The special significance of the Constitutio Antoniniana lies in its purpose of integrating different groups of people, which is the key to its political and legal legacy to the present day.

The central idea represented by the Constitutio Antoniniana was the integration of people from different cultural backgrounds into a single political community. At the same time, the document is an expression of the state’s high degree of respect for the groups of people concerned, their values, and their ways of life. As we face the challenges of globalization and migration today, this concept has extraordinary relevance for the twenty-first century.

The Constitutio Antoniniana is a unique and important document in the history of citizenship and human rights, a fact that is emphasized by its inclusion in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

The Constitutio Antoniniana created a uniform status of citizenship for the first time in world history in an empire comprising many millions of people from different cultural backgrounds across three continents, while respecting previously established local legal and political structures. The Constitutio Antoniniana was neither Eurocentric nor motivated by national interests. It is a unique historical reference point on the rights of citizenship and inclusion in international and global political unions. In this sense, the Constitutio Antoniniana is a model for fostering citizenship identity far beyond Europe’s borders.

The influence of legal principles from the Roman Empire is still perceptible in many ways up to the present day. This includes the concept of citizenship under Roman law as it is expressed in the Constitutio Antoniniana.

"Die Constitutio Antoniniana" |  Lecture from Prof. Dr. Karen Piepenbrink (2018) |

You will find more information on the papyrus document’s inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in the >>following section<<.