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It is almost superfluous to notice that the theologian, the general historian, and the speculative jurist are seen on all sides to be resorting to the facts of Roman law and administration for the support of their theories or the confutation of their opponents.
I have preferred the term “ Civil” to “ Roman” in describing the system of which I treat, because for all modern purposes it is only the Roman law, as modified and transformed by Justinian for the use of his non-Roman provinces, with all their medley populations and governments, which has descended to the modern world. All that was nearly obsolete in the time of Gaius—that is, the middle of the second Christian century-is little more than matter of curious antiquarian research now. Most of that which lived, or was called to life, in Justinian's reign —that is, in the first half of the sixth century-is, under one form or another, living at this hour.
For some years back I had been collecting books new and old, bearing on the fortunes of the Civil law, and especially on its relations to customary law in France and England. Nearly all these books were burnt in the fire of Alexandria, in July, 1882, and I have been, consequently, prevented from verifying references in the proof-sheets, and giving particulars as to the number and dates of editions I have used. The marginal references generally are only designed for the general direction of students' reading, and not for the proof of assertions in the
text. To supply this proof to every sentence would have overloaded the margin beyond all proportion.
I need not say I have made the freest use of the latest German, French, Belgian, and Dutch textbooks, and especially of Mr. Long's articles in Smith's “ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities," which, with Professor Hunter's exhaustive treatise on “Roman Law," are the best purely English authorities on the subject. In matter of classification I have usually preferred the Continental to the English methods, and the German to the French.