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Gaius(gā`əs, gī`–), fl. 2d cent., Roman jurist. He is known for the Institutes (repr., 2 vol., 1967; Vol. I is a translation of the text, Vol. II consists of commentaries), a legal textbook that contributed materially to modern knowledge of early Roman law. It was much used in the compilation of the Corpus Juris CivilisCorpus Juris Civilis
, most comprehensive code of Roman law and the basic document of all modern civil law. Compiled by order of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, the first three parts appeared between 529 and 535 and were the work of a commission of 17 jurists presided over by the
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See study by A. M. Honore (1962).
Gaius(gā`yəs), in the New Testament. 1 Corinthian Christian, Paul's host. 2 Corinthian baptized by Paul. 3 Companion of Paul, native of Derbe. 4 Macedonian companion of Paul. 5 Christian to whom 3 John is addressed. It is not known which, if any, of these men are identical.
Dates of birth and death unknown. Roman jurist of the second century A.D., representative of the so-called Sabine school.
Gaius advocated absolute authority of the emperor and unlimited property rights for slave owners. Gaius’ principal work—the Institutes—is the classic exposition of Roman institutional law. This institutional system later became widespread in Europe, particularly in those countries, such as France and Italy, that had inherited Roman law. A Roman law adopted in A.D. 426 made the works of Gaius and four other Roman jurists (Modestinus, Papinian, Paulus, and Ulpian) a requirement for judges.