Pierre Jaillette

A New Kind of collection: the Law Code

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When the Theodosian Code came into force in January 439, it did not prevent any further normative production on the part of the chancelleries of Constantinople and Ravenna, but from then onwards the newlypromulgated laws in one part of the Empire were to be enforced in the other only on condition that they be sent through a pragmatic sanction. This decision, which was made by Theodosius II, can be found in a section of the decree implementing the Code sent to Florentius, Prefect of the Orient, on 15 February 438, the latter being entrusted with the mission to publicise the contents of the text to whoever it concerned. We learn about this measure through the "sylloge Maioriani", a set of Novels by Theodosius II, Valentinian III and Majorian, compiled under the latter's reign. Recorded under the heading of "De Theodosiani codicis auctoritate", the constitution sheds new light on the manifold reasons which urged the Emperor to initiate an official record of the constitutions written since Constantine and then to have it drawn up in his own name, its main purpose being to expound civil law, these being the basic reasons why it is so interesting.


  • Theodosius II
  • Novel
  • Code
  • Civil Law


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