Beirut Law School

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The law school was located in the immediate vicinity of the Byzantine predecessor building of the St. George Cathedral

The Beirut Law School was a Roman higher educational institution during the Roman Empire and Late Antiquity , possibly founded by Hadrian , if not already in the principate of Augustus . Another source assumes that it was founded around 197 AD under Septimius Severus . None of the assumptions contradicts a 239 or 240 written speech by the early church bishop Gregorius Thaumaturgus , who switched from the already existing law school of Caesarea to the legal and Latin specialization in Beirut (Beryt). In this respect, your good reputation must already have existed.

The law school is best known for the two late classical law scholars Papinian and Ulpian , who taught there. Her writings enjoyed such great authority in the Roman Empire that the emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III. they named 426 in the so-called citation law - the collection of laws of the Codex Theodosianus was published only afterwards, in the year 438 - together with those of the jurists Gaius , Modestinus and Paulus as the basis for decisions of their officials in legal questions. Research also assumes that Beirut (Beryt) belonged to the stationes ius publice docentium aut respondentium . Contrary to Mommsen's opinion, law teachers were allowed to draw up legal opinions ( responsae ) not only in Rome, but also in the provinces .

The school of law enjoyed a high reputation for centuries. Since Latin was the language of the Roman jurists, the colonia Beirut / Berytus was for a long time a Latin language island in the middle of a Greek and Syrian-dominated environment - around 400 Latin inscriptions were still placed there.

Emperor Justinian I decided around 530 that Beirut should function as the only officially recognized educational institution of the Roman Empire alongside Constantinople and Rome . But by an earthquake in the region, the city of Beirut (and thus the building of the law school) was badly damaged in 551. The school's heyday was over. The Islamic expansion in the 7th century and the associated loss of the provinces of the Near East for the Roman Empire then ended the existence of the institution forever.


  • Paul Collinet: Histoire de l'École de Droit de Beyrouth. 1925. Fb & c Limited, 2018 (Classic Reprint). ISBN 978-1-3904-0071-7 .
  • Linda Jone Hall: Roman Berytus. Beirut in Late Antiquity , London 2004.
  • Fritz Pringsheim : Beryth and Bologna. In: Festschrift Otto Lenel . Leipzig 1921. p. 204 ff.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Franz Peter Bremer: The legal teachers and legal schools in the Roman Empire , published by I. Guttentag, Berlin 1868, p. 71 ff. (73) with reference to sources by Adolf August Friedrich Rudorff and Panegyrici Latini .
  2. ^ Franz Peter Bremer with reference to Ulpianus in the Fragmenta Vaticana § 150 ( hi qui ius civile docent were not under tutelage from Rome ).