian Code in particular.
All of this made the Theodosian Code a truly monumental achievement.
The author's point of departure is the Theodosian Code, an imperial undertaking of the early fifth century aimed at reducing centuries of legal disarray into a semblance of order.