Lost Roman law code discovered in London

Simon Corcoran and Benet Salway of projet Volterra have pieced together fragments of parchment to discover parts of the previously thought lost Codex Gregorianus of around 300 CE. The significance of this discovery cannot be overestimated.


Dr Salway has stated:

"The fragments bear the text of a Latin work in a clear calligraphic script, perhaps dating as far back as AD 400 … It uses a number of abbreviations characteristic of legal texts and the presence of writing on both sides of the fragments indicates that they belong to a page or pages from a late antique codex book – rather than a scroll or a lawyer's loose-leaf notes. … The fragments contain a collection of responses by a series of Roman emperors to questions on legal matters submitted by members of the public …. The responses are arranged chronologically and grouped into thematic chapters under highlighted headings, with corrections and readers' annotations between the lines. The notes show that this particular copy received intensive use."

 Dr Corcoran has explained:

"These fragments are the first direct evidence of the original version of the Gregorian Code …. Our preliminary study confirms that it was the pioneer of a long tradition that has extended down into the modern era and it is ultimately from the title of this work, and its companion volume the Codex Hermogenianus, that we use the term 'code' in the sense of 'legal rulings'."

For more information, see: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-01/ucl-lrl012610.php