Throughout the West, all of the legal systems coming after the Romans used Justinian's philosophical basis, including those in Africa, continental Europe and Latin America. The Code of Justinian, along with the Digest and the Institutes, provided the philosophical basis of Roman law going forward.Continue Reading
Because of the recent fall of the western half of the Roman Empire, Justinian sought to shore up the eastern half through a number of means. He used military might to take back some of the western lands, such as portions of Italy and Spain. He also summoned a commission to bring together all Roman laws into one body that would communicate Roman law throughout the whole empire. This compilation was popularly known as Justinian's Code, but the project included three elements: the code itself, with the empire's actual laws and citations; the digest, which summarized classical writings on justice and law; and the Institutes, a summary of the Digest.
By 534 CE, the Code was published and distributed throughout the empire. After the eastern half of the empire fell, opening the Dark Ages, his code vanished, not to be found until the 11th century, when an interest in Roman law began to grow at the University of Bologna. Surviving copies of the code were studied and copied, and its influence spread as Europe began to establish a new structure.Learn more about Law