Codex Theodosianus

The Theodosian Code is a late antique collection of laws that the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II ( 408-450 ), together with his cousin, the young Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III. ( 425-455 ), was commissioned to compile the Roman laws and the imperial constitutiones since 312.

After eight years of work, the 16 parts of the codex in the year 438 were completed and published - in Latin, which is also in Ostrom was the language of the law to the 6th century. It was important that the compilation for the whole kingdom should be valid; this is a sign that the Roman Empire even after the so-called division of the Empire of 395 not had disintegrated around into two independent states, but in the understanding of contemporaries only (as in the decades before 395 ) ruled for reasons of division of labor between two emperors been. The collection is an extremely important historical source. Even after 438 therefore enacted Eastern and Western imperial common law, the last dates from the year 472

The Theodosian Code was used in Western Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire 476 on; especially among the Visigoths, but also in other Germanic successor kingdoms of Rome formed the basis of the collection of a specific law books. In addition, the Codex was the most important precursor for the Codex Justinian, the, the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian was in the year 528 in order and included all time still valid laws since Hadrian.


  • Iacobus Gothofredus: Theodosian Code cum perpetuis commentariis Jacobi Gothofredi. Leipzig 1736-1743 (reprint 1975).
  • Theodor Mommsen, Paul Meyer: Theodosiani libri XVI cum constitutionibus Sirmondianis et leges novellae ad Theodosianum pertinentes. Berlin 1905 (reprinted 1954, 1970).
  • Iacobus Gothofredus: Theodosian Code 16,8,1-29. Translated and edited by Renate Frohne, Bern - Frankfurt / Main - New York - Paris 1991 ( European University Studies, Series III, Volume 453). ISBN 3-261-04287-7
  • Clyde Pharr: The Theodosian Code. And Novels. And the Sirmondian Constitutions. A Translation with Commentary, Glossary, and Bibliography, Princeton 1952.