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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the name of the elementary textbooks of Roman jurists, which provided a systematic survey of the law in effect (primarily private law).

The oldest extant are the Institutes of the second-ceretury Roman jurist Gaius. A palimpsest containing Gaius’ Institutes beneath the texts of Hieronymus’ epistles (eighth or ninth century) was discovered in the library of the Cathedral of Verona in 1816 by the German historian Niebuhr. Part of the faulty text has been filled in from individual fragments found in Alexandria in 1933. In Gaius’ opinion, any law relates either to persons, or to things (obligations are also included), or to legal actions. Such a system of presenting material was termed “institutional.”

In ancient Rome, in addition to Gaius’ Institutes, there were those of Martial, Callistratus, Paul, and Ulpian. In the sixth century the Institutes of Justinian were based on Gaius’ Institutes, supplemented by materials from other classical jurists.

The institute system became widespread in bourgeois states. For example, its principles were at the basis of the French Civil Code of 1804 (the Napoleonic Code).


Zom, R. Institutsii: Uchebnik, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1908–10. (Translated from German.)
Institutsii Gaia. Warsaw, 1892. (Latin text and translation with introduction and notes by F. Dydinskii.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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