Law of the Twelve Tables Ten Roman men were given wide powers to write the laws that were to govern Romans. These laws are considered to form the foundation of modern public and private law. They helped organize how crimes would be prosecuted publicly and instituted a system whereby injured parties could seek compensation from their aggressors. The laws were designed to protect the lower classes from the legal abuses of the ruling class, especially in the enforcement of debts. From that point on, a basic principle of Roman law was that the law must be written and that justice could not be left in the hands of judges alone to interpret. Among its proscriptions, the law prohibited interclass marriages, seriously punished thieves, and gave fathers’ rights of life or death over their sons.
Justinian Code provides another example of early codified law. Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium, is best remembered for his codification of Roman law in a series of books called Corpus Juris Civilis. Legal maxims still in use today are derived from Justinian Code. His work inspired the modern concept of justice, a word that comes from the emperor’s name. This Roman code formed the foundation of civil law, one of the two main legal