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Legal History at Glasgow

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Paul Krüger, Theodor Mommsen, and the Theodosian Code

Peter Riedlberger and Isabel Niemöller

The present article contains a full transcription plus an English translation of Mommsen's and Krüger's correspondence regarding the Theodosian Code edition, as far as it is extant. This so far largely unpublished material shows that the gloomy picture of Mommsen robbing Krüger of his work and due honors (painted by Matthews and others) has little to do with reality. In a nutshell, Krüger's complaint was not that Mommsen appropriated and used his material, but rather that Mommsen rejected it and preferred to start from scratch.

Nor is it convincing to call Krüger's later edition – into which he conjecturally incorporated material from the Justinian Code – "nearer to the original Theodosian Code." This woefully downplays the fact that such additions may only inform us about some further topics which were treated in the original Theodosian Code. The legal rule itself, however, could be modified, possibly to its exact opposite, and since we know that the Justinian Code compilers created a structure quite independent from their Theodosian predecessors, the position assigned to a given Justinian Code fragment is rarely more than mere guesswork.

Conversely, the real merits of Krüger's edition have mostly gone unnoticed. When it comes to readings of R or completion of lost bits of T, Mommsen was often overconfident, and it certainly makes sense to check Krüger's alternative ideas.

Roman Legal Tradition, 17 (2021), 1–112

DOI 10.55740/2021.1

This work is licensed under Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0. Copyright © 2021 by Peter Riedlberger and Isabel Niemöller. All rights reserved apart from those granted above. Roman Legal Tradition is published by the Ames Foun­dation at the Harvard Law School and the Alan Rodger Endowment at the University of Glasgow. ISSN 1943-6483.



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