Marton Ribrary

Dr Marton Ribary


Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow
PhD, MPhil, MA
+44 (0)1483 684289
16 AB 05
Wednesday 11am-1pm (with sign-up)

Academic and research departments

School of Law.

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    Publications

    Marton Ribary, Barbara McGillivray (2020)A Corpus Approach to Roman Law Based on Justinian’s Digest, In: Informatics7(4) MDPI AG

    Traditional philological methods in Roman legal scholarship such as close reading and strict juristic reasoning have analysed law in extraordinary detail. Such methods, however, have paid less attention to the empirical characteristics of legal texts and occasionally projected an abstract framework onto the sources. The paper presents a series of computer-assisted methods to open new frontiers of inquiry. Using a Python coding environment, we have built a relational database of the Latin text of the Digest, a historical sourcebook of Roman law compiled under the order of Emperor Justinian in 533 CE. Subsequently, we investigated the structure of Roman law by automatically clustering the sections of the Digest according to their linguistic profile. Finally, we explored the characteristics of Roman legal language according to the principles and methods of computational distributional semantics. Our research has discovered an empirical structure of Roman law which arises from the sources themselves and complements the dominant scholarly assumption that Roman law rests on abstract structures. By building and comparing Latin word embeddings models, we were also able to detect a semantic split in words with general and legal sense. These investigations point to a practical focus in Roman law which is consistent with the view that ancient law schools were more interested in training lawyers for practice rather than in philosophical neatness.

    Marton Ribary (2020)A Relational Database of Roman Law Based on Justinian’s Digest, In: Journal of Open Humanities Data6(5) Ubiquity Press

    The Digest is the definitive historical sourcebook of Roman law compiled under the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (533 CE). This relational database includes the text of Theodor Mommsen’s authoritative edition of the Digest with accompanying information about its compositional structure and its featured jurists. The data was collected from raw text files and transformed to structured machine-readable form in a Python coding environment. Preprocessed data stored in flat files were loaded to a single super lightweight SQLite database (

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