The Jews in Roman Imperial Legislation

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Linder argues that the definition of law was rather fluid in the early Middle Ages; he has, therefore, chosen texts based upon early medieval definitions of legal sources. Linder presents a very comprehensive selection of sources, many of which repeat earlier legislation or insert and integrate older legislation within different historical and legal contexts. He has extracted clauses that deal specifically with Jews but has also, where appropriate, been careful to keep the clauses within their original contexts when they are part of a logical or ordered structure.

Several documents, for example, deal with Christian heretics or pagans, but form part of a larger discussion into which Jews must be placed. Linder has collected separate written legal sources, which he has divided into 1, selections. Each of the separate legal sources is prefaced by an introduction tracing the history and transmission of the source; additionally, each text selection is offered in the original language Greek, Latin, and several sources in Arabic as well as an English translation.

Linder also provides exact references, original incipits, rubrics, and translations of inscriptions. Frequently bibliographical materials are also given.

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The introductions are generally extensive and informative, though in some places a broader and perhaps non-legal context would aid the reader. The work includes useful indexes of Greek and Latin incipits, persons, places and subjects. A glossary of terms is not included but would have made the work even more accessible for non-specialists looking to utilize some of the sources in other contexts. An unknown error has occurred.

Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. It is more likely that they were taken from some intermediate source, such as collections of laws or, according to Seeck, from proceedings of law courts sitting in the principal administrative centers which heard appeals against decisions of the lower courts. The documents presented before these appellate courts incorporated the texts of laws as they were promulgated in those places and pre14 Regium was located in the diocese of the city of Rome, and appeals against verdicts given in Regium were heard in Rome; the version of a law published in Regium and cited during the appeal proceedings would be preserved in the Roman archives.

Versions of the laws promulgated in Colonia Agrippinensis were preserved, likewise, in Viennes, which for a certain time served as the administrative center of the Prefecture of Gaul. The presence of these texts in the Theodosian Code, therefore, resulted from the direct access of the compilers of the Code to the central archives in Italy and Gaul, rather than from access to small local archives in towns which at the time were in the hands of Germans, or in a state of destruction and decline.

Thirteen laws have survived in collections assembled by private indi viduals, whether administrators or professional jurists. Their advan tage as against the great codification projects derives from the fact that these collections usually preserved the complete texts of the laws. The collection of laws named after its first editor, J. Sirmond, is an excel lent example of a private collection which might have served as the connecting link between the local promulgation and the compilers of the Code. This collection includes the full texts of sixteen laws as they had been published in Gaul during the years , including Nos.

One text No. Two edicts of Marcian No. The Novels of Justinian were preserved in a large number of pri vate collections. The earliest of these, Epitome Iuliani, attributed to a professor of law from Constantinople and which enjoyed wide circula tion in the West, includes Latin translations of Novels from the years , including Nos. Another collection of Latin It encompasses Novels from the years , among them Nos.

The largest and the most complete collection, which gave the Greek version of the Novels, is the Collectio Novellarum. Two collections of summaries of Novels testify to the great interest shown by professional jurists in these laws. Sources of another type are the canonical collectionsgenerally ap pendices to canonical workssuch as Collectio XXV Capitulorum, composed after and containing 21 laws, including No.

Of a somewhat similar type are the "Nomocanons," collections which combine secular laws with canonical texts.

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The earliest example of this genre, Nomocanon L Titulorum, was apparently composed during the years in Antioch, and it also includes No. The most popular of this genre, Nomocanon XIV Titulorum, was composed between the years and by an unknown author, and includes Nos.

IV Codification Roman law generally, and the laws pertaining to the Jews in particular, were preserved for posterity as a result of the codification projects associated with the names of Theodosius II, Alaric II, and Justinian. These enterprises not only assured the preservation of Roman law into modern times, but also revived the legal force of texts which had been forgotten or lost. In the process they brought about important changes both in their text and content, with the aim of adjusting them to new circumstances.

A proper understanding of the role assured by these codifications in the preservation of Roman Law depends on the correct appreciation of their principal characteristics. This project originated in a law dated 26 March CTh It outlined a plan for the codification of the law into two codes, and for that purpose a nine member editorial committee was appointed. We do not know how far the committee advanced in its work, but in a law dated 20 December CTh Theodosius redefined his plan for codification, entrusting the project to a larger committee which was to consist of sixteen members.

The work of this committee was completed in , and on 15 February , Codex Theodosianus was promulgated in the East through a law, the First Novel of Theodosius II. The Code was promulgated in the West at the end of that same year, by its convey ance to the Roman Senate by the Praefectus Praetorio Faustus. Ac cording to Theodosius' First Novel, the Code went into effect on 1 January , from which date it was forbidden to present before the courts any law not included in this Code. Laws not found in the Code were declared to be false, excepting those concerning financial and military matters preserved in the registers of the Imperial court's admin istrative offices.

The Theodosian Code remained in force in the East until it was abrogated on 7 April together with Codex Gregorianus and Codex Hermogenianusin the Constitutio Summa Rei Publicae, the promulgation-law of the first edition of the Justinian Code which came into force on 16 April Lawyers and litigants were warned that were they to present in court laws derived from any of these three sources, they would be liable to punishment for falsification.

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  5. The highly efficient application of this ruling is demonstrated by the fact that, apart from several fragments preserved on papyrus, not even one Eastern manu script of the Code survived. The Code was practically abolished in the Visigoth Kingdom on 2 February , with the coming into effect of the Breviarium as the exclusive source of lawalthough this was not explic itly stated.


    The Counts were warned that they would be liable to suffer a death penalty or loss of property were they to allow the use of any other legal or legislative source in their courts. In other parts of the West the Code was never formally abrogated, and its legal status was comparable to that of other legal sources. Book 16 of the Code enjoyed the unique status of having been accepted by the Church as an authoritative source of canon law.

    The instructions given to the two editorial committees differred on The editors were in structed to collect all the general laws introduced since the reign of Constantine, to which category, indeed, most of the texts in the Code belonged. At the same time, it is clear that the editors were unable to gather all the general laws, because some of the material was lacking in the archives and registers available to them, due to their methods of collection, or because of incorrect distinction between general and non-general laws.

    In a law from the year No.

    The relevant laws enacted by Constantius, Valentinian, and Valens, which were still known in the chancellery in , were not included in the Code. Likewise, Eusebius mentioned a law by Constantine dealing with the ownership of Chris tian slaves by Jewsto which Theodosius II might have referred in a law from No.

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    The suppression of the laws of Julian the Apostate relating to the Jews such as No. The edi tors were not fully consistent in their attempts to eradicate the memory of Julian, as he was mentioned, together with Constantius II, in the inscription of No. His name had been removed from this text, however, in the Justinian Code. Thus, whether deliberately or not, the Theodosian Code re flected a choice among existing laws, rather than a comprehensive collection. However, after the closing of the Code there was hardly any incentive to preserve laws which had been rejected by the editors, as it had been clearly established in the First Novel of Theodosius II that one could no longer present in court any laws not included within the Codewith the exception, as noted, of texts relating to military, fiscal, or administrative matters preserved in the registers of the ad ministrative departments.

    Jurists and administrators were no longer interested, therefore, in their preservation. Laws accepted into the Code underwent a three-fold process of codi fication: 1 dating; 2 arrangement of the laws and of the partial texts into books and chapters by subject matter; 3 linguistic and content editing of the text, through deletions, additions, and corrections. The texts in the Code were to be arranged in chronological sequence in order to determine their validity under the rule that a later law super seded an earlier one.

    The dates of the legal documents made it pos sible to distinguish between authentic and forged documents, and therefore provided a criterion of authenticity. The date, which con sisted of the chronological location of the specific eventor docu mentin a recurrent constitutional cycle, i. This practice resulted in cases of contested validity when private documents were dated by the reign of rulers subsequently declared as illegitimate.

    Thus, it is clear that the date appearing upon legal docu ments had great significance. A law of Constantine from 26 July CTh stated, indeed, that edicts or laws constitutiones lacking indication of the day and the consulate are invalid. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the laws and the copies of the laws circulat ing in public were generally dated. At the same time, it is clear that from the fifth century on, Constantine's ruling on this matter was not scrupulously followed, and undated laws were to be found in circula tion and in legal practice.

    As a result, the compilers were often obliged to provide the dates for texts which lacked them, or whose dates were erroneous for various reasons, i. They used for this purpose the consular lists Fasti Consulares and dated legal texts contemporary with the undated ones. In the course of the reconstruction of their dates, serious errors crept into the texts. These errors were compounded when the complete and dated texts were divided into sections, and those sections subsequently rearranged in different chapters.

    The Roman imperial legislation prohibiting Jews from owning gentile slaves

    In the process of dividing the laws and rearrang ing their sections, the date of the original law was often copied par tially or incorrectly. As a consequence, the editors were forced, not infrequently, to reconstruct the dates of various texts on the basis of insufficient information. Additional errors were introduced into the texts in the process of transmitting the Theodosian Code.

    Of the 45 laws in the Theodosian Code dealing with the Jews only 31 are correctly dated. The dates given by three of the laws Nos. This information has much greater weight than the date itself in the process of reconstructing the chronology of the texts. For example: according to the Code, No. However, this date cannot be correct as in that office was held by Leontius; Philippus did not occupy this office before The dates of eleven laws relating to the Jews were distorted during the process of arranging the texts within the Code, and during its manuscript-transmission.

    Five became defective as the result of errors made by copyists who attributed different dates to various sections of the same law, exchanging Mai. The dates of issue and promulgation of two laws were combined Nos. Thus, No. The date given for No. The compilers' carelessness is evident in the faulty arrangement of Nos. Such a high percentage of incorrect dates25 percentrequires that the historian exercise a considerable measure of caution, not only in the use of the texts whose dates are known to be inexact, but even in the use of those whose dates have not yet been called into question.

    Systematic Arrangement The systematic arrangement of the laws into books and chapters ac cording to topic was one of the main aims of the entire project of codification. Theodosius II indicated in his First Novel that the inten tion of this arrangement was to facilitate the approach of jurists to this massive collection of legal information.

    The editors were instructed to subdivide laws dealing with several topics, and to arrange the sections by subject matter. As a result, and because of the obligation placed The degree to which these texts were abridged may be deter mined by comparing the texts given in the Code with the full versions of unabridged laws, such as the Third Novel of Theodosius II No. The compilers frequently left indications of their work of division by placing the words 'et cetera' at the end of one section, and the words 'post alia' at the beginning of the following one.

    These signs enable us to reconstruct the original law by recombining sections which had been arranged separatelyand which, at times, even appeared in separate chaptersby combining the first section which ended in 'et cetera' with the second which opened with 'post alia'. Often these signs of division have been left in only one of the texts, but even in such cases it is possible to reconstruct the original law by matching the prosopographic details, dates, and subjects. Complete agreement of prosopographic data with dates is not an absolute proof of a common ancestry in an original law; one must consider the pos sibility that two different laws were given at the same time by the same person.

    Both texts were issued by Gratian, both are addressed to Hypatius, both are dated the 18th or 19th of April the small discrepancy stemming from a copyist's error , and both concerned the question of exemptions from liturgies. There is no doubt that in the original law CTh appeared before CTh The reversal in order of the two sections within the same chapter, as if they were two separate laws, stemmed from the small error in dates.

    Reconstruction of the original law is also possible on the basis of indications of division in only one of the texts in the case of No.