Legal Relevance

The Constitutio Antoniniana is one of several globally significant documents in the history of citizenship and civil and human rights. The edict reflects the principles of Roman legal thinking that in many ways still serve as a model for modern legal systems.

Human rights

The Constitutio Antoniniana papyrus is the oldest in a group of historically significant documents related to citizenship and civil and human rights; later documents are, for example, the Magna Carta (1215), the Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV (1356), and the Original Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

"The History of Human Rights” | Together for Human Rights |

One distinctive feature of the Constitutio Antoniniana is its supranational relevance, as it is not limited to a single continent or country.

Model for modern legal systems

This document has been immensely influential right up to the present day. Roman law and legal thinking—including the concept of citizenship in Roman law as it is expressed in the Constitutio Antoniniana—continue to shape jurisprudence in many parts of the world today.

The principle of subsidiarity

One of the features of Imperial Rome’s political rule was to avoid, in most cases, dismantling established legal and administrative structures and instead integrate them into the Roman state and assign to them responsibility for a large part of public tasks. These practices reveal ideas that have had a decisive influence on what is today called the principle of subsidiarity, namely, that tasks should be performed wherever possible by the lowest administrative level or unit. A higher administrative level or the central state should only intervene when this is not possible. This principle is reflected in many parts of German social law, for example, and in financial aid legislation for students.

"The Principle of Subsidiarity" EZFord

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