“Βιωφελές τι χρῆμα καὶ σπουδαιότατον οὐ μόνον βασιλεῦσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ ἰδιώταις ἡ παίδευσις. καὶ γὰρ τοὺς κεκτημένους αὐτὴν καὶ κατὰ ψυχὴν καὶ κατὰ σῶμα τὰ μέγιστα ὠφελεῖ,τὸ μὲν διὰ τῆς μελέτης τῶν σπουδαίων λόγων, τὸ δὲ διὰ τῆς γυμνασίας τῶν κοσμίων ἔργων.”
“Education is something useful and most excellent not only for emperors but even for private citizens. For those who have acquired it benefit to the greatest extent in both body and soul; the latter because of the study of weighty ideas, and the former because of the exercise of worldly affairs.”
–The Emperor Basil I (r. 867-886) to his son Leo VI (r. 886-912) [§1 of the Βασιλείου κεφάλαια παραινετικά]
BYZANTINE LEGAL CULTURE UNDER THE MACEDONIAN DYNASTY,
Building upon the pioneering work of legal historians as well as recent scholarship on the Middle Byzantine administration, “Byzantine Legal Culture under the Macedonian Dynasty,867-1056” is a study which seeks to situate Byzantine law within its broader historical and societal context. This dissertation is an examination of Byzantine Legal Culture, which can be
loosely defined as the interaction between laws, jurisprudence and ideas about justice as well as their implementation. The period under examination, from roughly the middle of the ninth to the middle of the eleventh century, was characterized by a “Recleansing of the Ancient Laws”, in which the emperors of the Macedonian dynasty made a concerted effort to reassert the empire’s Roman legal heritage. This epoch represented the last great efflorescence of Byzantine secular law, as from the twelfth century onward the importance of Byzantine canon law gradually came to encompass and supplant secular law.
Underneath an imperially-sanctioned façade of legal continuity, law and legal culture underwent momentous transformations during this period: models and paradigms outside of Roman law considerably influenced judges and jurisprudence; the mores and customs of the élite were legitimated through the legal system; and private law collections seemed to challenge the
monopoly of authority held by Roman law. By examining the interplay between Byzantine law and Byzantine culture, this dissertation represents a dynamic new way of examining one of the world’s richest legal traditions.
Note on Naming, Translation and Transliteration
The spelling of names in this study follows the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium.
Transliteration from Medieval Greek to the Roman alphabet is done according to the method prescribed by the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/greek.pdf).1 Likewise, Old Church Slavonic (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/churchsl.pdf) and Classical Armenian (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/armenian.pdf) are also romanized according to the Library of Congress guidelines. Transliterations from Arabic follow the romanization schemes in the works cited. As in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, names
with a well-established anglicization are presented in their anglicized rather than transliterated form, so Constantine instead of ōnstantinos, John instead of ōhannēs, etc. There some exceptions for names in the secondary literature which are almost never anglicized, thus the antecessor Stephanos/Stephanus is not rendered Stephan. Additionally, the names of some juridical works are not strictly transliterated in order to correspond to the way they are written in most of the secondary literature (so Eisagoge and not Eisagōgē). Some less-commonly known names of persons with their own entries in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium are spelled the same as their entries there, therefore in this study the name of the most prominent Middle Byzantine jurist is written Eustathios Rhomaios instead of Eustathios Rhōmaios.
Given that in the Middle Byzantine administration as well as in Middle Byzantine law there were a great many terms borrowed from Latin, at some points in this study it has proved simpler to use the original Latin term rather than the Greek equivalent, not least of all because these Hellenisms often varied considerably, as the bilingual Greek-Latin lexica from the period
The bibliography and footnotes in this dissertation have been written according to “Chicago Style” guidelines. It should be noted that edited texts are formatted to reflect two categories of edited texts: edited volumes of articles or essays appear with the names of the editors followed by the title of the volume, while critical editions in monographs by contrast appear with the name of the work followed by the names of the editors. When writing the place of publication for works cited, the names of these locations are written with their English equivalents (e.g. Wien = Vienna, ἐν Ἀθήναις = Athens, etc.).
By and large I have attempted to keep quotations in Greek and other ancient and medieval languages confined to footnotes. Almost all Greek words in the main text are transliterated for the benefit of the non-specialist, excepting a few longer phrases. All
translations in the text are my own unless otherwise noted.
Introduction Part I
Background, Goals, Parameters and Sources of the Study
I. Background to the Study: “Do We Need a New History of Byzantine Law?”
This dissertation situates Byzantine law within its broader historical and societal context during a crucial period both in the history of the Byzantine Empire as well as the history of the Roman legal tradition in continental Europe, the so-called ius commune. As such it demonstrates how the Roman legal tradition in the Byzantine Empire during the roughly two hundred-year
period of Macedonian rule (867-1056) was molded and shaped by Byzantine culture. This era is crucial for our understanding of the history of Roman law and indeed of European history in general because it illuminates a polity in which Roman law in its Justinianic iteration, at least in principle, had never gone into abeyance, unlike the empire’s former territories in western Europe
as well as the eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, it was largely this “Macedonian” synthesis of Roman law which became a permanent feature of Byzantium’s cultural legacy in the Balkans,Eastern Europe and the Middle East. This is in contrast to the ius commune of continental Europe, which embraced the Roman legal tradition via the “rediscovery” of Justinianic law, a process which began in northern Italy at the end of the eleventh century.
The impetus for the present study was a provocative article published in 1989 by the Byzantine historian Alexander Kazhdan.1 Kazhdan began his critique of the state of the field of Byzantine law by noting that the classic text on the subject, Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal’s Geschichte des griechisch-römischen Rechts,2 first published in 1846, had 150 years later not been equaled or exceeded by any other work. In the course of the article, Kazhdan went on to bemoan the fact that legal historians had concerned themselves exclusively with the history of Byzantine normative legal sources, such as imperial novels, law-books and legal treatises. He concluded by advocating that the study of Byzantine law should both include nonnormative legal sources, like histories, saints’ lives and romances, and that “[i]t [Byzantine law] must become a history of institutions, not only of legal science, and it must reveal the reality of human status, of rights and transactions, of the work of judiciary courts and not only Greek
images of Roman jurisprudence, interesting in themselves but often quite distant from daily reality.”3
To contextualize Kazhdan’s critique, a brief excursus on the history of Byzantine law is necessary. Although modern scholarship on Byzantine law can be said to have started in the nineteenth century, it is important to note that Byzantine law even in the early modern period had a utilitarian function, as a lawyer could draw on it in contemporary cases.4 An interest in Byzantine law coincided with codifications of Roman law which served as the basis for modern European nation-states, such as the Allgemeines Landrecht for Prussia (1794), the Code civil (1804) for France and Das Allgemeine bürgerliche Gesetzbuch für das Kaisertum Österreich (1811) for the Habsburg dominions. The first Byzantine legal historians were trained as lawyers,
such as the French jurist Jean Anselme Bernard Montreuil5and the foremost figure in the study of Byzantine legal history, Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal. Writing from his country estate at Grosskmehlen, Zachariä von Lingenthal’s writings spanned the second half of the nineteenth century, among which his survey of Byzantine legal sources,6 numerous editions of texts and
history of Byzantine law did much give the incipient field a firm foundation. To the present day the primary activity of nineteenth-century Byzantine legal scholarship, namely the criticism and description of normative legal texts, has continued: indeed, there is still much work to be done in this area.7 A definitive modern edition of the most important law-code of the Middle Byzantine
period, the Basilika, was lacking until a mere twenty-five years ago.8
Even when Kazhdan first presented the incipient ideas of “Do We Need a New History of Byzantine Law” at a conference in Frankfurt in 1981, it received considerable criticism from legal historians there working under the aegis of Dieter Simon at the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte.9 Responses to Kazhdan’s proposal in the ensuing years were
written by Ludwig Burgmann10 and Dieter Simon.11 Among Burgmann’s points was that Kazhdan’s dichotomy between law and reality caricatured legal historical scholarship as legal positivism. Kazhdan’s proposed Institutionengeschichte, modeled on the work of Max Kaser and Leopold Wenger, would likely not allow the inclusion of the non-normative legal sources.
Additionally, the emphasis on normative legal sources by legal historians, given their expertise,was of course understandable: “[w]o nicht über Recht gesprochen wird, da hat der
Rechtshistoriker sein Recht verloren.”
Another response to Kazhdan’s challenge was penned by Bernard Stolte, working within the great tradition of Dutch legal historians of Byzantine law at the University of Groningen,12which along with the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt represented the two great centers of scholarship on Byzantine legal history in the second half of
the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century.13 Stolte stressed that the disjuncture between Byzantine “social” historians of Kazhdan’s sort and Byzantine legal historians was due to the way which Byzantine legal history had initially developed as a discipline, that is, as an ancillary means by which Roman legal historians could better research their subject.14 The
disconnect between law and reality perpetuated by Byzantine legal sources is not a unique problem, and is in fact representative of codified legal systems, such as France after the introduction of the Code Napoléon.15
Some progress towards realizing Kazhdan’s proposal has certainly been made in recent years. The edited volume Law and Society in Byzantium, which featured contributions from art, legal and social historians of Byzantium, was a good start.16 The work of Ruth Macrides, which is centered on the later phases of Byzantine history, has served as an excellent model for historians writing about Byzantine law.17 Although the present study, “Byzantine Legal Culture under the Macedonian Dynasty, 867-1056”, is not the New History of Byzantine Law which Alexander Kazhdan envisioned, it will quickly become apparent to the reader that in its
conception and execution it is conditioned by the debate started by the eminent Russian Byzantinist thirty years ago when he first presented his proposal for a new history of Byzantine law in 1981. Notwithstanding his mischaracterizations of legal history and legal historians, Kazhdan’s point that future work on Byzantine legal history should include the full spectrum of
available sources, and not just normative legal sources, is one which has been consciously implemented here.
At the same time, it will likewise immediately be apparent to the reader that this dissertation is hugely indebted to scholars from the other side of the debate, the Byzantine legal historians. Thus while in terms of breadth of source material the present study is marked by Alexander Kazhdan’s vision of what future works on Byzantine law would look like, it is also profoundly influenced above all by Dieter Simon’s Rechtsfindung am byzantinischen Reichsgericht.18 For it was Rechtsfindung, a study of the jurisprudence of the eleventh-century jurist Eustathios Rhomaios, which demonstrated the importance of non-legal paradigms in
Byzantine legal thought. Indeed, Simon’s analysis underlined some of the principal components of Byzantine Legal Culture (though Simon himself did not identify it as such): the tenets of Orthodox Christianity, the eclectic way in which legal texts were employed and the role of social class. The examination of these paradigms and the way in which they interacted with normative
legal regime is termed in this study “Byzantine Legal Culture.”
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Zachary Ray Chitwood
1 Accessed on Jan. 9, 2012.
1 Alexander P. Kazhdan, “Do We Need a New History of Byzantine Law?”, JÖB 39 (1989): pp. 1-28. Kazhdan had
published a variation of this proposal a year earlier, but this essay did not have the same impact as “Do We Need a
New History of Byzantine Law?”; see idem, “Che cosa chiede lo storico di bisanzio allo storico del diritto?”,
Κοινωνία 12 (1988): pp. 129-44.
2 Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal, Geschichte des griechisch-römischen Rechts, 3rd edition (Berlin:
Wiedmannsche Buchhandlung, 1892).
3 Kazhdan, “Do We Need a New History of Byzantine Law?”, p. 28.
4 Hans Erich Troje, Graeca leguntur: die Aneignung des byzantinischen Rechts und die Entstehung eines
humanistischen Corpus iuris civilis in der Jurisprudenz des 16. Jahrhunderts, Forschungen zur neueren
Privatrechtsgeschichte 18 (Cologne: Böhlau, 1971).
5 Jean Anselme Bernard Mortreuil, Histoire du droit byzantin: ou du droit dans l’Empire d’Orient, depuis la mort de
Justinien jusqu’à la prise de Constantinople en 1453, 3 vols. (Paris: E. Guibert, 1843-6).
6 Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal, Historiae juris graeco-romani delineatio. Cum appendice ineditorum
(Heidelberg: sumtibus Christiani Friderici Winter, 1839).
7 For instance, even the chronology of many of the primary legal collections compiled during the Macedonian
dynasty is still hotly debated. See Andreas Schminck, Studien zur mittelbyzantinischen Rectsbüchern, Forschungen
zur byzantinischen Rechtsgeschichte 13 (Frankfurt am Main: Löwenklau, 1986), as well as the response of Th. E.
van Bochove, To date and not to date: on the date and status of Byzantine law books (Groningen: E. Forsten, 1996).
See now as well Juan Signes Codoñer and Francisco Javier Andrés Santos, La introducción al derecho (eisagoge)
del patriarcha Focio, Nueva Roma 28 (Madrid: Consejo Superior des Investigaciones Científicas, 2007).
8 J.H.A. Lokin, “Habent sua fata Basilica”, SG 3 (1989): pp. 1-10.
9 Kazhdan, “Do We Need a New History of Byzantine Law?”, p. 1, note 1.
10 Ludwig Burgmann, “Ansinnen an byzantinische Rechtshistoriker”, RJ 10 (1991): pp. 193-200; here pp. 198-200.
11 Dieter Simon, “Wozu?”, FM 11 (2005): pp. 1-4.
12 On the history of the “Groningen team” of Dutch historians of Byzantine law, see Lokin, “Habent sua fata
Basilica”; idem, “The study of Byzantine law in the Netherlands”, Tijdschrift 61 (1993): pp. 325-333. The story of
the “Frankfurt team” is chronicled in RHBR, vol. 1, pp. vii-xvii.
13 Bernard Stolte, “Not new but novel. Notes on the historiography of Byzantine law”, BMGS 22 (1998): pp. 264-79.
14 Stolte, pp. 266-9.
15 Stolte, pp. 269-72.
16 Angeliki E. Laiou and Dieter Simon (eds.), Law and Society in Byzantium: Ninth—Twelfth Centuries
(Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1994).
17 R.J. Macrides, Kinship and justice in Byzantium, 11th-15th centuries, Variorum collected studies series (Aldershot,
Hampshire, Great Britain; Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate/Variorom, 1999).
18 Dieter Simon, Rechtsfindung am byzantinischen Reichsgericht, Wissenschaft und Gegenwart; Juristische Reihe 4
(Frankfurt am Main: V. Klostermann, 1973)
List of Abbreviations and Frequently-Cited Sources
Bas. = Basilika = Basilicorum libri LX. Edited by H.J. Scheltema and N. van der Wal. 17vols. (Series A = Text, 8 vols.; Series B = Scholia, 9 vols.). Groningen: J.B. Wolters,1953-88.
Bas. Schol. = Basilika (Scholia) contained in Series B (vols. 9-17) of the Groningen edition; also edited by D. Holwerda.
BMFD = Edited by Thomas, John and Hero, Angela Constantides. Byzantine monastic foundation documents: a complete translation of the surviving founders’ typika and testaments. 5 vols. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection,2000.
BMGS = Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies.
BoE = Book of the Eparch = Das Eparchenbuch Leons des Weisen. Edited and translated by Johannes Koder. CFHB 33; Series Vindobonensis. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1991.
BS = Byzantinoslavica.
BZ = Byzantinische Zeitschrift.
CFHB = Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae.
CSHB = Corpus scriptorum historiae byzantinae.
CIC = Corpus iuris civilis. Edited by Paul Krueger, Theodore Mommsen, and Rudolf Schoell. 3 vols. Berlin: apud Weidmannos, 1900-5.
Cod. = Codex Iustinianus. CIC, vol. 2.
Dig. = Digest. CIC, vol. 1, part 2.
DOP = Dumbarton Oaks papers.
FM = Fontes Minores.
Ecloga = Ecloga: das Gesetzbuch Leons III. und Konstantinos’ V. Edited and translated by Ludwig Burgmann. Forschungen zur byzantinischen Rechtsgeschichte 10. Frankfurt:Löwenklau-Gesellschaft, 1983.
EEBS = Επετηρίς της Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών.
Eisagoge = JGR, vol. 2: pp. 229-368, 410-27. A reprint of Collectio librorum juris graeco-romani ineditorum Ecloga Leonis et Constantini, epanagoge Basilii Leonis et Alexandri, edited by Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal (Leipzig: Barthii, 1852), pp.
Epitome = Epitome Legum. JGR, vol. 4: pp. 261-585, 596-619. A reprint of Jus graecoromanum,edited by Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal, 5 vols. (Leipzig: T.O. Weigel,1856-69), vol. 2 (1856), pp. 277-431.
JGR = Jus graecoromanum. Edited by I. and P. Zepos. 8 vols. Aalen: Scientia, 1962 (Reprint of 1931 edition).
JÖB = Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik.
MGH = Monumenta Germaniae historica.
NG = Nomos Georgikos = Византийский земледельческий закон. Edited and translated by E. . Lipshi ts, . . Medvedev, E. iotrovs a ia . Leningrad; “Nau a”, Leningrads oe otd-nie, 1984.
NM = Nomos Mosaikos = L. Burgmann and Sp. Troianos. “Nomos Mosaï os.” FM 3(1979): pp. 126-67.
NN = Nomos Nautikos = The Rhodian Sea-Law. Edited and translated by Walter Ashburner. Aalen: Scientia Verlag, 1976; originally printed at Oxford: Clarendon Press,1909.
NS = Nomos Stratiotikos = Le leggi penali militari dell’impero bizantino nell’alto Medioevo. Pietro Verri. Rome. Scuola ufficiali carabinieri. 1978.
Nov. = Novels of Justinian. CIC, vol. 3.
Novella constitutio = John Mauropous. Novella constitutio saec. XI medii: quae est de schola iuris Constantinopoli constituenda et legum custode creando. Translated by Antonín Salač. Textes breves graeci et latini 1. rague: n aedibus Academiae Scientiarum Bohemoslovenicae, 1954.
Novels of Leo VI = Οι Νεαρές Λέοντος ϛ΄ του Σοφού. Edited and translated by Spyros N.Trōianos. Athens: Ērodotos, 2007.
ODB = Alexander P. Kazhdan (editor in chief) et al. The Oxford dictionary of Byzantium.3 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Peira = JGR, vol 4. pp. 11-260. A reprint of Jus graeco-romanum, edited by Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal, 5 vols. (Leipzig: T.O. Weigel, 1856-69), vol. 1 (1856).
Pitra = Iuris ecclesiastici graecorum historia et monumenta iussu Pii IX. Pont. Max.Edited by I.B. Pitra. Romae: Typis Collegii urbani, 1864-8.
Prochiron = JGR, vol. 2: pp. 107-228, 395-410. A reprint of Ὁ Πρόχειρος Νόμος.Imperatorum Basilii, Constantini et Leonis prochiron, edited by Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal (Heidelberg: Apud J.C.B. Mohr, 1837).
REB = Revue des études byzantines.
RJ = Rechtshistorisches Journal.
RHBR = Repertorium der Handschriften des byzantinischen Rechts. Forschungen zur byzantinischen Rechtsgeschichte 20, 28. Teil 1. Die Handschriften des weltlichen Rechts (Nr. 1-327) / von Ludwig Burgmann, Marie Theres Fögen, Andreas Schminck,
Dieter Simon; Teil 2. Die Handschriften des kirchlichen Rechts I (Nr. 328-427) / von Andreas Schminck und Dorotei Getov ; mit Unterstützung mehrerer Fachkollegen.Frankfurt: Löwenklau—Gesellschaft e.V. Frankfurt Am Main, 1995-2011.
Rh.-P. = Σύνταγμα των θείων και ιερών κανόνων […]. Edited by G.A. Rhallēs and M.otlēs. 6 vols. Athens: e tēs typ. G. Chartophyla os, 1852-9.
SG = Subseciva Groningana.
Stratēgikon. = Kekaumenos. Stratēgikon = Raccomandazioni e consigli di un galantuomo: Stratēgikon / Cecaumeno. Edited and translated by Maria Dora Spadaro.Hellenica 2. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 1998.
Tijdschrift = Tijdschrift voor rechtsgeschiedenis.
TM = Travaux et mémoires/Centre de recherche d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance.
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