The Justice of Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control

The Justice of Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control

by John Dillon


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As the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great has long interested those studying the establishment of Christianity. But Constantine is also notable for his ability to control a sprawling empire and effect major changes. The Justice of Constantineexamines Constantine's judicial and administrative legislation and his efforts to maintain control over the imperial bureaucracy, to guarantee the working of Roman justice, and to keep the will of his subjects throughout the Roman Empire.

John Dillon first analyzes the record of Constantine's legislation and its relationship to prior legislation. His initial chapters also serve as an introduction to Roman law and administration in later antiquity. Dillon then considers Constantine's public edicts and internal communications about access to law, trials and procedure, corruption, and punishment for administrative abuses. How imperial officials relied on correspondence with Constantine to resolve legal questions is also considered. A study of Constantine's expedited appellate system, to ensure provincial justice, concludes the book.

Constantine's constitutions reveal much about the Theodosian Code and the laws included in it. Constantine consistently seeks direct sources of reliable information in order to enforce his will. In official correspondence, meanwhile, Constantine strives to maintain control over his officials through punishment; trusted agents; and the cultivation of accountability, rivalry, and suspicion among them.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472118298
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 06/30/2012
Series: Law and Society in the Ancient World
Pages: 310
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Dillon is Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1

1 The Sources and the Codex Theodosianus 12

2 Formal Characteristics of the Legislation of Constantine 35

3 Changes in Legislation from Diocletian to Constantine 60

4 The Propagation of Justice 90

5 Constantine and the Provincials 119

6 Constantine and the Imperial Bureaucracy 156

7 Control and Consultation: Breves, Relationes, Consultationes 192

8 Appellatio 214

Conclusion 251

Works Cited 259

Index Locorum 277

General Index 285

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