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The Breviary of Alaric

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The Breviary of Alaric, or Lex Romana Visigothorum, was a law code commissioned by Alaric II, king of the Visigoths. Alaric's father, Euric, had promulgated a Germanic law code specifically for his Visigothic subjects. But Alaric's Breviary was a compilation of Roman law designed for the Romans that lived in the Visigothic Kingdom, which covered present-day Spain and southern France. The issuance of this code illustrates how, in the tumultuous years at the end of the Western Roman Empire, the Roman citizens who had been living in the region coexisted with "barbarian" newcomers, each group following their own laws.

Much of the Lex Romana, as the Breviary was generally known at that time, was based on the Theodosian code, but it also included portions of other law codes. In addition, it contained both imperial constitutions, or leges, and juridical treatises, or jura.

The Breviary of Alaric would be superseded by the Forum judicum of King Recceswinth, but it would still be an important factor in preserving Roman law in southeastern France.

Also Known As: In Latin, Breviarium Alaricanum; Lex Romana Visigothorum or, simply Lex Romana. The Breviary of Alaric is also sometimes known as the Breviary of Anianus (Breviarium Aniani), due to the fact that copies of it were certified under the hand of Anianus.

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