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The Code of Justinian, A. D. 528, Fe
bruary 13; A. D. so,
74 This story is related by Hesychius (de Viris Illustribus), Pro
copius (Anecdot. c. 13.), and Suidas (tom. iii. p. 501.). Such
flattery is incredible !
Fontenelle (tom. i. p. 32—39 ) has ridiculed the impudence of the
year of his reign, he directed the faithful Tribo
nian, and nine learned associates, to revise the ordinances of his predecessors, as they were contained, since the time of Hadrian, in the Gregorian, Hermogenian, and Theodosian codes; to purge the errors and contradićtions, to retrench whatever was obsolete or superfluous, and to select the wise and salutary laws best adapted to the pračtice of the tribunals and the use of his subjects. The work was accomplished in fourteen months; and the twelve books or tables, which the new decemvirs produced, might be designed to imitate the labours of their Roman predecessors. The new code of Justinian was honoured with his name, and confirmed by his royal signature: authentic transcripts were multiplied by the pens of notaries and scribes; they were transmitted to the magis. trates of the European, the Asiatic, and afterwards the African provinces: and the law of the empire was proclaimed on solemn festivals at the doors of churches. A more arduous operation was still behind: to extract the spirit of jurisprudence from the decisions and conjectures, the questions and dis. putes of the Roman civilians. Seventeen lawyers, with Tribonian at their head, were appointed by the emperor to exercise an absolute jurisdićtion over the works of their predecessors. If they had obeyed his commands in ten years, Justinian would have been satisfied with their diligence; and the rapid composition of the DIGEST or PANDECTs '', - w
7s mayora (general receivers) was a common title of the Greek miscellanies (Plin. Praefat. ad Gist. Natur.). The Digesia of Scaevola, Marčelinus, Celsus, were already familiar to the civilians; but JusD 3 tinian
in three years, will deserve praise or censure, aecording to the merit of the execution. From the library of Tribonian, they chose forty, the most eminent civilians of former times *: two thousand treatises were comprised in an abridgment of fifty books; and it has been carefully recorded, that three millions of lines or sentences", were reduced, in this abstraćt, to the moderate number of one hundred and fifty thousand. The edition of this great work was delayed a month after that of the INSTITUTEs ; and it seemed reasonable that the elements should precede the digest of the Roman law. As soon as the emperor had approved their labours, he ratified, by his legislative power, the speculations of these private citizens: their commentaries, on the twelve tables, the perpetual edićt, the laws of the people, and the decrees of the senate, succeeded to the authority of the text; and
the text was abandoned, as an useless, though ve-
But the jurisprudence of the Pande&ts is circumscribed within a period of an hundred years, from the perpetual edićt to the death of Severus Alexander: the civilians who lived under the first Caesars, are seldom permitted to speak, and only three
names can be attributed to the age of the republic. D 4 The
The favourite of Justinian (it has been fiercely urged) was fearful of encountering the light of freedom and the gravity of Roman sages. Tribonian condemned to oblivion the genuine and native wis. dom of Cato, the Scaevolas, and Sulpicius; while he invoked spirits more congenial to his own, the Syrians, Greeks, and Africans, who flocked to the Imperial court to study Latin as a foreign tongue, and jurisprudence as a lucrative profession. But the ministers of Justinian 7° were instructed to labour, not for the curiosity of antiquarians, but for the immediate benefit of his subjećts. It was their duty to select the useful and practical parts of the Roman law; and the writings of the old republicans, however curious or excellent, were no longer suited to the new system of manners, religion, and government. Perhaps, if the preceptors and friends of Cicero were still alive, our candour would acknowledge, that, except in purity of language”, their intrinsic merit was excelled by the school of Papinian and Ulpian. The science of the laws is the slow growth of time and experience, and the advantage both of method and ma
C H. A. P.
73 An ingenious and learned oration of Shcultingius (Jurisprudentia Ante-Justinianea, p. 881–907.) justifies the choice of Tribonian, against the passionate charges of Francis Hottoman and his sectaries.
79 Strip away the crust of Tribonian, and allow for the use of technical words, and the Latin of the Pandects will be found not unworthy of the silver age. It has been vehemently attacked by Laurentius Valla, a fastidius grammarian of the xvth century, and by his apologist Floridus Sabinus. It has been defended by Alciat and a nameless advocate (most probably James Capellus). Their various treatises are colle&ted by Duker (Opuscula de Latinitate veterum
Jurisconsultorum, Lugd, Bat. 1721, in 12*). terials,