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(Aemilius Papinianus) (pəpĭn`ēən), d. 212, Roman jurist. He was a close friend of the Roman emperor Septimius SeverusSeverus
or Septimius Severus
(Lucius Septimius Severus) , 146–211, Roman emperor (193–211), b. Africa. He was campaigning in Pannonia and Illyria when the emperor Commodus was murdered.
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, under whom he was libellorum magister [master of the rolls] and later Praetorian prefect; but Severus' son CaracallaCaracalla
, 188–217, Roman emperor (211–17); son of Septimius Severus. His real name was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and he received his nickname from the caracalla, a Gallic tunic he regularly wore.
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 had Papinian put to death for reasons that are obscure. Papinian was a jurist of enormous erudition, perhaps the greatest figure in Roman lawRoman law,
the legal system of Rome from the supposed founding of the city in 753 B.C. to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in A.D. 1453; it was later adopted as the basis of modern civil law.
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, and a stern moralist. A constitution of Theodosius II and Valentinian (426) reflects the Roman attitude toward him: five jurists (and the authors whom they quoted) were set up as the sole authorities to be cited—Paulus, Gaius, Ulpian, Modestinus, and Papinian. If they were not unanimous the majority was to prevail, but, in case of equal division, the opinion of Papinian was to decide. His chief works were Quaestiones (37 books), Responsa (19 books), Definitiones (2 books), and De adulteriis (2 books). They are known through quotations in the Theodosian Code and in the Digest 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 H. F. Jolowicz, Roman Foundations of Modern Law (1957); B. W. Frier, The Rise of the Roman Jurists (1985).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Aemilius Papinianus). Born circa A.D. 150; died circa 212. Roman jurist.

Papinian held high state positions, including the post of praetorian prefect. His works, especially Quaestiones and Responsa, represent a high point in the development of Roman law. Papinian is noteworthy for his understanding of practical needs and his ability to relate particular cases to general legal principles. His works are written in a brilliant legal style, his statements are concise and exact, and his conclusions are logical and well founded. The Law of Citations (A.D. 426) included 595 fragments from the works of Papinian, giving the force of law to the writings of Papinian and those of four other great jurists.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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will reproach Caracalla to his face and will choose death rather than obedience: 'Even if Phalaris himself orders him to be false, and to dictate perjuries under threat of roasting alive." (14) Drawing from the Scriptores historiae Augustae, Mornay inserts his allusion to the beastly Phalaris within the context of Roman imperial history -- the story of the Emperor Caracalla's murder of his brother Geta, and the refusal of the praetorian prefect, Aemilius Papinianus, to compose a speech to the senate in justification of that murder.