ENACTMENTS OF JUSTINIAN.
|T h i r d P r e f a c e
CONCERNING THE AMENDMENTS OF THE CODE OF OUR LORD JUSTINIAN,
AND THE SECOND EDITION OF THE SAME.
( S. P. Scott, The Civil Law, XII, Cincinnati, 1932 ).
Our heart, Conscript Fathers, always induces Us to pay the strictest attention to matters concerning the public welfare, so that nothing which has been begun by Us may be left imperfect. Therefore, in the beginning of Our reign, we formed the design of collecting in a single body the Imperial Constitutions which were scattered through several volumes, and the most of which were either repetitions or conflicting, and free them from every defect. This work has now been perfected by certain most distinguished and learned men, and has been subsequently confirmed by Us, as is shown by Our two Constitutions prefixed hereto.
(1) But after We decreed that the ancient law should be observed, We rendered fifty decisions, and promulgated several constitutions relative to the advantages to be derived from the proposed work, by means of which the majority of the former enactments were amended and abridged; and We divested all the ancient law of superfluous prolixity, and then inserted the same in Our Institutes and Digest.
(2) But, as Our new decisions and constitutions, which were promulgated after the completion of Our Code, were distinct from the body of the same, and seemed to demand our care and attention, and as some of them, which were afterwards inserted, appeared to require alteration or correction, it seemed to Us necessary to have the said constitutions revised by that eminent man Tribonian, Ex-Quaestor and Ex-Consul, the authorized minister of our work; and also by the illustrious Dorotheus, Quaestor and Doctor of Laws of Berytus; and, in addition to these Menna, Constantine, and John, most eloquent men, and distinguished advocates of the bar of this City, who were ordered to divide said constitutions into separate chapters for the purpose of rendering them more available; to place them under proper titles; and to add them to those constitutions which had preceded them.
(3) We permitted the aforesaid distinguished and most learned jurists to do all these things, and when there was need of any correction, allowed them to make it without hesitation, relying upon Our authority; and where any of the constitutions were superfluous, or had been annulled by any of Our subsequent decrees; or where they were found to be similar or conflicting, to remove and separate them from the compilation of the Code itself; as well as to complete such as were imperfect, and to bring to light those that were shrouded in obscurity, so that not only the way of the Institutes and the Digest might appear clear and open, but also that the splendor of the Constitutions of Our Code might be manifest to all, and no constitution which resembled another, or was contradictory or useless, should be retained, and no one should have any doubt that what was confirmed by the revision was both valid and sufficiently perspicuous. For, in the ancient Books, the authorities of former times not only called the first, but also the second editions, revisions; which can be readily ascertained from the works of that eminent jurist Ulpianus, on Sabinus, by those who desire to know.
(4) These things having been accomplished according to Our intention, and the Justinian Code having been purified and elucidated by the aforesaid most illustrious and learned men (all of this having been done in compliance with Our order, and the work offered to Us with its amplifications, and changes), We ordered that it should be copied in accordance with the second edition, and not in accordance with the first, but as it was revised; and, by Our authority, We directed that it alone should be used in all tribunals, whenever the Divine Constitutions were applicable, from the fourth day of the Kalends of January of the most auspicious Consulate of Ourself and that illustrious man Paulinus; and that no constitution not contained in this Our Code should be cited, unless in the course of events some new question may arise which requires Our decision. For, if something better should be found hereafter, and it becomes necessary to revise a constitution, no one will doubt that We should do so, and incorporate into another compilation those laws which are designated by the name New Constitutions.
(5) Therefore, having repeated Our order that We shall permit none hereafter to quote anything from Our decisions, or from other constitutions, which We have previously promulgated, or from the first edition of the Justinian Code; but that only what may be found written in this Our present purified and amended Code shall be regarded as authority, and cited in all tribunals, We have ordered it to be transcribed without any ambiguity, as was done in the case of Our Institutes and Digest, so that everything which has been compiled by Us shall be clear and intelligible, not only in the chirography, but also in the laws themselves, although on this account the matter contained in this Code has been considerably extended.
(6) Therefore, Most Reverend and Illustrious Fathers, in order that Our labors may become manifest to you and obtain authority through all time, We have presented this collection of laws to your most distinguished Order.
Given at Constantinople, on the seventeenth day of the Kalends of December, during the Consulate of Our Lord Justinian, for the fourth time Consul, and of Paulus.