The Digest, also known as the Pandects (Lat.
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
Digesta seu Pandectae, adapted from Gr.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...
πανδέκτης pandektes, "all-containing"), is a name given to a compendium or digest of Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...
compiled by order of the emperor Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...
in the 6th century (AD 530-533).
The Digest was one part of the Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis
The Corpus Juris Civilis is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor...
, the body of civil law issued under Justinian I. The other two parts were Institutiones, and the Codex Constitutionum. A fourth part, the Novels (or "Novellae Constitutiones
The Novellae Constitutiones , or Justinian's Novels, are one of the four major units of Roman law created by Roman Emperor Justinian I in the course of his long reign . The other three pieces are: the Code, the Digest, and the Institutes. Together, the four parts are known as the Corpus Juris...
"), was added later.
The Digest is divided into fifty books, each book containing several titles, divided into laws, and the laws into several parts or paragraphs. The number of jurists from whose works extracts were made is thirty-nine, but the writings of Ulpian
Gnaeus Domitius Annius Ulpianus , anglicized as Ulpian, was a Roman jurist of Tyrian ancestry.-Biography:The exact time and place of his birth are unknown, but the period of his literary activity was between AD 211 and 222...
and Paulus make up almost half the work. The work was declared to be the sole source of non-statute law: commentaries on the compilation were forbidden, or even the citing of the original works of the jurists for the explaining of ambiguities in the text.
The principal surviving manuscript is the Littera Florentina
The parchment codex called Littera Florentina is the closest survivor to an official version of the Pandects, the digest of Roman law promulgated by Justinian I in 530–533....