Abstract

Long after Rome's collapse in 476, Roman law continued to function as a source of prestige and power in some of the barbarian kingdoms that emerged in the former provinces of the western empire. More than just a symbol of a distant and bygone culture, Roman law served as an important medium through which authority could be articulated by the barbarian kings who replaced imperial authorities in the west. This study proposes to investigate how Roman law survived and evolved in Italy to reflect the profound social, political, and economic changes that occurred from the fourth through the sixth centuries. Evidence is drawn primarily from the Edictum Theoderici, a brief collection and emendation of Roman law drawn up in the tradition of the Praetor's Edict by Roman jurisprudents working under the auspices of the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great (493–526). The little-studied Edictum yields valuable historical insights into Italy's transition from Roman province to barbarian kingdom. It also raises important questions as to just how peaceful, prosperous, and Roman-like Theoderic's kingdom really was.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1942-1273
Print ISSN
1939-6716
Pages
pp. 337-364
Launched on MUSE
2010-12-09
Open Access
No
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