This is a list of Roman imperial letters and laws from A.D. 311-431. In cases where a law is preserved in multiple ancient sources, only the source consulted is listed. Coleman-Norton contains detailed information on the sources of most of the laws below.

The main two books used in making this page were:

  • Coleman-Norton, P.R. Roman State and Christian Church, 3 volumes. London: SPCK, 1966. This work contains translations of Roman legal documents relating to the church from the years A.D. 113 to 534. It also includes a useful glossary of technical terms.
  • Pharr, Clyde. The Theodosian Code and Novels. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952. This is an English translation, not a critical edition.

For more on anti-pagan legislation, Imperial celebrations, and the Roman aristocracy’s relationship with the church, see John Curran, Pagan City and Christian Capital: Rome in the Fourth Century (Oxford 2000), especially chapters 5-7.

Explanation of table:
Date: If an exact day is listed, then the date is given as recorded in the primary document itself. If only a year is given, the date is an educated guess, based on Coleman-Norton unless otherwise noted. If there is reason to question a date, a question mark follows the year, and a note explains the date under the “Summary of document” column.
Ancient Source: This lists the ancient source where the law or letter is preserved. If it is preserved in multiple sources, only the source translated in Coleman-Norton is listed. See Coleman-Norton for complete information on the sources. Also see the list of abbreviations.
C-N #: Coleman-Norton document number. See “The primary sources…” above.
Emperor(s): This lists the emperors whose names appear on the document, even if it was only composed by one of the emperors. For instance, many of the laws to which Theodosius II subscribed were written when he was only a boy, but his name is still on the law, so we have listed him in this column.
Summary of document: This is our summary of the law. We have not translated the original, but have given as succinctly as possible the contents of the law or letter based on the translations in the two books listed above.

AD 311-364 (Constantine – Jovian)

AD 364-395 (Valentinian I – Theodosius I)

AD 395-431 (Arcadius and Honorius - Council of Ephesus and Aftermath)

Created by GAD and AJW

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