Shortly after became emperor in 527, he began a major overhaul of the empire’s legal code. The first step in this process was the publication of the Codex Justinianus, a revision and expansion of Theodosian’s legal code. This volume was published on 7 April 529 by a commission under the direction of Justinian’s legal expert, Tribonian. A second, revised edition of the Code was published on 16 November 534.

Together with the Institutes (produced in 533), based on the legal text compiled by the second-century jurist Gaius, and the Digest, consisting of codified excerpts of the classical jurists (published on 16 December 533), the Codex Justinianus established a single code of law incorporating all of the constitutions back to the time of the emperor . Justinian added to, and modified, this code as necessary through more than 150 Novellae. The Code, Digest, Institutes, and Novellae are known collectively as the Corpus Iuris Civilis (1954).


  • Monro, C. H. trans. The Digest of Justinian, 2 vols. Cambridge, 1904-1909.
  • Sandars, T. C. The Institutes of Justinian. London, 1941.

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