Shortly after JUSTINIAN 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 7 529 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 of the classical jurists (published on 16 December 533), the Codex Justinianus established a single code of incorporating all of the constitutions back to the time of the emperor Hadrian. 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 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.