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Codification in Byzantium: From Justinian to Leo VI

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins in a deliberately simple fashion, with individual papers each dealing with one of our geographical/cultural areas of focus: Western Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam. And again deliberately, it begins with one of the issues that has frequently been associated with institutionalisation, the codification of law. Such codification, be it in Justinian's time or the twelfth century, has been seen as manifesting many characteristics of institutionalisation: the employment of literate technologies; specialist knowledge; abstraction; fictions, and so on. In particular in Western Christendom, the "legal revolution" of the long twelfth century is associated with transformations not just of the government of realms, principalities, and towns, but also of other institutions such as the Church. In Byzantium the chronology of legal development is rather different, whilst Islamic law is often regarded as having undergone no similar processes tending to codification.

Keywords: Byzantium; codification of law; fiction; Islam; Justinian's time; legal revolution; literate technologies; Western Christendom



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