Institutes of Justinian



The ''Institutes'' ( la, Institutiones) is a component of the ''
Corpus Juris Civilis 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, Byzantine Emperors, Byzantine Emperor. It is also ...
'', the 6th-century codification of
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
ordered by the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus, ; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor, Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by ...
. It is largely based upon the ''
Institutes An institute is an organisation An organization or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), i ...
'' of
Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Kaius, Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The ''praenomen'' (; plural: ''praenomina'') was a given name, personal name chosen by the parents of a Ancient Rome, Roman child. It was first bestowed on th ...
, a Roman jurist of the second century A.D. The other parts of the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' are the '' Digest'', the ''
Codex Justinianus The Code of Justinian ( la, Codex Justinianus, or ) is one part of the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'', the codification of Roman law ordered early in the 6th century AD by Justinian I, who was Byzantine Empire, Eastern Roman emperor in Constantinople. ...
'', and the ''
Novellae Constitutiones The ("new constitutions"; grc, Νεαραὶ διατάξεις), or ''Justinian's Novels'', are now considered one of the four major units of Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments span ...
'' ("New Constitutions" or "Novels").

Drafting and publication

Justinian's Institutes was one part of his effort to codify Roman law and to reform legal education, of which the Digest also was a part. Whereas the Digest was to be used by advanced law students, Justinian's Institutes was to be a textbook for new students. The need for a new text for first year students was addressed as early as 530 in the constitution "Deo auctore," where reference is made to something "...which may be promulgated to replace the elementary works, so that the raw intelligence of the student, nourished by a simple diet, may proceed more easily to advanced legal studies." Under the supervision of
Tribonian Tribonian (Greek language, Greek: Τριβωνιανός rivonia'nos c. 485?–542) was a notable Byzantine Empire, Byzantine jurist and advisor, who during the reign of the Byzantine emperor, Emperor Justinian I, supervised the revision of the ...
, two law professors (Theophilus and Dorotheus) were assigned to extract statements about the basic institutions ("Institutiones") of Roman law from the teaching books created by writers of "authority" (as defined in the Law of Citations). The bulk of this new Institutes is the
Institutes of Gaius The ''Institutes'' ( la, Institutiones; from , 'to establish') is a beginners' textbook on Roman law#Private law, Roman private law written around 161 CE by the classical Roman jurist Gaius (jurist), Gaius. The ''Institutes'' are considered ...
, much of it taken verbatim; but it also uses material from the Institutes of Marcian, Florentinus,
Ulpian Ulpian (; la, Gnaeus Domitius Annius Ulpianus; c. 170223? 228?) was a Roman empire, Roman jurist born in Tyre (Lebanon), Tyre. He was considered one of the great legal authorities of his time and was one of the five jurists upon whom decisions w ...
, and perhaps
Paul Paul may refer to: *Paul (given name) Paul () is a common masculine given name in countries and ethnicities with a Christian heritage (Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Protestantism) and, beyond Europe, ...
us (the other writers of "authority." There is some debate over which of the commission members is responsible for what part of the new Institutes. Most recently it has been suggested that Theophilus and Dorotheus created the extracts taken from the older works, while Tribonian revised and added new imperial laws. This new version of the Institutes was published on November 21, 533 and promulgated with the Digest on December 30, 533. These new Institutes were not only a textbook for first year law students, but, according to the decree that promulgated them (C. Tanta), they carried the force of law. First year law students used Justinian's Institutes as their textbook for centuries.

Structure and content

The Institutes of Justinian is arranged much like Gaius's work, being divided into three books covering "persons," "things,", and "actions." Unlike the Digest, the extracts do not provide inscriptions indicating from whom the original material was taken.

Modern editions and translations

Justinian's Institutes was largely unknown in the West. The earliest known manuscript are fragments of a Veronese palimpsest of the ninth century. The first printed edition of Justinian's Institutes was Petrus Schoyff's in 1468. Scholars using the Veronese palimpsest suggested changes to the existing text, and these criticisms resulted in the definitive texts by Paul Krüger and Eduard Huschke in 1867 and 1868 respectively. The most frequently used modern version of Justinian's Institutes is that of Krüger, which is in volume one of the Krüger, Mommsen, Kroll and Schoell stereotype edition. There are several translations of Justinian's Institutes into English, the better of the older ones being those of J.B. Moyle and Thomas Collett Sandars. More recent translations by Birks & McLeod are also available as facing editions with Krüger's Latin. Samuel Parsons Scott translated the Institutes into English as part of his translation of the entire "Corpus Juris Civilis," but his translation has not been well received.See Timothy Kearley
Fred Blume and the Translation of the Justinian Code''
(2nd ed. 2008) 3, 21. Scott's translation is ''The Civil Law, including the Twelve Tables, the Institutes of Gaius, the Rules of Ulpian, the Enactments of Justinian, and the Constitutions of Leo...'' 17 vols. (1932) available a

For a discussion of the work of Scott, Fred H. Blume, and Clyde Pharr on Roman law translation see Kearley, Timothy G., "From Rome to the Restatement: S.P. Scott, Fred Blume, Clyde Pharr, and Roman Law in Early Twentieth-Century," available at Social Science Research Networ

See also

* Constitution (Roman law) * International Roman Law Moot Court *
List of Roman laws This is a partial list of Roman laws. A Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Ci ...
* Novel (Roman law)


External links

{{Authority control Byzantine law Justinian I Latin prose texts Roman law 6th century in law 6th century in the Byzantine Empire