Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



The title page of Digestorum seu Pandectarum libri quinquaginta ex Florentinis Pandectis repraesentati (The Digest or Fifty Books of the Pandects, represented from the Florentine Pandects), a version of the Pandects (sense 1) published in Florence, Italy, by Lawrence Torrentinus in 1553
An 11th-century manuscript of the pandects (sense 3) of Antiochus of Palestine, a compilation of moral statements.[n 1]

Sense 3 (“comprehensive treatise”) is from Latin pandectēs (book that contains everything, encyclopedia), from Ancient Greek πανδέκτης (pandéktēs, encyclopedia, literally all-receiver), from παν- (pan-, prefix meaning ‘all’) (from πᾶς (pâs, all)) + δέκτης (déktēs, receiver, recipient) (from δέχομαι (dékhomai, to receive) (from Proto-Indo-European *deḱ- (to take; to perceive)) + -της (-tēs, suffix forming agent nouns)).[1][2]

Sense 1 (“compendium of writings on Roman law”) in the plural form Pandects is from Late Latin pandectae (the Pandects), the plural of pandectēs, modelled after (Byzantine) Ancient Greek πανδέκται (pandéktai, the Pandects), the plural of πανδέκτης (pandéktēs): see further above.[1]



pandect (plural pandects)

  1. (Ancient Rome, law, historical) Usually in the plural form Pandects: a compendium or digest of writings on Roman law divided in 50 books, compiled in the 6th century C.E. by order of the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I (c. 482–565).
  2. (by extension, rare) Also in the plural form pandects: a comprehensive collection of laws; specifically, the whole body of law of a country; a legal code.
    Synonym: digest
    • 1611, “The Translators to the Reader”, in The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981:
      In a word, it [Scripture] is a panary of holeſome foode, againſt fenowed traditions; a Phyſicians-ſhop (Saint Baſill calleth it) of preſeruatiues against poiſoned hereſies; a Pandect of profitable lawes, againſt rebellious ſpirits; a treaſurie of moſt coſtly iewels, againſt beggarly rudiments; Finally, a fountaine of moſt pure water ſpringing vp unto euerlaſting life.
    • 1682, Thomas Flatman, “The Review. Pindaric Ode to Dr. W. S.”, in Poems and Songs, 3rd edition, London: Printed for Benjamin Tooke, [], OCLC 79627010, stanza IX, page 21:
      Give me the Pandects of the Law Divine, / Such was the Law made Moſes face to ſhine.
  3. (by extension, also figuratively) A treatise or similar work that is comprehensive as to a particular topic; specifically (Christianity) a manuscript of the entire Bible.
    • 1750 November, “Art. XV. The Œconomy of Human Life, Translated from an Indian Manuscript, Written by an Ancient Bramin; to which is Prefixed an Account of the Manner in which the Said Manuscript was Discovered. [] [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, New Literary Journal. [], volume IV, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths, [], OCLC 901376714, page 64:
      The table of contents which we inſert here will give a juſt idea of the method with which this ſmall pandect of morality is compoſed.
    • 2003, Carmella Vircillo Franklin, “Bilingual Philology in Bede’s Exegesis”, in Richard F. Gyug, editor, Medieval Cultures in Contact (Fordham Series in Medieval Studies; 1), New York, N.Y.: Fordham University Press, →ISBN, ISSN 1542-6378, page 3:
      During a visit to Rome in 679–80, the Anglo-Saxon monk Ceolfrith from Northumbria acquired a magnificent pandect, an entire Bible bound as one volume, and brought it back to England with him, to his monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow. We now know that the book that Ceolfrith bought in Rome was the so-called Codex Grandior, a pandect written under the supervision of Cassiodorus, the scholar-monk founder of Vivarium, in Calabria in the sixth century.
    • 2006, Francis Cairns, “The Nomenclature of the Tiber in Virgil’s Aeneid”, in Joan Booth and Robert Maltby, editors, What’s in a Name?: The Significance of Proper Names in Classical Latin Literature, Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, →ISBN, page 68:
      At 8.330–2, which will be treated again below, Virgil seems to be offering some guidance about part of this tangle of 'problems' (although he was at the same time a pandect when it came to the Tiber and its nomenclature).
    • 2006, Mary Dove, “The Middle Ages”, in John F. A. Sawyer, editor, The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture (Blackwell Companions to Religion), Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, →ISBN; republished Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, →ISBN, page 39:
      Pandects, manuscript-volumes containing all the books of the Old and New Testaments, were enormous and very rare.

Coordinate terms

Derived terms



  1. ^ From the collection of the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


Further reading