Duhaime's LawGallery - The Law In Pictures


Justinian's Great Decision

  • Object type: Painting
  • Formal Title: Justinien
  • Creator: Benjamin Constant (1845-1902)
  • Date Created: 1886
  • Origin: France
  • Current Location: France

It was a thousand years after the death of Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinian (482-565) that French painter Benjamin Constant visualized and portrayed on this canvass the great jurist commanding of his royal court a consolidation of Roman law into a great code, which became known as the Institutes, the Corpus Juris Civilis or the Pandects.

This was a seminal moment in law and justice as from it came an understandable and fair Roman law code which served as the direct basis for the civil law system, a system which is by far the most prevalent legal system in the world today.

Likely one of the other persons the artist Constant incorporated into his image is Tribonian, who led the task and became Justinian's top legal advisor, and may be the robed officer sitting just to the right of Justinian.

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