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Post-Classical Roman Law

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  1. Introduction
  2. The themes highlighted
  3. Attitudes of the characters and mafia
  4. Sequence analysis

The post-classical Roman law corresponds to the last period of Roman history, called the Lower Empire or Late Antiquity, stretching from the accession of Diocletian to the death of Justinian (284-565).

This period was marked by the triumph of imperial absolutism in politics. The prince became an all-powerful master (dominus): he wielded divine power, he wears a tiara and a scepter, his palace is sacred, his subjects prostrate themselves before him and the court is subject to a strict etiquette.

There are also a quasi-monopoly legislation of the Emperor and the generalization of a hierarchical judicial system, entrusted to the imperial officials. The dominus is both "living law" and "source of all justice."

His grip on the sources and the sanction of the law is unparalleled in the history of ancient Rome. Under the Lower Empire, the Emperor is presented as a divine being, of divine essence, which sets it apart. It can easily exclude rival powers such as the Senate and become the only source of law.

In the fourth century, the proconsul of Constantinople and Themistios makes him even the law personified. Its decisions, which are intended to regulate all bear the name of laws or constitutions of which there are several categories: my edicts and pragmatic sanctions, less formal, are measures of general scope; decrees are judgments rendered by the Emperor authoritative; re-scripts are answers to questions posed by individuals, officials and judges; mandates, finally, are instructions to officials.

Tags: Post-Classical Roman law, Lower Empire, Late Antiquity, Constantinople

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