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The Relief Portraits of Lawgivers depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law.
Alfonso X, the "Wise" (1221-1284) King of Le'acute and Castile. Author of the Royal Code, a compilation of local legislation for general use. Originator of The Seven Parts, the code used as a basis for Spanish jurisprudence.
Edward I (1239-1307) King of England. Founded the parliamentary constitution of England. Eliminated the divisive political effects of the feudal system.
Gaius (c. 110-180) Roman jurist. Author of numerous works, the most noted being the Institutes, a complete exposition of the elements of Roman law that were the foundation of Roman civil law.
George Mason (1726-1792) American political leader. Drafted the Virginia Constitution and Declaration of Rights in 1776; was a member of the constitutional convention of 1787; led opposition to the ratification of the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added.
Gregory IX (c. 1147-1241) Medieval pope. Author of a compilation of decretals (i.e., authoritative decisions) on canon law; during a critical period he was instrumental in maintaining the remnants of Roman law.
Hammurabi (fl. c. 1792-1750 B.C.) King of Babylonia. Author of the Code of Hammurabi, which is recognized in legal literature as one of the earliest surviving legal codes.
Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) Dutch statesman. Advocate-General of Holland and Zeeland; author of On the Law of War and Peace, the first treatise on international law.
Innocent III (1161-1216) Medieval pope. Student of canon and civil law, who, like Gregory IX, preserved the remnants of Roman law during the Dark Ages.
Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) French finance minister and controller general under Louis XIV. Codified commercial, maritime, and colonial ordinances; reformed the French legal system.
Justinian I (c. 483-565) Byzantine emperor. Appointed Tribonian to compile and consolidate the Roman legal code into the Justinian Code, which he supplemented with a collection of rulings and precedents.
Lycurgus (c. 900 B.C.) Semimythical Greek legislator. Traditional author of laws and institution of Sparta.
Maimonides (1135-1204) Jewish philosopher of Cordova, Spain. Compiled a systematic exposition of the whole of Jewish law as contained in the Pentateuch and in Talmudic literature.
Moses (c. 1350-1250 B.C.) Hebrew prophet and lawgiver. Transformed a wandering people into a nation; received the Ten Commandments.
Napoleon I (1769-1821) Emperor of France. Appointed a commission to draw up the Code Civil, a combination of tradition and Roman law that influenced the legal systems of European and American states during the 19th century.
Papinian (c. 146-212) Roman jurist. Author of fifty-six books about legal questions and decisions, extracts from which were influential in the development of the Justinian Code.
Robert Joseph Pothier (1699-1772) French jurist; author of the Digest of Pandects of Justinian, a classic study of Roman law; author of several treatises on French law, which were incorporated in the French Code Civil.