ENACTMENTS OF JUSTINIAN.
|S e c o n d P r e f a c e
CONCERNING THE CONFIRMATION OF THE CODE OF JUSTINIAN.
( S. P. Scott, The Civil Law, XII, Cincinnati, 1932 ).
The maintenance of the integrity of the government depends upon two things, namely, the force of arms and the observance of the laws: and, for this reason, the fortunate race of the Romans obtained power and precedence over all other nations in former times, and will do so forever, if God should be propitious; since each of these has ever required the aid of the other, for, as military affairs are rendered secure by the laws, so also are the laws preserved by force of arms. Therefore, We have, with reason, directed Our attention, Our aims, and Our labors, in the first place, to the maintenance of the public welfare, and have corrected matters relating to the army in many ways, and thus provided for everything; as We have by means of old laws not only brought matters into a better condition, but We also have promulgated new laws, and by Our just administration, or with additional expense, We have preserved those already enacted, and afterwards by publishing new ones, have established them most firmly for the obedience of Our subjects.
(1) But as it was necessary to reduce the vast number of the constitutions contained in the three old codes, as well in the others compiled in former times, and to clear up their obscurity by means of proper definitions, We have applied Ourselves with willing mind to the accomplishment of this work for the common good; and, after having selected men conspicuous for their legal learning and ability, as well as for their experience in business, and tireless zeal for the interests of the State, We have committed this great task to them under certain limitations, and have directed them to collect into a single code, to be designated by Our auspicious name, the constitutions of the three ancient codes, namely the Gregorian, Hermogenian, and Theodosian compilations, as well as all those subsequently promulgated by Theodosius of Divine Memory, and the other princes who have succeeded him; together with such constitutions as have been issued during Our reign; and to see that any preambles which are not confirmed by subsequent decrees, and any constitutions which are contradictory, or should be suppressed, as well as such as have been repealed by others of later date, or which are of the same character — except those which, by conferring upon them Our sanction to a certain extent, We have considered to be susceptible of division, and by such division of these ancient laws some new principle may appear to arise. In addition to all this, many other matters relative to the composition of this Code have been placed by Our authority in the hands of these most wise men; and Almighty God has afforded this protection through Our zeal for the welfare of the State.
(2) The following persons have been chosen for this work, and the completion of a task of such importance, namely: that most excellent man, John, Ex-Quaestor of Our Palace, and of consular and patrician dignity; as well as that most eminent man, Leontius, Ex-Praetorian Prefect, of consular and patrician dignity; and also the most distinguished Phocas, officer of the army, also of consular and patrician dignity; and that most accomplished man of patrician dignity, Basilis, Ex-Praetorian Prefect of the East, now Praetorian Prefect of Illyria; also, the most illustrious Thomas, Quaestor of our Sacred Palace and Ex-Consul; and the eminent Tribonian, of exalted magisterial dignity; the distinguished Constantine, Steward of Our Imperial Largesses, Master of Requests, and of Judicial Inquiries; Theophilus, former magistrate and Doctor of Laws in this Fair City; as well as those most learned jurists, Dioscorus and Praesentinus, members of your bar; and all that We have directed them to do, they with God's assistance have, through assiduous and untiring industry, brought to a successful conclusion, and offered to Us this new, systematically arranged Justinian Code, compiled in such a manner as to contribute to the common benefit, and meet the requirements of Our Empire.
(3) Therefore We have had in view the perpetual validity of this Code in your tribunal, in order that all litigants, as well as the most accomplished advocates, may know that it is lawful for them, under no circumstances, to cite constitutions from the three ancient codes, of which mention has just been made, or from those which at the present time are styled the New Constitutions, in any judicial inquiry or contest; but that they are required to use only the constitutions which are included in this Our Code, and that those who venture to act otherwise will be liable to the crime of forgery; as the citation of the said constitutions of Our Code, with the opinions of the ancient interpreters of the law, will be sufficient for the disposal of all cases. No doubt as to their validity should arise where any of them appears without a date and without the name of the consul, or because they may have been addressed to certain private individuals; as there can be no question whatever that all have the force of general constitutions; and even if there should be some of them from which anything has been taken, or to which anything has been added, or which have been changed in certain respects (which We have specially permitted the most excellent men aforesaid to do), We grant to no one the right to cite the said constitutions, as they are stated in the books of the ancient authorities, but merely to mention the opinions of the latter, as being of legal effect when they are not opposed to the constitutions of this Our Code.
(4) Moreover, the pragmatic sanctions that are not included in Our Code, and which have been granted to cities, corporate bodies, bureaus, offices, or private individuals, shall remain in every respect valid, if they concede any privilege as a special favor; but where they have been promulgated for the settlement of some legal point We direct that they shall only hold when not opposed to the provisions of Our Code. But in any matter which comes before your tribunal, or in any other civil or military proceeding, or in one which has reference to accounts forming part of the public expenses, or in such as have any relation to the public welfare, We decree that they shall remain valid as far as public convenience may require this to be done.
(5) Therefore let your illustrious and sublime authority, actuated by a desire for the common good, and with zeal for the execution of Our orders, cause information of this Code to be communicated to all peoples, by the promulgation of an edict in the customary way, and by sending into each province, subject to Our Empire, a copy bearing Our signature, so that in this manner the constitutions of this Our Code may be brought to the knowledge of all persons; and that during festival days, that is to say, from the sixteenth day of the Kalends of May of the seventh current indiction, and during the consulate of that most illustrious man Decius, citations of the constitutions shall be made from this Our Code.
Given at Constantinople, on the sixth of the Ides of April, during the Consulate of the illustrious Decius.