Publius Iuventius Celsus (lawyer)

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Publius Iuventius Celsus Titus Aufidius Hoenius Severianus was a Roman politician, senator and lawyer . To distinguish it from his father, the lawyer Iuventius Celsus (Celsus pater), he is also known as "Celsus filius".


The full name of the jurist is handed down in Digest (D., but with two distortions: instead of Titus it says in the Digest Titius, instead of Hoenius (for which Oenius could also be written). Oenus, a word structure, is nowhere else attested as a name. Celsus probably came from northern Italy. While the family of the luventii Celsi cannot be traced any further, the later names of the younger Celsus allow the determination that Celsus filius was associated with the family of the Hoenii Severi. This family, who came to the consulate in 142 and 170 AD, both times with a T. Hoenius Severus (presumably father and son), came from northern Umbria. One son will have been the consul of 164, P. Iuventius Celsus .

life and work

In 106 or 107 Celsus was praetor . 114/115 Celsus was governor in Thracia , immediately afterwards, in 115, Celsus held the suffect consulate . In 129 Celsus became consul for the second time and then governor of Asia (129/130). Celsus succeeded his father Iuventius Celsus in the Proculian School of Law . He belonged to Hadrian's Consilium and was instrumental in the Senatus consultum Iuventianum (129 AD). His style has been described as peppy and sharp-tongued. Celsus loved motto-like formulations.

We owe it to him for the only definition of ius (law) as ars boni et aequi ("Law is the science of the good and the cheap" ( Ulpian in D. 1.1.1. Pr)) ever conceived by a Roman jurist . In doing so, he subordinated “law” to “justice” ( iustitia ), understanding the term not formally but determined by the core messages of content, morality and Aristotelian justice and equality. He also penned the golden rules of law: “Knowing the law does not mean adhering to its wording, but to its meaning and purpose” (D. 1.3.17) and “It is unjuristic without the law as a whole observe to judge or advise against any of its parts ”. (D. 1.3.24) Furthermore, we owe to his sharp tongues the clever design of the arrears adjustment for strict legal obligations and the responsum Celsinum to the foolish quaestio Domitiana . But Pliny reprimanded rhetorical weaknesses. The main work of Celsus is the 39 libri digestorum , a collection of legal cases.

Today, alongside Julian and Neratius Priscus , the heads of the Sabinian school of law, Celsus is regarded as an outstanding lawyer of the young high class at the turn of the 1st to the 2nd century.



  1. a b Jan Dirk Harke : Roman law. From the classical period to the modern codifications . Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57405-4 ( floor plans of the law ), § 1 no. 15 (pp. 12-13).
  2. a b Christoph F. Wetzler: Rule of Law and Absolutism: Considerations on the Constitution of the Late Antique Empire based on CJ 1.14.8 , (= Freiburg legal-historical treatises ). At the same time: University, dissertation, Freiburg (Breisgau), 1995/96. Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-428-08968-5 , pp. 168 ff. (169).
  3. The Senatus consultum Iuventianum was a Roman Senate resolution, which had the content that a bona fide inheritance owner was only obliged to surrender the existing enrichment ( D. Named after him is a condictio , the condictio Iuventiana , D. 12.1.32.
  4. Uwe Wesel : History of the law. From the early forms to the present . 3rd revised and expanded edition. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-47543-4 . Marg. 349.
  5. quaestio Domitiana (Domitian question), a ridiculous, simple-minded question, named after the Roman legal scholar Domitius Labeo, who had put such a question to Iuventius Celsus in a testimony. - responsum Celsinum , answer of Celsus to the foolish question.

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