“Laws of the Romans” and Their Application in the 8th Century Spain According to the Letters of Gregory the Great
Table of contents
“Laws of the Romans” and Their Application in the 8th Century Spain According to the Letters of Gregory the Great
Publication type
Elena Marey 
Affiliation: Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
This articles is dedicated to the analysis of three letters from the Register epistolarum of the Pope Gregory I of Great (590–604), which describe the case of the bishops Januarius and Stefan (XIII. 46, 47, 49). Letter XIII.46 is an instruction to the papal defensor John, sent in 603 by the pope to Byzantine Spain to investigate how and under what circumstances were convicted the bishops Januarius and Stefan several years ago. According to these letters we can learn that the bishops were removed from office and sent into exile by the Byzantine governor named Komitiol. The reason for their disgrace probably lies in their close connection with the bishops of the Kingdom of Toledo, the enemy of Byzantine Empire. The letter XIII.47 is the John’s retourn: we learn that the bishops were not only subjected to a completely unjust sentence, but the whole procedure of the trial was conducted with numerous violations. Finally, by letter XIII.49, which are the subtitle Exemplum legis, Gregory dismissed the accusation from Januarius and Stefan, and imposed a penance on their offenders and excommunicated them. The verdict also affected the successor of Komitiol (who had perished by that time): he had to return to Januarius the confiscated property. To confirm the legitimacy of his decisions, Gregory quoted in the letter fragments of 123-th Novellae by Justinian, as well as some of the constitutions of the Code. This is the only case of direct appeal of the pope to the legislation of Justinian, and generally to the norms of secular law. Partly the literal quoting of fragments of the Code can be explained by lacunae in the canon law of the VI century, which Gregory tried to close with the imperial legislation. However, this explanation is not exhausted. Gregory cited the laws though carefully (preserving the inscription and the subscript, noting the abbreviations, etc.), but still selectively: he leaved behind the scenes those fragments that could not justify his interference and his decision. We do not know exactly, if Corpus iuris civilis was known, how it was applied, so it is probable that the pope's addressees did not have the very books of the Codex and Novellae in their hands, and Gregory had no choice but to quote them. With the support of the norms of the imperial legislation Gregory the Great could defend his point of view in a correspondence dispute with the governor of Byzantine Spain, having taken a decision that was contrary to his interests.
Gregory the Great, Gregory the Great’s letters, Corpus iuris civilis, Byzantine enclave in Spain, Kingdom of Toledo, canon law
Publication date
Number of characters
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 200 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article and additional services
Whole issue and additional services
All issues and additional services for 2017


Additional sources and materials

  1. Aurov O. V. Vestgotskie koroli-ariane posle ehpokhi Iordana (kharakter, ideologiya i simvolika vlasti) // Vspomogatel'nye istoricheskie distsipliny. T. 31. SPb., 2010. C. 74–103.
  2. Vestgotskaya pravda (Kniga prigovorov). Latinskij tekst. Perevod. Issledovanie. M., 2012.
  3. Grigorij I Velikij. Pis'ma / per. s lat. V. B. Prozorova // Antologiya mirovoj pravovoj mysli. T. 2. M., 1999. S. 199–205.
  4. Zvyagina E. D., Marej E. S. Rim, Vizantiya i Korolevstvo vestgotov v perepiske papy Grigoriya Velikogo // Teologiya i politika. Vlast', Tserkov' i tekst v korolevstvakh vestgotov (V – nachalo VIII vv.). Issledovaniya i perevodyM., 2017. S. 257–306.
  5. Boesch Gajano S. Gregorio Magno. Alle origini del Medioevo. Roma, 2004.
  6. Brehaut E. An Encyclopedist of the Dark Ages. N. Y., 1912.
  7. Castaldi L. Il Registrum epistolarum di Gregorio Magno // Filologia mediolatina. Studies in Medieval Latin Texts and their Transmission. Rivista della Fondazione Ezio Franceschini. 2004. T. XI. P. 55–98.
  8. Churruca J. de. Las fuentes de la definición de codicilo en san Isidoro de Sevilla // Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español. 1964. T. 34. P. 5–30.
  9. Damizia G. Lineamenti di diritto canonico nel “Registrum epistolarum” di San Gregorio Magno. Roma, 1949.
  10. Dudden F. H. Gregory the Great. His place in History and Thought. London, 1905. Volume I–II.
  11. Forlin Patrucco M. Registrum epistolarum // Scrittura e storia. Per una lettura delle opere di Gregorio Magno. Firenze, 2005. P. 339–356.
  12. García Gallo A. Nacionalidad y territorialidad del derecho en la época visigoda // Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español. 1936. T. 41. P. 168–264.
  13. Gibert R. Historia general del derecho español. Madrid, 1981.
  14. Giordano L. Giustizia e potere giudiziario ecclesiastico nell’epistolario di Gregorio Magno. Bari, 1997.
  15. Giordano L. “Lex fori” e “lex Dei” nel “Registrum epistolarum” di Gregorio Magno // Gregorio Magno e le origini dell’Europa / Sotto la dir. di C. Leonardi. Firenze, 2014. P. 259–268.
  16. González Fernández R. Las cartas de Gregorio Magno al defensor Juan. La aplicación del derecho de Justiniano en la Hispania bizantina en el siglo VII // Antigüedad cristiana (Murcia). 1997. T. XIV. R. 287–298.
  17. Hillgarth J.N. Coins and Chronicles: Propaganda in the Sixth-Century in Spain and the Byzantine Background // Historia: Zeitschrift fur Alte Geschichte. 1966. Vol. 15. №4. P. 483–508.
  18. La colección canónica hispana / ed. G. MartínezDiez, F. Rodríguez // Monumenta Hispaniae sacra: Serie canónica. Vol. 3. Madrid, 1982.
  19. Larraona A., Tabera A. El derecho justinianeo en España // Atti del congresso internazionale di Diritto Romano. Vol. 2. Pavia, 1935. P. 85–182.
  20. Markus R. A. Gregory the Great and his World. Cambridge, 1997.
  21. Morossi D. The Governors of Byzantine Spain // Bizantinistica. Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Slavi. 2013. T. XV. P. 131–156.
  22. Norberg D. Qui a composé les lettres de saint Grégoire le Grand? // Studi medievali. 1980. T. 21 (1). P. 1–18.
  23. Orlandis J. Gregorio Magno y la España visigodo-bizantina // Estudios en homenaje a don Claudio Sánchez Albornoz en sus 90 años. Buenos Aires, 1983. T. 1. P. 329–348.
  24. Padoa-Schioppa A. Gregorio Magno giudice // Studi medievali. 2010. T. 51 (2). R. 581–610.
  25. Pietri Ch. Concordia apostolorum et renovatio Urbis (culte des martyrs et propagande pontificale) // Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire. 1961. P. 275–322.
  26. Pietri Ch. La Rome de Grégoire // Gregorio Magno e il suo tempo (Incontro di studiosi dell’Antichità cristiana, 9-12 mai 1990). T. 33. Rome, 1991. Vol. 1. R. 9–32.
  27. Richards J. Consul of God. The Life and Times of Gregory the Great. L., 1980.
  28. S. Gregorii Magni Registrum epistolarum / ed. D. Norberg // Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina CXL A. T. 2. Turnholti, 1982.
  29. Vallejo Girvés M. Bizancio ante la conversión de los visigodos: los obispos Jenaro y Estebán // Concilio III de Toledo: XIV Centenario. 589–1989: Congreso. Toledo, 1989. P. 477–483.
  30. Villela Masana J. Gregorio Magno e Hispania // Gregorio Magno e il suo tempo (Incontro di studiosi dell'Antichità cristiana, 9–12 mai 1990). T. 33. Rome, 1991. Vol. 1. P. 167–186.



No posts found

Write a review