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Corpus Juris Civilis

Corpus Juris Civilis (kôrˈpəs jo͝oˈrĭs sĭvīˈlĭs), 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 eminent jurist Tribonian. The Corpus Juris was an attempt to systematize Roman law, to reduce it to order after over 1,000 years of development. The resulting work was more comprehensive, systematic, and thorough than any previous work of that nature, including the Theodosian Code. The four parts of the Corpus Juris are the Institutes, a general introduction to the work and a general survey of the whole field of Roman law; the Digest or Pandects, by far the most important part, intended for practitioners and judges and containing the law in concrete form plus selections from 39 noted classical jurists such as Gaius, Paulus, Ulpian, Modestinus, and Papinian; the Codex or Code, a collection of imperial legislation since the time of Hadrian; and the Novels or Novellae, compilations of later imperial legislation issued between 535 and 565 but never officially collected. Because it was published in numerous editions, copies of this written body of Roman law survived the collapse of the Roman empire and avoided the fate of earlier legal texts—notably those of the great Roman jurist Gaius. With the revival of interest in Roman law (especially at Bologna) in the 11th cent., the Corpus Juris was studied and commented on exhaustively by such scholars as Irnerius. Jurists and scholars trained in this Roman law played a leading role in the creation of national legal systems throughout Europe, and the Corpus Juris Civilis thus became the ultimate model and inspiration for the legal system of virtually every continental European nation. The name Corpus Juris Civilis was first applied to the collection by the 16th-century jurist Denys Godefroi.

Bibliography

See H. F. Jolowicz, Historical Introduction to the Study of Roman Law (2d ed. 1952) and Roman Foundations of Modern Law (1957); A. T. Von Mehren, The Civil Law System (1957).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Digest

 

(Digesta or Pandekta), the main part of the Byzantine codification of law, known by its final name as the Compendium of Civil Law (Corpus juris civilis). The Digest was compiled by a commission of jurists directed by Tribonian and was published in 533 during the reign of Emperor Justinian. The Digest has a total volume of about 120 printed sheets. It is a systematic collection of fragments from the works of the classical Roman jurists. It is divided into 50 books, each of which is divided into titles that consist of fragments (or leges). The best-known jurists cited in the Digest are Quintus Mucius Scaevola, Labeo, Proculus, Priscus, Celsus, Julianus, Pomponius, Gaius, Papinian, Paulus, Ulpian, and Modestinus. About 70 percent of the Digest consists of excerpts from the works of the five most important jurists (Papinian, Paulus, Ulpian, Gaius, and Modestinus), whose works were made obligatory by Roman law 426.

The basic content of the Digest is private law, regulating property, family, inheritance, and obligatory legal relationships. Criminal and procedural law is contained in the so-called terrible books (47th, 48th, and part of the 49th). The Digest also presents some general problems of the history and the theory of law and of certain institutions of public law.

The Digest is the most important, and sometimes the only, source of information about ancient and late Roman law. In the 18th and 19th centuries it served as the primary source for the reintroduction of Roman law and played an important part in the development of the bourgeois theory of law and civil law.

REFERENCE

Pereterskii, I. S. Digesty lustiniana. Moscow, 1956.

Z. M. CHERNILOVSKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

digest

a compilation of rules of law based on decided cases
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

digest

A periodical collection of messages which have been posted to a newsgroup or mailing list. A digest is prepared by a moderator who selects articles from the group or list, formats them and adds a contents list. The digest is then either mailed to an alternative mailing list or posted to an alternative newsgroup.

Some news readers and electronic mail programs provide commands to "undigestify" a digest, i.e. to split it up into individual articles which may then be read and saved or discarded separately.
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digest

(1) A compilation of all the traffic on a news group or mailing list. Digests can be daily or weekly.

(2) Any compilation or summary. See cryptographic hash function.
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