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The novels comprise a series of laws issued in the sixth century by the famous Emperor Justinian (r.527-65), along with a number of measures issued by his immediate successors on the throne of Constantinople. They reveal the evolution of Roman law at the end of antiquity and how imperial law was transmitted to both the Byzantine East and Latin West in the Early Middle Ages.
Crucially, the texts cast fascinating light on how litigants of all social backgrounds sought to appropriate the law and turn it to their advantage, as well as on topics ranging from the changing status of women to the persecution of homosexuals, and from the spread of heresy to the economic impact of the first known outbreak of bubonic plague.
This work represents the first English translation of the novels based on the original Greek, and comes with an extensive historical and legal commentary.