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Diritto e ‘simulata philosophia’ nelle Istituzioni di Ulpiano

Lauretta Maganzani


In a well-known fragment of Justinian’s Digest, Ulpian addresses the students who are about to face the world of law by reading his Institutes: the young people who are going to dedicate themselves to the law must know that it derives and is founded on justice and this because – according to the elegant definition of Celsus – it is indeed an ars, but an ars that deals with the ultimate goal of all research, that is, good and equity. Jurists are sometimes called sacerdotes of this ars – Ulpian continues – and rightly so: in fact they cultivate justice and bring news of the good and the fair by separating the fair from the iniquitous and the licit from the illicit, anxious to form good people not because of the fear of punishment but because of the encouragement derived from the awards, and aspiring to the real philosophy, not to the simulated one. The text has been studied a lot by Roman law scholars, but this essay offers some further interpretative clues concerning, in particular, the last expression of the fragment, namely that jurists tend – nisi fallor, the jurist controversially adds – to the true philosophy, not to the simulated one.


Ulpiano; Ius; Iustitia; simulata philosophia; Ulpian; vera philosophia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/erga-2020-001-maga

Copyright (©) 2020 Lauretta Maganzani – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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