1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ulpian
ULPIAN (Domitius Ulpianus), Roman jurist, was of Tyrian ancestry. The time and place of his birth are unknown, but the period of his literary activity was between A.D. 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). Heliogabalus banished him from Rome, but on the accession of 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 Heliogabalus provoked their enmity, and he narrowly escaped their vengeance; ultimately, in 228, he was murdered in the palace, in the course of a riot between the soldiers and the mob.
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.
Domitii Ulpiani fragmenta, consisting of 29 titles, were first edited by Tilius (Paris, 1549). Other editions are by Hugo (Berlin, 1834), Böcking (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).