The Theodosian Code Essay example

1241 Words Oct 9th, 2013 5 Pages
The Roman Empire was a marvelous civilization stretching from the far ends of the Mediterranean Sea to the nutrient rich soils of the Fertile Crescent and all the way north to what is now known as the United Kingdom. In fact, the empire was so expansive that there was a need for organized law; and so with each emperor there came new constitutions and decrees for the Roman people to follow. The Theodosian Code was just one of the many juristic materials that helped define Roman law and keep legal clarity until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 C.E.1This paper will define the contents of The Theodosian Code; show how the size and organization of the Roman Empire had an effect on the document; and examine how religion had influenced …show more content…
The two emperors then decided to appoint a group of jurists who would go on to rectify the issue in 429 C.E. The jurists fixed the problem by first collecting all laws that were still enforced since the reign of Constantine I and combined them with other juristic materials such as the Gregorian and Hermogenian Codes. This compilation process took a few years, so finally in the year 435 C.E. The Theodosian Code was finalized and made the supreme law of the Roman Empire.4 Overall the code was separated into 16 books. The books covered subjects such as private law, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, municipality laws, and public revenue laws. These books are composed of over 3,000 constitutions that were already in existence at the time of compilation.5 These constitutions are arranged “according to their subject, and under each subject according to the order of time.”6 The excerpt of the document provided by Andrea and Overfield pertains mostly to the religious part of The Theodosian Code.
The Roman Empire had existed for centuries before the implication of The Theodosian Code. Why did past Roman Emperors not see a need for legal clarity like Emperor Theodosius II saw in 429 C.E.? “The answer lies in the impetus provided by political circumstances, specifically the deterioration of relations between East and West during the early decades of the fifth century, and the determination in Constantinople after the

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