Gratian

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Gratian

, Roman emperor of the West
Gratian (grāˈshən), 359–83, Roman emperor of the West (375–83). At the death of his father, Valentinian I, he accepted the army's election of his brother, Valentinian II, as his colleague. Gratian took Britain, Gaul, and Spain as his own share of the empire and acted as guardian for Valentinian in Italy, Illyricum, and Africa. After the death of Valens (378), he made Theodosius I emperor of the East. Gratian fought successfully against the barbarians. He appointed St. Ambrose as an adviser and vigorously attacked paganism, ordering the removal of the altar of Victory from the senate house and the confiscation of the revenues of the vestal virgins and refusing the title pontifex maximus. Toward the end of his reign he neglected public affairs for hunting. In 383 he was assassinated by the followers of Maximus.

Gratian

, Italian legal scholar
Gratian, fl. 1140, Italian legal scholar, founder of the science of canon law. Almost nothing is known of his life beyond the fact that he was a monk, almost certainly Camaldolite, and that he taught at the convent of saints Felix and Nabor (San Felice) in Bologna. He was apparently very learned in scholasticism and Roman law. His great work, commonly known as the Decretum, appeared c.1140. It is a synthesis of church law, divided into three parts: the first deals with sources and principles of canon law and with ecclesiastical persons; the second, with ecclesiastical jurisdiction and property and to some extent with marriage and penance; the third, with sacraments and liturgy. Gratian, by his method, makes the compilation a systematic treatise; his commentaries, the dicta Gratiani, make up a large part of the work. The Decretum was used by the later popes and became the kernel of the Corpus juris canonici.

Bibliography

See study by S. Chodorow (1972).

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Gratian

Latin name Flavius Gratianus. 359--383 ad, Roman emperor (367--383): ruled with his father Valentinian I (367--375); ruled the Western Roman Empire with his brother Valentinian II (375-83); appointed Theodosius I emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (379)
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