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Justinian. After gaining a great victory over the

invaders, the old general was a third time disgraced and thrown into prison. It is narrated

that his eyes were put out, and that he was

turned a beggar into the streets of Constantinople, though this atrocious tradition has been

denied by several historians, notably by the

careful Gibbon.

The Age of Justinian, however, is and

will always remain celebrated

for another class of activities

more honorable to the sovereign, more valuable to the

world. It was the era in which

the body of the Civil Law of

the Empire was sifted from the

rubbish of centuries and reduced to a code. It was now

almost thirteen centuries from

the founding of the city of

Rome. The statutes, precedents

and practices of the Republic

and the Empire lay strewn along

the course of Roman history all

the way from the days of the

Twelve Tables to the days of

Justin. The practice and administration of law had become

almost hopelessly confused. A

collection of the constitutions

of the Empire had been undertaken by Theodosius, but the

work was not satisfactorily accomplished. The task was now

resumed under the patronage of

Justinian. During his whole

reign, indeed, much attention

had been bestowed upon the

study and practice of law in

Constantinople, and an able

body of jurists had grown up about the Imperial residence.

Ten of the most distinguished of these, with

the quaestor, Johannes, and the great lawyer,

Tribonian, at the head, were appointed as a

commission to undertake a complete revision

and digest of the laws and constitutions of the

Empire. The Emperor himself gave instructions as to the nature and extent of the contemplated work. The commissioners were to

select and arrange all that was still vital in

the preceding codes and to give to what was

retained the briefest possible expression. Every

thing which had been abrogated or had become

obsolete with the lapse of time was to be

omitted. Such alterations were to be introduced as were manifestly demanded by the

altered conditions of political and civil society. The whole, when completed and arranged, was to be divided under appropriate titles.

After fourteen months of assiduous application the commissioners completed their task.

The work was approved by Justinian and published in twelve Books. This great production,

known as the Codex Vetus, or Old Code, is

now entirely lost. Another work, however,

known as the Pandects, prepared by a second

commission from the writings, decisions, and