The Pathos of Politics (19) Justinian I

Justinian I

Justice is the constant and perpetual desire to give to each one that to which he is entitled. Jurisprudence is the knowledge of matters divine and human, and the comprehension of what is just and what is unjust. ~ Corpus Juris Civilis

Justinian I (482–565) was an Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor (527–565) who sought to revive the greatness of the Roman Empire and reconquer its lost western half.

Justinian was genuinely concerned with promoting the well-being of his subjects, by rooting out corruption and providing justice through a uniform set of laws.

His attacks on malfeasance were not well received by those with vested interests. Justinian nearly lost the throne over riots in Constantinople in 532 (the Nika revolt) that destroyed half the city and was only put down by wholesale massacre of rebellious citizens. Some 30,000 rioters were killed.

The law that natural reason has prescribed for all men, and which is equally observed among all peoples, is called the law of nations, as being that which all nations make use of. ~ Corpus Juris Civilis

Justinian’s legal legacy was Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law), a compilation of jurisprudence issued 529–534 that was a late Roman expression of natural law. Corpus Juris Civilis remains the foundation for civil law in many modern states.

According to natural law, all men were originally born free. ~ Corpus Juris Civilis