Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 6: Justinian


Source: Wiki Commons (Public Domain)




Law Codifier

Eastern Roman Emperor

Teacher of Dante


NOTE: On Mercury, Dante meets the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian, who had the Roman law codified — put in an orderly fashion. Before Justinian, Roman law was disorderly. Many emperors had made many laws, and no one really knew what the law was, and so no one had any way of knowing what was legal and what was illegal. Justinian had people clean up the law — get rid of the old, outdated laws, and make sure that the current laws made sense. In addition, he had a commentary and a textbook of the law created — that way, people could study the law and so know what was legal and what was illegal. As always, when Dante talks to someone in the afterlife, that person has something to teach him. Certainly, law is important, and it is important that people know what the law is. Law is one of the most important things that a secular ruler needs to take care of.




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