Corpus Juris Civilis

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A page from a print of 1663.

The Corpus Iuris Civilis (sometimes also called Corpus Juris Civilis) is a collection of laws regarding Roman civil law. It was first compiled in the 6th century, during the reign of Iustinan I. After the fall of the Roman empire it was mostly forgotten. It was re-discovered in the 11th century. During the Middle Ages it was an important source of civil law for most countries in Europe.

The corpus juris civilis has several parts:

  • Institutiones Iustiniani: a work to teach about law, which was published with the corpus. Not to be confused with the Institutiones Gai, by Gaius
  • Digest (Roman law): a summary of Roman law which was valid at the time
  • Codex Iustinianus: a collection of laws by Iustinian (2nd century) which were still in use
  • Novellae: Imperial laws, most of them in Ancient Greek. There was a Latin version, but it was lost for most texts.