Several good websites on Roman law make it less necessary to give here detailed and extensive information. I treat here successively of the history of Roman law, its structure, character and content, the sources – and modern translations – and the modern scientific literature. At the bottom of this page there are links to important sites on Roman law. There is also a small section on Byzantine law.
History of Roman law
The earliest history of Roman law is lost forever. Rome existed already as an Etruscan town in the eight century B.C. The first known source of Roman law are the Laws of the Twelve Tables from the mid-fifth century B.C., written in early Latin. After the period of the kings two consuls and the Senate governed Rome. Only few people knew something of the law before the Twelve Tables were erected to provide some legal security. Members of well-to-do families, most of them patricians and senators, gave juridical advice when asked for. The Senate itself proposed laws or voted on proposals of the consuls. More is known about the period of the Late Republic (200-30 B.C.). The praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, published each year his edict in which he announced how he would apply the laws. The censors had a legal task, too, the upholding of mores. From Cicero’s pleas and letters one gets a vivid picture of actual jurisdiction during the Late Republic. Legal experts started to write books. In this period Rome had grown from a tiny city state into a vast reign.
The Roman theatre at Orange with a marble statue of the emperor Augustus
During the Principate great jurists were active, who were sometimes employed by the emperor. Famous among them were Ulpian, Papinian, Paul and Julian. The mysterious Gaius wrote an introductory law book, the Institutes, almost the only completely surviving manual. The letters of governor Pliny show some of the legal questions he posed to the emperor. The praetorial edict became fixed. Emperor Theodosian tried to impose some legal order with his code of law. During the confusing times of the Late Imperium Justinian (early sixth century) tried to unify law by creating official collections on all levels. Imperial decrees were collected and edited into a new Code, followed by later decrees, the Novellae. Justinian also charged a committee with making an anthology of the classical Roman lawyers, the Digestae or Pandectae. To crown his achievement, Justinian decreed a manual of law compulsory for all legal education. His Institutes were written using Gaius’ Institutes. The Justinian compilation was the starting point for the new study, renewal and revival of Roman law during the Middle Ages.
The structure, character and content of Roman law
Roman law is first and foremost private law, law of and between citizens. In relation to it public law and the law of nations are less important. Roman law is concerned with the relationships between people, their legal actions, and the right they have on goods. Legal persons were in particular the fathers of families, the proverbial pater familias. They held great power over their wives, children and slaves. An important element is the law of procedure. The archaic Roman law was characterized by a lot of ritualized legal formulae to which one had to stick as close as possible. In a later phase one is able to choose one or more legal actions, a matter which called for interpretation: which action? Parties ruled their conflicts themselves. A judge only appeared in a final phase of the case. For centuries there were no courts. In the great public trials, like the ones in which Cicero became famous, his role was more akin to that of an orator than to the role of a modern solicitor.
Roman law is remarkable for the detailed yet succinct way one treated cases. One looked principally at things by dealing with concrete or imaginary cases (see the examples). This casuistic aspect is more important than any systematic view. One did not write a theory of damage, but about a car hitting someone on the Capitol (see D. 126.96.36.199). Of course one has tried to systematize Roman law. The great Roman lawyers treated all kind of cases when writing on several subjects or commenting the edict of the praetor. The real heart of Roman law was hereditary law. Apart from legal procedure, family law, the law of goods, and the law of obligations are the other main areas. The juridical content and level of Roman law has such quality that it has deeply influenced directly and indirectly lawyers of all times and places. It brought with it great prestige because of Roman history.
Sources of Roman law
During the ages many sources have been lost forever. Scholars divide the sources into pre-Justinian and Justinian, edited in the sixth century. One has reconstructed the Twelve Tables from the works of later lawyers. The praetorial edict has been transmitted in the same way, and could therefore be reconstructed. The Code of Justinian preserves decrees of earlier emperors. Thanks to their inscriptions we know which emperor pronounced which decree. The Digest was made from a large collection of legal works into an anthology centered mostly around some of the great classical lawyers. The inscription at every lex or law give a clue to its origin, and thus we know many of these authors and a number of their works. The laws have been organised around particular subjects in tituli. These tituli have been gathered into 50 libri. In some modern languages, including English, exist modern translations of the sources within the Corpus Iuris Civilis.
Justinian – versions at the Latin Library
- Iustiniani Digestae, Theodor Mommsen and Paul Krueger (eds.) (Berlin 1882; editio minor; many reprints; online in the Internet Archive (5th ed., Berlin 1888)
- Digesta Justiniani Augusti, P. Bonfante et alii (eds.) (2 vol., Milan 1908-1931)
- Digesten, J.E. Spruit, K.E.M. Bongenaar and R. Feenstra (eds.) (5 vol., The Hague-Zutphen 1994-2001; Corpus Iuris Civilis. Tekst en vertaling, II-VI) – Latin text and Dutch translation
- The Digest of Justinian, Alan Watson (ed.) (4 vol., Philadelphia, Pa., 1985; also translation only in two volumes (1997))
- Les cinquante livres du Digeste, Dominique Gaurier (ed.) (3 vol., Paris 2017), with also Lenel’s palingenesia of the Edictum perpetuum
- El Digesto de Justiniano, A. d’Ors et alii (3 vol., Pamplona 1968-1975)
- R. Knütel, O. Behrends (eds.), Corpus Iuris Civilis. Text und Übersetzung. Digesten (Heidelberg 1997-) – work in progress, available up to D. 34 (Band 5 (2012))
- English: The Digest of Justinian, Charles Henry Monro and William Warwick Buckland (ed.) (2 vol., Cambridge, 1909): vol. 1, vol. 2 (Internet Archive)
- French: H. Hulot et alii, Les cinquante livres du Digeste (…) (Metz-Paris 1803; reprint Aalen 1979), online, Histoire du Droit
- Italian: Iustiniani Augusti Digesta sive Pandectae, S. Schipani, L. Lantella, A. Petrucci et alii (eds.), online database (Università La Sapienza, Rome / CNR, Pisa) – Latin and Italian
For the online text of the Digest one can also consult the version in the Latin Library of the Packhard Humanities Institute; the concordances in this library help you to make quick textual comparisons with other texts. For the Justinian Digest Marton Ribrary has developed in 2020 a relational database which you can download and install.
- Iustiniani Institutiones, Paul Krüger (ed.) (Berlin 1872; editio stereotypa, online in the Internet Archive (5th ed., Berlin 1888))
- Instituten, by J.E. Spruit, K.E.M. Bongenaar and R. Feenstra (The Hague-Zutphen 1993; revised ed., Amsterdam 2007) – Latin text and Dutch translation
- De Instituten van Iustinianus, by A.C. Oltmans (4th ed., Haarlem 1967) – Latin text and Dutch translation
- Justinian’s Institutes, P. Birks and G. McLeod (London 1987)
- Corpus Iuris Civilis. Die Institutionen. Text und Übersetzung, R. Knütel and O. Behrends (4th ed., Heidelberg, etc., 2013)
- Institutes de Justinien, P. Cocatre-Zilgien and J.P. Coriat (Paris 2021)
- Las Instituciones de Justiniano, F. Hernández-Tejero Jorge (Granada 1998)
- Istituzioni di diritto romano. B. Testi, E. Nardi (Milan 1975)
- some older English translations are available in the Internet Archive, by T.C. Sandars (Chicago 1876); J.T. Abdy and Bryan Walker (Cambridge 1876)
- Institutes de l’empereur Justinien, H. Hulot (Metz-Paris 1806), online, Histoire du Droit
- Codex Iustinianus, Paul Krüger (ed.) (Berlin 1877; editio stereotypa; many reprints; online in the Internet Archive (5th ed., Berlin 1892)
- Codex Iustinianus, J.E. Spruit., J.M.J. Chorus and L. de Ligt (3 vol., Amsterdam 2005-2010; Corpus Iuris Civilis. Tekst en vertaling, VII-IX) – Latin text and Dutch translation
- Fred. H. Blume, The annotated Justinian Code, (University of Wyoming), revised by Bruce Frier, The Codex of Justinian. A New Annotated Translation, with Parallel Latin and Greek Text (3 vol., Cambridge. etc., 2016) – see also the digitized version at the website of the Hopper Law Library.
- French: Corps du droit civil en latin et en français: Code et Novelles de Justinien (…), H. Hulot et alii (3 vol., Metz-Paris 1806), online, Histoire du Droit
- Novellae, R. Schöll and G. Kroll (eds.) (Berlin 1895 – online in the Internet Archive; 5th ed., 1928; reprint 1954)
- Novellae, J.E. Spruit et alii (3 vol., Amsterdam 2011; Corpus Iuris Civilis. Tekst en vertaling, X-XII) – Latin text and Dutch translation
- Fred H. Blume, Introduction [and translation] of Justinian’s Novels (University of Wyoming)
- The Novels of Justinian. A complete annotated English translation, D. Miller and P. Sarris (2 vol., Cambridge, etc., 2018-2019)
- French: Corps du droit civil en latin et en français: Code et Novelles de Justinien (…), H. Hulot et alii (3 vol., Metz-Paris 1806), online, Histoire du Droit
The English translation by Samuel P. Scott of the Twelve Tables, the Digest, Code, the Novellae, the Institutes of Gaius and of Justinian is available online: The Civil Law, including the Twelve Tables… (17 vol., Cincinnati 1932). You can read more about translations of Roman legal texts in a post from 2011 on my blog.
In Spanish you can consult online the translation of the Institutes, Codex, the Digest and the Novellae by Ildefonso L. García del Corral, Cuerpo del derecho romano a doble texto (…) (6 vol., Barcelona 1889-1898; reprint Valladolid 1988), online at the Biblioteca Juridica Virtual (UNAM, Ciudad de México) and most easily accessible through the Edictum website of Norberto Darío Rinaldi (Universidad de Buenos Aires).
Heino Speer offers at Corpus Iuris Civilis: Gliederung several versions of Justinian’s texts, with also a nineteenth-century German translation [Das Corpus Iuris Civilis in’s Deutsche übersetzt, Karl Eduard Otto et alii (eds.) (7 vol., Leipzig 1830-1833)], and concordances for the Digest and the Codex, including an alphabetical list of initia. The Repertorium utriusque iuris by Denis Muzerelle offers a very useful online overview of the tituli, distinctiones and other divisions of the major texts in Roman law and medieval canon law which helps also for identifying texts.
Pre-Justinian legal sources
- Theodosiani libri XVI cum constitutionibus Sirmondianis, Th. Mommsen and P. Meyer (eds.) (2 vol., Berlin 1905; last reprint 1971) – online, The Latn Library; vol. 2, Internet Archive – the text of Mommsen and Meyer is also online at the Projet Volterra (only bks. 1-8) and in the Internet Archive
- ed. Paul Krüger (Berlin 1923-1926 – only books I-VIII, online, Hathi Trust Digital Library (U.S. proxy needed)
- See among earlier editions in particular the edition by Jacques Godefroy (6 vol., Leipzig 1736-1745), online at Lille
- The Theodosian Code…, Cl. Pharr (Princeton 1952)
- Gaii Institutiones, G. Studemund and P. Krüger (eds.) (7th ed., Berlin 1923) – online, The Latin Library; see also this searchable version at the Intratext Library.
- Gaii Institutiones, M. David and H.L.W. Nelson (Leiden 1948)
- Gaius. Institutiones, U. Manthe (ed. and transl.) (Stuttgart 2004)
Some translations with facing text:
- De Instituten van Gaius by A.C. Oltmans (3rd ed., Haarlem 1967);
- De Instituten van Gaius by J.E. Spruit and K.E.M. Bongenaar (Zutphen 1982; 2nd ed., 1994)
- W.M. Gordon and O.F. Robinson, The Institutes of Gaius (London 1988)
- Le Istituzioni di Gaio, M. Balzarini (Turin 1998; 2nd ed., 2000)
- Gaius, Institutes, J. Reinach (Paris 1950, reprint 1979)
Other resources before Justinian:
- Fontes Iuris Romani Anteiustiniani [FIRA], C. Ferrini, G. Baviera and S. Riccobono (eds.) (2 vol., Florence 1909; 2nd ed., 3 vol., Florence 1941-1943; reprint 1964-1968)
Many of these texts appear with Dutch translations in: J.E. Spruit and K.E.M. Bongenaar, Het erfdeel van de klassieke Romeinse juristen (4 vol., Zutphen 1982-1987). For some texts an older translation is given in Le Trésor de l’ancienne jurisprudence romaine (…), H. Hulot e.a. (Metz -Paris 1811; reprint Aalen 1979), online, Histoire du Droit
- Otto Lenel, Palingenesia iuris civilis I-II (Leipzig 1889; vol. 1 and vol. 2, Internet Archive) – reprint 1961 with additions by L.E. Sierl, reprint Rome 2000
- Otto Lenel, Das Edictum perpetuum. Ein Versuch seiner Wiederherstellung (3rd ed., Leipzig 1927, online, Internet Archive; reprint Aalen 1956, 1974).
There exist two modern editions of Roman statutes:
- Roman statutes, Michael H. Crawford (ed.) (2 vol., London 1996).
- Die Gesetze der frühen römischen Republik. Text und Kommentar, Dieter Flasch (ed.) (Darmstadt 2004).
- Leges Populi Romani, CNRS/Université Paris-I – a project for creating a database for researching the nearly 900 known Roman laws, with a fine bibliography
A number of other sources is also available online:
- Leges duodecim tabularum – the Laws of the Twelve Tables, 451 B.C., using the edition of Bruns and Gradenwitz – see also the version in The Latin Library, and the searchable version at IntraText
- Leges duodecim tabularum – the edition by Salvatore Riccobono, adapted and translated by Christian Gizewski
- Senatusconsultum de bacchanalibus – 186 B.C. – also online in The Latin Library
- Diocletian, Edictum de pretiis rerum venalium – 301 A.D., the famous price edict.
- E-texts of Roman law – a collection of Roman law texts, University of Grenoble.
- Intratext Digital Library – the versions of the Institutiones Gaii, the Institutiones Iustiniani, the Codex and the Digest are very good searchable
- Notitia dignitatum – the text of this source, bibliographies and much more – see also the searchable version at Intratext
For the laws of the Twelve Tables you can now also use the new edition and translation La Loi des XII tables. Édition et commentaire, M. Humbert (ed.) (Rome 2018). Senatusconsulta are the subject of Edoardo Volterra, Materiali per una raccolta dei senatusconsulta (753 a.C. – 312 d.C.), A. Terrinoni and P. Buongiorno (eds.) (Rome-Münster 2018).
Amanuensis is a tool providing you at your computer or as an app on your smartphone with a database containing Roman legal texts based on the corpus created by Josef Menner (Linz); its interface can be tuned to many languages. More texts will be added in the future.
At DigilibLT: Biblioteca digitali di testi latini tardoantichi (Università di Piemonte Orientale) with an Italian and English interface you can both read – and after registration download – several legal texts from Late Antiquity as PDF or TEI files; there is a PDF in English with an overview of the texts included and the editions used (e.g. FIRA II).
The famous Codex Florentinus of the Digest, a sixth-century manuscript with a truly chequered history, is discussed here in the context of medieval law.
- Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford 1968-1976) – juridical terms are well covered here.
- Heumann, H.G., and E. Seckel, Handlexikon zu den Quellen des römischen Rechts (4th ed., Jena 1907; reprint Graz 1971) – very useful; the edition 1926 is available online (Universidad Sevilla, PDF, 80 MB).
- Dunand, J., Lexique de droit romain (Brussels 2006).
- Logeion, University of Chicago – online Greek and Lation dictionaries, in connection with Perseus under Philologic, an offspring of the Perseus Digital Library for texts from Classical Antiquity
One could mention lots of books. First of all some introductory books that do not aim only at lawyers:
- Crook, J.A., Law and life in Rome (2nd ed., London-Ithaca, NY, 1978) – very readable.
- Watson, Alan, The spirit of Roman law (Atlanta, GA, 1995).
- Alföldy, Géza, Römische Sozialgeschichte (3rd ed., Wiesbaden 1984).
- Bürge, Alfred, Römisches Privatrecht (Darmstadt 1999) – fresh and original, starting from procedure.
- Julien Extabe (ed.), A cultural history of law in Antiquity (London 2018).
Mentioning particular titles is often dictated by tradition. For the “external” history:
- Spruit, J.E., Bibliografie Romeins recht. Wegwijzer tot de bronnen, hulpmiddelen en literatuur (Zutphen 1988).
- Spruit, J.E., Enchiridium. Overzicht van de geschiedenis van het Romeinse privaatrecht (3rd ed., Deventer 1992).
- Wieacker, Franz, Römische Rechtsgeschichte 1, Einleitung, Quellenkunde. Frühzeit und Republik (Munich 1988); 2, Die Jurisprudenz vom frühen Prinzipat bis zum Ausgang der Antike im weströmischen Reich und die oströmische Rechtswissenschaft bis zur Justinianischen Gesetzgebung : ein Fragment (Munich 2006).
- Jolowicz, H., and B. Nicholas, A historical introduction to the study of Roman law (3rd ed., Cambridge, etc., 1972).
- Wenger, Leopold, Die Quellen des römischen Rechts (Vienna 1953).
- Schulz, Fritz, History of Roman legal science (2nd ed., Oxford 1953) – an updated German translation: Geschichte der römischen Rechtswissenschaft (Weimar 1961; reprint Leipzig 1975).
- Liebs, Detlev, Die Jurisprudenz im spätantiken Italien (Berlin 1987).
- Tellegen-Couperus, Olga, A short history of Roman law (2nd ed., London-New York 1993).
- Fögen, Marie Theres, Römische Rechtsgeschichten. Über Ursprung und Evolution eines sozialen Systems (Göttingen 2002).
- Johnston, David (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Roman Law (Cambridge, etc., 2015) – essays on several aspects of Roman law and its history.
- Du Plessis, Paul, Clifford Ando and Kaius Tuori (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to Roman Law and Society (Oxford, etc., 2016).
- New frontiers. Law and soceity ion the Roman world, Paul du Plessis (ed.) (Edinburgh 2013; online) – a volume with essays giving you an idea of the wide range of subjects touched by Roman law.
On the “internal” history, the dogmatic side of Roman (private) law, many manuals have appeared. Think for instance of the books by German scholars from the 19th century Pandektistik, such as Britz, Dernburg, Vangerow, and Windscheid. Here just some titles:
- Mommsen, Theodor, Römisches Staatsrecht (Berlin 1877; reprint 1971).
- Bleicken, J., Die Verfassung der römischen Republik (7th ed., Paderborn 1995).
- Kaser, Max, Das Römische Privatrecht (2 vol.: I, 2nd ed., Munich 1971; II: 2nd ed., Munich 1975).
- Kaser, Max, Römisches Privatrecht, Rolf Knütel (ed.) (17th ed., Munich 2003) – translated into many languages.
- Kaser, Max, Das römische Zivilprozessrecht (Munich 1966) – the standard work on Roman civil procedure.
- Oven, J.C. van, Leerboek van Romeinsch privaatrecht (3rd ed., Leiden 1948).
- Schulz, Fritz, Classical Roman law (Oxford 1961).
- Feenstra, Robert, Romeinsrechtelijke grondslagen van het Nederlands privaatrecht (4th ed., Leiden 1984).
- Spruit, J.E., Cunabula iuris (Deventer 2001).
- Ibbetson, D.J., A history of the law of obligations (Cambridge, etc., 1999) – written from a Common Law perspective.
The several parts of the Corpus Iuris Romani and related sources have been the object of numerous studies, here a selection of recent work:
- Ernest Metzger, A Companion to Justinian’s Institutes (London 1998, 2002).
- A.J.B. Sirks, The Theodosian code: a study (Friedrichsdorf 2007).
- José María Coma Fort, Codex Theodosianus: historia de un texto (Madrid 2014) – also online (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; PDF, 3,8 MB).
Some relevant book series are partuially or completely accessible online in open access:
- Münchener Beiträge zur Papyrusforschung und antiken Rechtsgeschichte, C.H. Beck – Open Edition – volumes from 2008 onwards
Important scientific journals on Roman law are:
- Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Romanistische Abteilung – since 1880
- Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis – since 1918 – the online version offers some articles in open access
- Studia et Documenta Historiae et Iuris – since 1935
- Revue Internationale des Droits de l’Antiquité – since 1948; issues of the troisième série (1978-) are being digitized, see also this site for the years 1965-1998
- Iura. Rivista internazionale di diritto romano e antico – since 1950
- Labeo. Rassegna di diritto romano – since 1955
- Groninger Opmerkingen en Mededelingen – since 1984 – Roman law and Dutch legal history
- Forum Historiae Iuris – since 1997; open access
- Roman Legal Tradition – since 2002; open access
- Revista Internacional de Derecho Romano – since 2008; open access
- Subseciva Groningana. Studies in Roman and Byzantine Law – since 1984; open access
- The Journal of Juristic Papyrology – since 1946; open access
First some bibliographical websites:
- DRoits ANTiques database, Strasbourg – several databases here concern Classical Antiquity
- Ius Romanum, Bibliographica Latina Selecta, Marc van der Poel, Nijmegen – a succinct bibliography of the main current bibliographies, source editions and recent studies (last update 2020)
- Bibliography Roman law-Criminal law / Bibliographie Droit pénal (Rome), François Lareau, Ottawa – a very extensive bibliography, last update in 2013
- Gnomon Bibliographische Datenbank, Universität Eichstätt – see also the new version (interface German and English)
- Ancient World Open Bibliographies, University of Georgia – a guide to (online) bibliographies, see also the earlier blog version and the Zotero version
- Bibliographies: Law, Diotíma-Docta Femina – a bibliography on women in ancient law and society; other bibliographies at Diotíma focus for example on slavery
- TOCS-IN: Tables of Contents of Journals of Interest to Classicists, University of Toronto en Université Catholique de Louvain – with both an English and a French search interface
- Bulletin Analytique d’Histoire Romaine (BAHR), Université de Strasbourg and Huma-Num
There is a wide variety of other interesting websites:
- Berolini website – this website at Groningen is often mistaken for the official site of the legal history department at Groningen
- Ius Civile – website at Aberdeen, also for the later periods of Roman law
- Arbeitsmittel zur Digestenexegese, Gero Dolezalek, Universität Leipzig – a useful overview of mainly older editions and literature for studying Roman law, albeit partially with abbreviated titles
- Leopold-Wenger-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte, München, Abteilung A, Antike Rechtsgeschichte – links and practical information for the field of ancient law (including Greek and cuneiform law)
- Ius Romanum – a website at Saarbrücken with even a version in Latin
- Roman law, Oxford LibGuides, Bodleian Libraries – a well-structured guide
- The Roman Law Library, Université de Grenoble – a portal for Roman law and antiquity, with a very rich choice of texts, bibliographies, link collections and an extensive overview of digitized literature; you will find many works from the nineteenth century, but also the Corpus Iuris Civilis with medieval glosses, and authors like Donellus, Noodt, Vinnius and Pothier
- Projet Volterra – a website on Roman legislation maintained by University College London and the British Academy, with now also a fine compact web guide to Roman law
- Bibliotheca Classica Selecta-Droit – the website of Jacques Poucet, Brussels, with many links
- Vinitor – this website was started by the late Roger Vigneron, Liège
- Bibliotheca legum, Karl Ubl, Cologne – a project for early medieval law in France, with attention to Roman legal texts, for example the Codex Theodosianus
- Borkowski’s Textbook on Roman Law – Study Guide – an online companion and guide accompanying this textbook edited by Paul du Plessis (Edinburgh)
- The Roman Law Network, University of Sydney – een portal in statu nascendi
- Mary Lefkowitz and Maureen Font (eds.), Women’s life in Ancient Greece and Rome. A Sourcebook in Translation (2nd ed., Baltimore 1992) – with sections on Legal status in the Roman world and Legal status in the Greek world
- Roman Water Law, Topoi, Berlin – a database with nearly 600 texts about a great variety of aspects of water management and control; note also the other projects on ancient and medieval history, architecture and archaeology at Topoi
- Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur, Mainz – a project with among other things a dictionary on slavery and an online bibliography
- Esclaves et dépendants, Institut des Sciences et Techniques de l’Antiquité, Besançon – a database for a restricted number of Latin literary texts
- Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum, Institut des Sciences et Techniques de l’Antiquité, Besançon – a digital library with modern editions of these legal texts
- Trials in the Late Roman Republic – a database based on Michael Alexander’s Trials in the Roman Republic 149 BC to 50 BC (1990, 2nd ed., 2007) and extended by him, Tracy Deline and Federico Russo
- Infames Romani, Clément Bur, PoolCorpus, Institut National Universitaire Champollion (Albi-Rodez-Castres) – a prosopographic database with persons linked to infamia between 312 BCE en 96 CE, a fruit from his PhD thesis La citoyenneté dégradée : une histoire de l’infamie à Rome (312 av. J.-C. – 96 apr. J.-C.) (Rome 2018)
- Roman Bastards Database. Maria Nowak and Małgorzata Krawczyk, Uniwersytet Warszawski – a database for searching evidence on illegitimate children in the early Roman empire
- Digital Prosopography of the Roman Republic (DPRR), King’s College, Londo
- Prosopographia Imperii Romani, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften – a database version of the biographical lexicon for the first three centuries of the Roman empire
Some general links to research in the field of Classical Antiquity:
- Propylaeum-Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Altertumswissenschaften – a portal for the various disciplines dealing with classical Antiquity, interface in German and English
- KIRKE, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin – a database for searching online information and resources concerning classical Antiquity
- Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University – a website with searchable classical texts; there is an advanced version, Perseus under PhiloLogic
- Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, Charles Daremberg and Edmund Saglio (eds.) (5 parts in 10 vol., Paris, 1877-1919) – online at Toulouse
- Ancient World Digital Library. New York University – with some works on Roman law
- Classics Resources – a useful overview of the main online resources for studying classical Antiquity
- The Digital Classicist Wiki – a portal to classical Antiquity and digital humanities
- AWOL – The Ancient World Online, Charles E. Jones, PennState University – this blog helps you to track new editions, studies and journals in open access
- Open access resources, Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, London – a splendid overview of sources and databases in open access
Roman law lived on in the Eastern Roman Empire until 1453. The Byzantine empire covered during long periods large parts of Eastern Europe and Asia Minor. To this empire we owe the transmission of earlier Roman legal sources. In this section – with thanks to Daphne Penna (Groningen) – I would like to point to some recent introductions to Byzantine legal history and the most important legal sources.
First some introductions:
- R. Meijering and D. Penna, A sourcebook on Byzantine law. Illustrating Byzantine law through the sources (Leiden-Boston 2022) – also online, with a bibliography in open access
- N. van der Wal and J.H.A. Lokin, Historiae graeco-romani iuris delineatio. Les sources du droit byzantin de 300 à 1453 (Groningen 1985)
- S. Troianos, Οι Πηγές του Βυζαντινού Δικαίου (2. ed., Athens 2011) – P. Buongiorno (transl.), Le fonti del diritto bizantino (Turin 2015); D. Simon and S. Neye (transl.), Die Quellen des byzantinischen Rechts, Berlin-Boston 2017)
- J.H.A. Lokin and B.H. Stolte (eds.), Introduzione al diritto bizantino. Da Giustiniano a Basilici (Pavia 2011)
- B.H. Stolte, ‘Byzantine Law: The Law of the New Rome’, in: H. Pihlajamäki, M.D. Dubbe and M. Godfrey (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History (Oxford 2018) pp. 229–248.
Two recent articles provide you with bibliographical information:
- Th.E. van Bochove, A Bibliography of Byzantine Law, A: Books on Byzantine Law, New, Revised and Augmented Edition – published 5 January 2021 on Academia.edu
- Th.E. van Bochove, Bibliography of Byzantine Law, B: Articles on Roman and Byzantine Law, History and Culture – new, extended version published 10 June 2021 on Academia.edu
The Basilica is a Greek translation and reworking of the Justinian compilation, with important scholia (glosses). The online version has a bibliography by Th. van Bochove and a new praefatio by B.H. Stolte, both in open access.:
- G.E. and C.G.E. Heimbach et alii (eds.), Basilicorum Libri LX (8 vol., Leipzig 1833-1897) – vol. 1-7 online, Hathi Trust Library – with a Latin translation and a substantial number of scholia
- H.J. Scheltema, D. Holwerda and N. van der Wal (eds.), Basilicorum libri LX (17 vol., Groningen-The Hague 1955-1988) – Basilica Online, a licensed resource – the version within the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae lacks the notes and prefaces
- Edition und Bearbeitung byzantinischer Rechtsquellen, Akademie der Wissenschaftem. Göttingen – a small but important digital library with studies and some editions, in particular the Fontes Minores. Forschungen zur byzantinischen Rechtsgeschichte (13 vol. Frankfurt am Main-Berlin 1976–2021)
Some recent text editions:
- Ecloga. Das Gesetzbuch Leons III. und Konstantinos V., L. Burgmann (ed.) (Frankfurt am Main 1983) – also online (PDF)
- Ecloga Basilicorum, L. Burgmann (ed.) (Frankfurt am Main 1988)
- Das Novellensyntagma des Athanasios von Emesa, D. Simon and S. Troianos (eds. and transl.) (Frankfurt am Main 1989)
- J. Signes Codoñer and F.J. Andrés Santos (eds.), La Introducción al Derecho (Eisagoge) del Patriarca Focio (Madrid 2007)
- Theophili antecessoris Paraphrasis Institutionum, J.H.A. Lokin et alii (eds.), A.F. Murison (transl.) (Groningen 2010)
- Ἡ Πεῖρα – Die Peira : Ein juristisches Lehrbuch des 11. Jahrhunderts aus Konstantinopel – Text, Übersetzung, Kommentar, Glossar, D. Simon and D. Roderich Reinsch (eds. and transl.) (2 vol., Berlin-Boston 2022)
The volumes of the Repertorium der Handschriften des byzantinischen Rechts have been used for the Pinakes repertory of Greek manuscripts:
- I: Die Handschriften des weltlichen Rechts (Nr. 1-327), L. Burgmann et alii (eds.) (Frankfurt am Main 1995) – there is an archived PDF version of the repertory
- II: Die Handschriften des kirchlichen Rechts I (Nr. 328-427), A. Schminck and D. Getov (eds.) (Frankfurt am Main 2010)
- III: Die Handschriften des kirchlichen Rechts II (Nr. 428-527): Auswahl an Handschriften der Kanonessammlungen mit durchgängigen Kommentaren des Alexios Aristenos, Ioannes Zonaras und Theodoros Balsamon, A. Schminck and D. Getov (eds.) (Frankfurt am Main 2017) – the re[ertory can be found also as a PDF in Göttingen
Digitized Greek manuscripts can be found using a database of Princeton University Library, and also a database for searching modern translations of Byzantine sources with attention to the Corpus Iuris Civilis.