“Laws of the Romans” and Their Application in the 8th Century Spain According to the Letters of Gregory the Great
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“Laws of the Romans” and Their Application in the 8th Century Spain According to the Letters of Gregory the Great
Annotation
PII
S207987840001908-7-1
DOI
10.18254/S0001908-7-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Elena Marey 
Affiliation: Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract
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.
Keywords
Gregory the Great, Gregory the Great’s letters, Corpus iuris civilis, Byzantine enclave in Spain, Kingdom of Toledo, canon law
Received
11.05.2017
Publication date
16.07.2017
Number of characters
13693
Number of purchasers
26
Views
4062
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0.0 (0 votes)
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