The LAWS Database of the Projet Volterra


The Database

The database consists of a series of tables containing the texts of imperial pronouncements and related information covering the years AD193-455, with further tables which provide supplementary data. On this page can be found information on the various tables, with further background information on the creation of the database, its methodology, technology, and conventions.

Detailed information on the contents of each table, the nature and extent of its source material; the layout of individual fields used for entering data and any other relevant issues can be accessed via the section on Tables below. It is useful to understand these, before using the database, in order to maximize the usefulness of on-line searches. The main database pages give technical information regarding the creation of the web-interface, and guide-lines on how to conduct searches. To proceed directly to these pages, please click the link that follows:




The Tables

The main material in the database is divided into six tables, briefly described below. Clicking on the links will provide detailed information on the content and layout of each table. Note that the term 'laws' is used to described each table, since the texts, which predominate, are those which were or came to be regarded as laws, and derive principally from legal sources (mainly the Theodosian and Justinian Codes). However, all Latin pronouncements of emperors have been included, whether or not they were strictly 'legal' in nature.


1 Laws 193-305
This comprises material from the beginning of AD193 (Pertinax) down to the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian on 1st May 305. The work was carried out by Dr Corcoran using the texts on the disk accompanying Tony Honoré, Emperors and Lawyers (2nd ed.; Oxford, 1994), but with some additional material.

2 Laws 305-337
This comprises material from the inauguration of the Second Tetrarchy (1st May 305) down to the death of Constantine I on 22nd May 337. The work was carried out by Dr Corcoran.

3 Laws 337-364
This comprises material from the interregnum following the death of Constantine in May 337 down to the death of Jovian in February 364. The work was carried out by Dr Salway.

4 Laws 364-383
This comprises material from the accession of Valentinian and Valens in February/March 364 down to the accession of Theodosius I in January 379 (in the East) and down to the death of Gratian in August 383 (in the West). The work was carried out by Dr Salway.

5 Laws 379-450 (East)
This comprises material from the proclamation of Theodosius I in January 379 down to the death of Theodosius II in July 450. The work was carried out by Dr Corcoran, using the texts provided in the disks accompanying Tony Honoré, Law in the Crisis of Empire (Oxford, 1998).

6 Laws 383-455 (West)
This comprises material from the beginning of 383 (i.e. before the death of Gratian) down to the death of Valentinian III in March 455. The work was carried out by Dr Corcoran, using the texts provided in the disks accompanying Tony Honoré, Law in the Crisis of Empire (Oxford, 1998).

There are also various supplementary tables as follows:
Bibliography: details of works referred to in brief form in the main tables.
Consuls: a full list of all ordinary consuls for AD193-468.
Magistri Libellorum: a list of the a libellis (later magistri libellorum) identified by Honoré, Emperors and Lawyers as composing imperial rescripts between 193 and 304.
Quaestors: a list of the quaestors identified by Honoré, Law in the Crisis of Empire as composing laws between 379 and 455, supplemented with material from Honoré, Tribonian (London, 1978) for 500-555.
Epigraphy: a table collecting together all epigraphic (Latin) texts scattered over the other tables.


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Methodological Information

In constructing the database, a number of different types of user have been anticipated. As a result, for any one purpose much of the data contained may initially seem superfluous or, at best, of tangential interest. But it is precisely the ability to allow the user to explore simultaneously multifarious aspects of the material that is fostered by the database. Its structure does not limit it to a single purpose. The main categories of user envisaged at present are (i) researchers interested in relating the legal pronouncements to their original historical context, (ii) those concerned with the context of their subsequent codification and editing by Theodosian and (iii) Justinianic commissions, (iv) those interested in verbal, lexical, stylistic and technical aspects of legal pronouncements, (v) those interested in their reception by ancient users (e.g. as witnessed by the interpretationes of the Visigothic Breviarium) and (vi) those interested in pursuing modern debates upon their particular legal aspects. However, the architecture of the database is of such flexibility that it could be redesigned to take account of uses not hitherto envisaged.

The text of the main entries of the imperial constitutions was created by manually entering (rather than scanning) the text of the source. The consistency of the data and correction of minor errors have been done by the checking of a print-out of the entries by at least one person other than the enterer of the data.

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Technical Information

I Source Database: This database has been created using Microsoft Access (originally Access 2, then Access 97, upgraded to Access 2002 in November 2004). Data has been entered in standard AscII format. Note that this does not allow for the display of a variety of fonts together (e.g. italics, bold etc.). The small amount of Greek present is transcribed in a simple fashion. With the up-grade to Access 2002, it will be possible to enter Greek in unicode, and the existing Greek will be re-entered, and further Greek texts added in the spring of 2005.

II Web searchable database: The conversion of the Access Database tables into a form suitable for searching by the PERL cgi scripts and the issues involved are fully described by Ashley Van Haeften in the following page.

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Editorial Conventions


[ ] textual lacuna
( ) expansion of abbreviation e.g. p(raefectus) p(raetorio); also used for critical apparatus and editorial comment
* * traces of letters indecipherable
. . . letters lost
- - - letters lost, uncertain extent
{ } text to be omitted
< > text to be inserted
/ line division [used on rare occasions where a text survives only in a single defective manuscript (e.g. the Fragmenta Vaticana)]


The following conventions are based on M.H. Crawford (ed.), Roman Statutes (London, 1996) vol. 1 pp. 34-6:

[xyz] restorations of unreadable/lost letters or missing part of stone/bronze
[.], [. .], [. . .], [ c? ] estimates of lost/unreadable letters (1, 2, 3, or 4 upwards)
[---] indication of an uncertain number of missing letters
{xyz} superfluous letters in inscribed version, incorrectly added by carver
<xyz> letters in inscribed version incorrectly omitted by carver, or emendations of the text
(xyz) expansion of abbreviations, emendations to the text; also used to contain critical apparatus or editorial comment
[[xyz]] erased text on the inscription
/ line division
vacat/hedera lower case descriptions used in diplomatic transcriptions only
Line numbers are given for every line thus: (01)

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Greek texts have in general been omitted, because imperial legals texts are of their nature predominantly in Latin, and Latin was the official language of law and administration until the sixth century. Although some Greek texts are original versions, many are translations from Latin, although which is which is often far from clear. A small number of texts, either Greek rescripts from the juristic sources, or bilingual acta, has been included. Currently they are transcribed in a simple fashion, but with the up-grading to Access 2002 complete, they will be added in using Greek unicode during the spring of 2005. Further Greek texts may also be added, if time allows.

The main classes of texts currently omitted are:
Greek rescripts and letters in papyri and inscriptions, most easily accessed in the corpus as published in J.H. Oliver, Greek Constitutions of the Early Roman Emperors (Philadelphia, 1989) [an up-dated list of more recent material is given in V.I. Anastasiadis and G.A. Souris, An Index to Roman Imperial Constitutions from Greek Inscriptions and Papyri : 27 BC to 284 AD (Berlin, 2000) pp. 2-12]
The letters of the emperor Julian
Imperial texts from patristic writers such as Eusebius, Athanasius, Socrates, Sozomen, and also from the acts of the Church Councils.
There exists a small number of ancient translations into Latin (in most cases BACK into Latin) from the Greek versions (most notably in Cassiodorus's Historia Tripartita), and these have been included in the database.

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Orthography is not entirely consistent, given the varied practices of editions used, especially where a text has a single witness (e.g. one inscription or one manuscript). When searching the database, therefore, it is advisable to use variant spellings to ensure that all relevant examples are found; e.g. 'inm-' and 'imm-', or 'conp-' and comp-'. B and V, and ae and e also tend to be interchangeable.

All upper case V's and U's have been rendered V, all lower case v's and u's have become u. For the purposes of web-searches, the database regards all Vv's and Uu's as interchangeable.

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It has not been an aim of the project to provide English translations for all texts, although some scattered translations have been included. However, with the permission of Princeton University Press, the Volterra team (Crawford, Corcoran and Salway) has revised the translations from C. Pharr's Theodosian Code (Princeton, 1952) for those texts in the table of Laws 337-364. It is also planned to add to the number of translations available, both with some freshly done and with some taken from out-of-copyright publications.

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Guide to Legal Sources and Abbreviations

The Theodosian Code
The Theodosian Code was compiled and then promulgated by the emperor Theodosius II in both the eastern and western halves of the empire in 437/438, and contained imperial laws issued by emperors from the reign of Constantine up to that of Theodosius himself and his colleague and cousin Valentinian III, spanning the period 313 to 437. This code is at the core of the main database material. Owing to the survival of some early manuscripts (R and V), much of the code (Books VI-XVI) has been preserved intact, but the first five books have to be reconstructed (and are still incomplete) on the basis of the Breviary of Alaric [whose manuscripts include an important manuscript (A) augmented for Book I from a full Theodosian text], and a fragmentary palimpsest (T). The code is known to and used by scholars primarily in the grand edition of Mommsen, Berlin, 1905 (vol. 1/1, Prolegomena; vol. 1/2, Theodosian Code and Sirmondian Constitutions; vol. 2, the post-Theodosian Novels [ed. P. Meyer]). Krüger's edition of the Code was left incomplete at his death, with only two fascicles having appeared (Books I-VI, Berlin, 1923; VII-VIII, Berlin, 1926). However, the most significant difference between the editions is Krüger's attempt to restore back into the Theodosian Code material present in the Justinian Code, which must have originally derived from the earlier code. Since the Theodosian Code is for the most part only incomplete in its first five books (but with some loss also in Books 6 and 8), the most important part of Krüger's work was in fact published. He only made a few suggestions for restorations elsewhere in the Code, for which see his article in ZSS 41 (1920) 1-14. The database includes details of Krüger's reconstruction of Books I-VIII.

In addition to using these two editions, some readings have also been checked against the original manuscripts (R in Paris for Books VI-VIII, and V in the Vatican for Books IX-XVI), as well as against the apograph of T published by Krüger (Fragmenta Taurinensia, Berlin, 1880), the original palimpsest having perished in a fire at the Royal Library in Turin in 1904.

It should be noted that since the editions of Mommsen and Krüger, some new manuscript witnesses have come to light, but these have generally been fragmentary with few new readings of importance, and only one relates to the incomplete Books I-V. These more recent texts are:
1) P. Oxy. XV 1813 (CLA II 211) [from Book VII], known to Krüger, but too late for Mommsen;
2) M. Caravale, “Frammenti del Codex Theodosianus conservati presso la Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e presso lo Staatsarchiv di Zurigo", in Iuris Vincula: Studi in onore di Mario Talamanca I (Naples 2001) 433-87; there were earlier reports in A. Dold, 'Ein neuentdecktes Brüchstuck des Codex Theodosianus unter Texten von Gregors. d. Gr. Moralia in Job', Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen 58 (1941) pp. 169-76; and A. Petrucci et al., 'Frammenti corsiniani del Codex Theodosianus (sec. VI in.) e dei Moralia in Job in Gregorio Magno (sec. VIII1): notizia preliminare,'Rendiconti Lincei ser. 8 vol. 29 (1974) pp. 587-604. These palimpsest fragments between them these preserve parts of Books VI, X and XI.
3) P. Vindob. L81; now published as F. Mitthof, “Neue Evidenz zur Verbreitung juristischer Fach-literatur im spätantiken Ägypten,” in H.-A. Rupprecht (ed.), Symposion 2003: Vorträge zur griechischen und hellenistischen Rechtsgeschichte (Vienna 2006) pp. 415-422. This is a fragment of an otherwise unknown constitution of Arcadius and Honorius, probably from one of the first five incomplete books.

The major part of the Breviary of Alaric (published by the Visigothic king Alaric II in 506) consists of a reduced Theodosian Code and the post-Theodosian Novels with explanatory interpretationes. The Breviary has not had a proper edition since that of G. Hänel, Lex Romana Visigothorum (Berlin 1849; repr. Aalen 1962) [but see also M. Conrat, Breviarium Alaricianum (Leipzig, 1903; repr. Aalen 1963)], although an edition in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica has long been planned. However, since Mommsen and Meyer include the interpretationes in their edition and utilize all the Breviary manuscripts (as does Krüger), a separate Breviary edition does not appear urgent, and their edition is the best source for the interpretationes. The main draw-back is that the remaining sections of the Breviary (the epitomes of Gaius, Paul, Papinian, and the Gregorian and Hermogenian Codes with their interpretationes) have to be chased across the volumes of the pre-Justinianic collections listed below.

The Justinian Code
The Justinian Code was compiled on the instructions of the emperor Justinian (527-565) and promulgated in 529, but following the ferment of legal activity that produced both the Digest and a great deal of new legislation, a second edition was published in 534, and this is the edition which survives, although not intact. For its earlier material (chronologically speaking), the Justinian Code made use of three pre-existing codes (Gregorian, Hermogenian, Theodosian), which it superseded. It is thus important for preserving Theodosian Code material missing from the incomplete parts of that code (which Krüger's CTh edition reincorporates), but also for the larger number of cases where the editorial activities of Justinian's commissioners can be studied by comparing the texts in his code with their Theodosian originals. The Justinian Code is also the principal witness to the contents of the lost Gregorian and Hermogenian Codes (mainly third-century rescripts), which otherwise survive as meagre shattered fragments cannibalized into other late antique legal works. In the east, the code was quickly translated into Greek and then superseded by the Basilica (late IX C.), while in the west it was cut down to form an Epitome. Although later re-expanded, both by mediaeval jurists and by more recent textual scholars, it remains something of a hotch-potch reconstruction. Only one manuscript, the Verona palimpsest (V), preserves any substantial amount of the work in its full form (an apograph of the Fragmenta Veronensia was published by Krüger in 1874). The main Justinian Code edition used today is Krüger's editio minor (Corpus Iuris Civilis vol. 2; Berlin, 1877), but we have also consulted Krüger's editio maior (Berlin, also 1877; repr. Goldbach, 1998).

As with the Theodosian Code, there have been few significant additions to manuscript attestation of this code since the production of its last important modern edition (i.e. that of Krüger). There are two papyrus witnesses to the lost first edition of 529 (P. Oxy. XV 1814 [an index to part of Book I]; P. Rein. Inv. 2219 [fragments of Book XII]), and one for the second edition (PSI XIII 1347 [fragment of Book VII]) [all reprinted in M. Amelotti and L. Migliardi Zingale, Le costituzioni giustinianee nei papiri e nelle epigrafi (2nd ed.; Milan, 1985)]. Two folios of an XI C. manuscript (Carte Vallicelliane XII.3 = Vall. [parts of Book VII]) have been published by S. Corcoran, ‘New subscripts for old rescripts: the Vallicelliana fragments of Justinian Code Book VII’, Zeitschrift der Savigny Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: romanistische Abteilung 126 (2009) pp. 401-422. For other new material from Würzburg (= Würz.) and Stuttgart, see S. Corcoran, 'After Krüger: observations on some additional or revised Justinian Code headings and subscripts’, Zeitschrift der Savigny Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: romanistische Abteilung 126 (2009) pp. 423-439. Note also that a small fragment of a sixth-century manuscript from Cologne (Colon.) was published in 1890, although it appears to have been destroyed in the collapse of the archive building in March 2009. This preserved part of Book III and is acknowledged in later editions of Krüger's editio minor, but not in the more recent reprints, which were reproduced from an earlier edition. In terms of new information about the Code, the most important of these are the Oxyrhynchus and Vallicelliana items.

The Collectio Avellana
The Collectio Avellana is a collection of imperial and papal letters dating between the fourth and sixth centuries, probably assembled in its present form late in the reign of Pope Vigilius (after 553). The standard edition is by O. Günther (CSEL XXXV, Vienna, 1895-1898).

Collections of pre-Justinianic sources:
There exist three similar modern collections of the surviving pre-Justinianic legal works, although they do not contain identical selections of material. In general the database texts follow the Collectio, which is usually gives the fullest apparatus and clearest exposition. The differences between the editions only really show in the more fragmentary texts, as with parts of the Fragmenta Vaticana. Hyamson's useful edition of the Collatio has also been used.
Collectio = P. Krüger, Th. Mommsen, W. Studemund, Collectio Librorum Iuris Anteiustiniani 3 vols. (Berlin, 1878/1890; repr. Hildesheim, 1999)
IA = Seckel/Kübler, Iurisprudentia Anteiustiniana 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1911/1927)
FIRA = Riccobono/Baviera, Fontes Iuris Romani Anteiustiniani: vol. 2, Auctores (2nd ed.; Florence, 1940)

ALRV Appendices Legis Romanae Visigothorum (Collectio vol. 3 pp. 254-63; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 670-9)
Avell. Collectio Avellana (= Epistulae imperatorum, pontificum, aliorum, CSEL XXXV, Vienna, 1895-1898)
Brev. Breviarium Alaricianum (= Lex Romana Visigothorum)
CGV Codex Gregorianus Visigothicus (Collectio vol. 3 pp. 224-33; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 656-64)
CHV Codex Hermogenianus Visigothicus (Collectio vol. 3 pp. 234-5 with 244-5 (for CHV 3); FIRA vol. 2 p. 665)
CJ Codex Iustinianus (ed. P. Krüger, Corpus Iuris Civilis vol. 2, Berlin, 1877; but note also Krüger's editio maior, Berlin 1877, repr. Hildesheim, 2005)
Coll. Mosaicarum et Romanarum Legum Collatio (= Lex Dei) (Collectio vol. 3 pp. 136-98; IA vol. 2 pp. 329-94; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 544-89; Hyamson, London, 1913 repr. Buffalo, 1997)
Cons. Consultatio Veteris Cuiusdam Iurisconsulti (Collectio vol. 3 pp. 203-20; IA vol. 2 pp. 490-514; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 594-613)
CTh Codex Theodosianus (ed. Th. Mommsen, vol. I/ii, Berlin, 1905)
D Digesta (ed. Th. Mommsen, Corpus Iuris Civilis vol. I)
Ed.Theod. Edictum Theoderici (MGH Leges in folio 5, pp. 149-68; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 683-710)
FV Fragmenta Vaticana (Collectio vol. 3 pp. 20-106; IA vol. 2 pp. 207-324; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 464-540)
JI Justiniani Institutiones (ed. P. Krüger, Corpus Iuris Civilis vol. I)
Kr Krüger's edition of the Codex Theodosianus Books 1-VI (Berlin, 1923) and VII-VIII (Berlin, 1926)
LRB Lex Romana Burgundionum (MGH Leges I.2.i, pp. 123-63; FIRA vol. 2 pp. 714-50)
LV Lex Visigothorum (= Liber Iudiciorum) [MGH Leges I.1]
MGH Monumenta Germaniae Historica
Nov. Novellae (from Mommsen CTh vol. II, ed. P. Meyer, Berlin 1905), followed by the name of the issuing emperor:
Theod. Theodosius II
Val. Valentinianus III
Marc. Marcianus
Mai. Maiorianus
Sev. Libius Severus
Anth. Anthemius
Sirm. Constitutiones Sirmondianae (in Mommsen CTh vol. I/ii, pp. 907-21)
SummAnt Summaria Antiqua Codicis Theodosiani (ed. Sirks, Amsterdam, 1996)

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Inscriptions and Papyri

Inscriptions (all in Latin, although some contain Greek as well) and papyri (mostly in Latin, some in Greek) are present in each of the tables, although the largest number appears in those for 193-305 and 305-337. In the majority of cases the texts are presented as a diplomatic transcription of the surviving text in CAPITALS, followed by a lower case reconstruction. Under-dottings and other conventions (beyond the brackets described above) cannot be displayed. Users are advised that detailed study of inscriptions or papyri will necessitate consultation of the source publications.

Where texts survive in more than one copy, a composite text is given, with separate entries for each surviving version. The (current) exceptions to this are the Sacrae Litterae of Severus and Caracalla (AD204) and the Prices Edict preamble (AD301) [the tariff list is excluded entirely], although these will be added at a later stage.

The numeration scheme is broadly chronological, but also seeks to indicate related or multiple copies. There are (or will be) four series: EL (epigraphica latina), EG (epigraphica graeca, currently no entries), PL (papyri latini), PG (papyri graeci). Military diplomas are considered too formulaic and common-place to be included in the database. However, as a form of imperial pronouncement, there is a single sample text, a fine example with full titulature, being also of latest known date, AD306 (ELD01).

With the Latin epigraphy, the last digit is used to denote multiple versions; and the penultimate digit, related texts, either within an inscription (e.g. parts of a dossier) or otherwise related. Thus the Accusations edict is EL3600 (the composite version), with each of its seven copies being EL3601 to EL3607. Similarly, the two letters in Severus and Caracalla's Tyras dossier are listed as EL0210 and EL0220. The first two numbers are the numerical/chronological sequence. Thus the sequences for the inscriptions are as follows:
EL0100 to 2000: the Severans
EL2100 to 3000: the third century between the Severans and Diocletian
EL3100 to 5000: the Tetrarchs and Constantine
EL5100 to 6000: the Fourth Century after Constantine
EL6100 to 7000: the Fifth Century
EL7100 onwards: undated texts, but probably post-300
ELD01: military diploma of AD306

EG: as yet no entries
PL01: sequence of Latin papyri from 193
PG001: notional sequence for Greek papyri 193-284, but as yet no entries
PG101: sequence of Greek papyri from Diocletian's accession

Note that within each time-period the texts are currently arranged in approximate chronological order. However, the continual discovery of new texts will necessitate their being assigned the next available number in the appropriate sequence. Ultimately these references are designed to serve as unique identifiers, not immovable chronological indicators.

For inscriptions and papyri in Greek the user is referred to Oliver's Greek Constitutions of the Early Roman Emperors (Philadelphia, 1989) plus V.I. Anastasiadis and G.A. Souris, An Index to Roman Imperial Constitutions from Greek Inscriptions and Papyri : 27 BC to 284 AD (Berlin, 2000).

For military diplomata, in addition to CIL XVI, there are now four volumes in the series Roman Military Diplomas (ed. M.M. Roxan et al.): I, 1954-1977 (London, 1978); II, 1978-1984 (London, 1985); III, 1985-1993 (London, 1994); IV (BICS Suppl. 82; London, 2003); V (BICS Suppl. 88; London, 2006). This last volume contains a full up-to-date chronological list on pp. 681-98. Athough several are of uncertain date, about 130 can be dated to the period AD193-306.

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Non-legal literary texts

As with inscriptions and papyri, literary texts from non-juristic sources have been given their own reference sequence. This is a single numerical sequence (with 'L' as a prefix) for both Greek and Latin texts down to the end of the Fourth Century. Because texts often survive in Greek and/or Latin versions, the last digit of the number is used as follows:
LXX0: the original Latin version
LXX1: the Greek version or translation
LXX2 or LXX3: ancient Latin translations from (or back from) Greek
LXX5: ancient versions preserved in other languages.

Thus in this reference system, L060 is Lactantius's original Latin version of Galerius's palinode, L061 is Eusebius's Greek translation, and L062 is Rufinus's Latin translation of Eusebius's Greek.

Some Greek versions of imperial letters are preserved in more than one patristic source, but since these usually derive from one another (mostly from Eusebius or Athanasius), there appears no need to enter all of these versions.

Note that currently there are relatively few literary entries in the tables because the majority is in Greek, and so has yet to be entered. Only the Latin texts are available, although these include several ancient Latin translations of Greek texts from Eusebius and Athanasius, the main source of these being Cassiodorus's Historia Tripartita (CSEL LXXI, Vienna, 1952). Apocryphal texts are excluded, although the few 'literary' texts in the table for 193-305 have been augmented by two dubious third-century items (one each for Aurelian and Maximian).

Full texts of Constantine's pronouncements from the literary sources including those preserved in Greek can be found in P. Silli, Testi Costantiniani nelle fonti letterarie (Materiali per una palingenesi delle costituzioni tardo-imperiali 1/3; Milan, 1987). For Constantine's sons, see P.O. Cuneo, La legislazione di Costantino II, Costanzo II e Costante (MPCT 2/2; Milan, 1997) pp. 440-59.

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One of the key issues in dealing with the imperial texts is that of chronology. It is clear from the surviving order of constitutions in the Codes that a number of texts has been attributed to the wrong emperors, and that the consular dates may be incorrect, sometimes preserving an impossible formulation. This is particularly true for the Theodosian Code material from the first half of the fourth century (313-361). There are five Constantinian emperors with similar names (not counting other office holders), and, further, they hold multiple consulships, often with each other [nineteen 'Constant-' consulships, of which nine have both consuls so named]. There are also similar problems with five Valentinian/Valens consulships. Given that a single letter difference may change one emperor into another or one consular iteration numeral into another, and that the Theodosian compilers were probably mis-reading, mis-copying and rewriting dates (even before entrusting their text to the wider manuscript tradition), it is hardly surprising that error and confusion have resulted. Whatever view one takes of this issue, some emendations are necessary, although it can be difficult to know where to stop. One of the purposes of the database, therefore, is to present alternative datings, and not just individual dates, but whole reconstructed sequences. The various tables have columns devoted to the dates proposed by different scholars (although usually with an extra column for more random proposals). The most important such scholars and their works are as follows:
Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius appendix 9 (Laws 337-364)
Barnes, The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine (Laws 193-305, 305-337)
Cuneo, La legislazione di Costantino II, Costanzo II e Costante (Laws 337-364)
Honoré, Emperors and Lawyers (Laws 193-305)
Honoré, Law in the Crisis of Empire (Laws E 379-450, W 383-455)
Krüger, CJ editio minor (including his chronological appendix) (Laws 193-305)
Mommsen, CTh edition ad loc. but also in the Prolegomena (all tables except Laws 193-305)
Mommsen, Gesammelte Schriften II ch. 21 (Laws 193-305)
Pergami, La legislazione di Valentiniano e Valente (Laws 364-383)
PLRE (The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire I-III) This has been much consulted, but a separate column for its datings has not been included
Seeck, Regesten der Kaiser und Päpste (all tables except Laws 193-305). Many of Seeck's general methods and individual datings are no longer accepted, but his sweeping view of the fourth and fifth centuries has not yet been properly replaced.

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Emperors and Imperial Colleges

The two links below give lists of emperors between AD193 and 455, and a list of the imperial colleges for the same period. It is important to remember that, while almost all texts were in practice issued by one emperor, they would formally bear the names of the entire imperial college. All the database tables contain columns relating to the emperor who actually issued a text, the names of the issuers as recorded in the source (usually reflecting, therefore, Theodosian Code practice), and the theoretical imperial college in whose name the text would have been issued. These are entered on the basis of the preferred database date of issue or posting. The headings of laws are presumed (for the sake of convenience) to change instantly as the imperial college changes. There are periods of time when the dates of emperors' reigns are uncertain, as well as periods when usurpation or dispute and conflict between emperors make it difficult to know precisely which emperors recognized which others, or the exact order in which they listed those emperors which they did recognize. There are similar problems regarding which consuls and consulships were recognized by different rulers. However, the most contentious or badly documented periods (e.g. between Gallienus and Diocletian [268-284] or during the Second Tetrarchy and its aftermath [305-313]) have generally the fewest number of texts.

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Last updated 23 February 2010