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Statue dedans le Palais de justice.JPG
19th century statue of Ulpian in the neoclassical Palais de Justice in Brussels, Belgium.
Born c. 170
Died 223
Nationality Roman
Occupation jurist

Ulpian (/ˈʌlpiən/; Latin: Gnaeus Domitius Annius Ulpianus; c. 170 – 223) was a Roman jurist of Tyrian ancestry.


The exact time and place of his birth are unknown, but the period of his literary activity was between AD 211 and 222. He made his first appearance in public life as assessor in the auditorium of Papinian and member of the council of Septimius Severus; under Caracalla he was master of the requests (magister libellorum). Elagabalus (also known as Heliogabalus) banished him from Rome, but on the accession of Severus Alexander (222) he was reinstated, and finally became the emperor's chief adviser and praefectus praetorio. His curtailment of the privileges granted to the Praetorian Guard by Elagabalus provoked their enmity, and he narrowly escaped their vengeance; ultimately he was murdered in the palace, in the course of a riot between the soldiers and the mob.[1]


His works include Ad Sabinum, a commentary on the jus civile, in over 50 books; Ad edictum, a commentary on the Edict, in 83 books; collections of opinions, responses and disputations; books of rules and institutions; treatises on the functions of the different magistrates — one of them, the De officio proconsulis libri x., being a comprehensive exposition of the criminal law; monographs on various statutes, on testamentary trusts, and a variety of other works. His writings altogether have supplied to Justinian's Digest about a third of its contents, and his commentary on the Edict alone about a fifth. As an author, he is characterized by doctrinal exposition of a high order, judiciousness of criticism, and lucidity of arrangement, style and language.[1] He is also credited with the first life table ever.[2]

Domitii Ulpiani fragmenta, consisting of 29 titles, were first edited by Tilius (Paris, 1549). Other editions are by Hugo (Berlin, 1834), Booking (Bonn, 1836), containing fragments of the first book of the Institutiones discovered by Endlicher at Vienna in 1835, and in Girard's Textes de droit romain (Paris, 1890).[1]


It had been assumed for a long time that Ulpian of Tyre was a model for Athenaeus' Ulpian in The Deipnosophists — or The Banquet of the Learned. Athenaeus makes 'Ulpian' out to be a grammarian and philologist, characterised by his customary interjections: "Where does this word occur in writing?". He is represented as a symposiarch and he occupies a couch alone; his death is passed over in silence in Book XV 686 c. Scholars today agree that Athenaeus's Ulpian is not the historical Ulpian, but possibly his father.

The date of the real Ulpian's death in 223 AD. has been wrongly used to estimate the date of completion of The Deipnosophists.

In the study of Law, he's mostly remembered for the phrase "Juris Praecepta Sunt haec: Honeste Vivere, Alterum Non Laedere, Suum Cuique Tribuere", which translates to: "Such are the [basic] principles of Law: live honestly, do not offend the others, give to each person what it's entitled".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ulpian". Encyclopædia Britannica 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ Frier B., 1982, Roman Life Expectancy: Ulpian's Evidence, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, LXXXVI.


  • Tony Honoré, Ulpian: Pioneer of Human Rights; Oxford University Press; 2002.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulpian — Please support Wikipedia.
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149 news items

Vatican Radio

Vatican Radio
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 02:04:42 -0800

That will be possible, having in mind the definition of justice of the Roman jurist Ulpian and of St Augustine of Hippo – “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuendi” (Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to ...

Daily Mail

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Wed, 13 Jan 2016 03:49:00 -0800

Ulpian, Ipswich, 3 weeks ago. Why do the people we pay to protect us do nothing? Where are the police, where is strong government, why aren't the liberal apologists being arrested for incitement? We may yet have to take action ourselves, the ungoverned ...

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Sat, 05 Dec 2015 03:32:46 -0800

It is torture when an investigation is conducted with torment and force. . . . Torture is a weak and dangerous thing that may fail the truth. —Ulpian, Justinian's Digest. Marina Gonzàlez stood before the Toledan inquisitors Fernando de Mazuecos and ...

Daily Mail

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