roots of the legal principles and practices of the ancient Romans may be traced
to the Law of the Twelve Tables promulgated in 449 BCE and to the codification
of law issued by order of Emperor Justinian I around 530 CE (Corpus Juris
Civilis). Roman law as preserved in Justinian's codes continued into the Byzantine
Empire, and formed the basis of similar codifications in continental Western
Europe. Roman law continued, in a broader sense, to be applied throughout most
of Europe until the end of the 17th century.
The major divisions of the law of ancient Rome, as contained
within the Justinian and Theodosian law codes, consisted of Ius Civile, Ius
Gentium, and Ius Naturale. The Ius Civile ("Citizen
Law") was the body of common laws that applied to Roman citizens. The Praetores
Urbani (sg. Praetor Urbanus) were the people who had jurisdiction
over cases involving citizens. The Ius Gentium ("Law of
nations") was the body of common laws that applied to foreigners, and
their dealings with Roman citizens. The Praetores Peregrini (sg.
Praetor Peregrinus) were the people who had jurisdiction over cases
involving citizens and foreigners. Ius Naturale encompassed natural law,
the body of laws that were considered common to all beings.