views updated Jun 27 2018


ULPIAN (Ulpianus Domitius of Tyre ; d. 228 c.e.), Roman jurist. Some scholars in the early part of the 16th century, believing that the Latin of Ulpian had been corrupted by an Oriental influence, sought for traces of "Hebraisms" in the fragments of his works, many passages of which are included in the Digest of Justinian. One, Otto, even went so far as to affirm, in his Thesaurus of Roman Law, that Ulpian, together with two other great Roman jurists, Papinian and Modestinus was half-Jewish. In the 18th century, this hypothesis was completely refuted by Heineccius, who not only pointed out the lack of reliable evidence for the supposed Eastern origins of Ulpian, since many Roman families lived in Tyre, but also showed that the alleged "Hebraisms" in Ulpian's Latin were also used by Livy, Cicero, and Quintillian, authors whose Roman origin is beyond question. Although in the 19th century, Orientalists such as Revillout and Lapauge revived this theory in an attempt to prove the Eastern origin of Roman law, it has been again discredited and abandoned by serious modern scholarship.


J.G. Heineccius, De Ulpiani Jurisconsulti Hebraismis (1730), reprinted in his: Opera Omnia, 2 (1746), 707ff.; Ch. Wolle (Wollius), Epistola Critica de Hebraismis Ulpiani Jurisconsulti (1739); E. Volterra, Diritto romano e diritti orietali (1937); idem, in: Studie et Documenta Historiae Juris, 3 (It., 1937), 158–63.

[Alfredo Mordechai Rabello]


views updated May 17 2018

Ulpian (died c.228), Roman jurist, born in Phoenicia. His numerous legal writings provided one of the chief sources for Justinian's Digest of 533.