The Novellas

The promulgation of the Theodosian Code did not close the door on Roman law and did not give the final word on imperial intervention into religious matters. The emperors of the fifth and sixth centuries (up to the publication of a new Code by Emperor Justinian in 529) continued to issue supplemental laws, "novellas." The following are two such novellas, from the Emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III, that return to themes of religious significance addresssed in the Theodosian Code: the ambivalent place of non-Christians in a legally Christian empire and the increasing demonization and legal penalization of heretics (here the Manicheans, who, as the novella points out, were, in fact, outlawed even by the pagan Emperor Diocletian and who would be deemed the "archheretics" of the Middle Ages). Law was perceived, even after the publication of the Code, as an evolving, creative effort, constantly amended to enforce better the unwavering truth of Christian, and now imperial, orthodoxy.

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