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2i6                               Law
In the course of time the different provincial legal systems
were fused with the imperial law. It has been thought that the
Constitutio Antoniniana (212) (the text of which we know from
an Egyptian papyrus) which granted Roman citizenship to the
whole population of the empire caused the immediate abolition
of national and provincial law, but that is not so. Even as
Roman citizens the natives were still living under their" former
laws, though the process of gradual fusion which had begun
before that time continued, and reached its culminating point
under the Emperor Diocletian (284-305). At this time it is but
rarely that we can trace any local peculiarities: the same law
is applied throughout the empire. Legal documents in demotic
script ceased to exist. In Egypt as well as elsewhere the litera-
ture upon the classical Roman law was studied. It is due to that
fact that several important fragments of worts by Roman jurists
(e.g. Gams) have been preserved by the papyri of Egypt.
Coptic Law
After Diocletian a certain renaissance of Egyptian national
law set in. But its extent and importance must not be over-
estimated. Under the influence of Christianity the Egyptians
again became more fully conscious of their national character-
istics. The Coptic script could be easily read, and the develop-
ment of a Coptic literature created a new foundation for an
independent development of law in Egypt. But the old Egyptian
law had been forgotten. It is true that legal documents were
once more drawn up in the Egyptian—i.e. now the Coptic—
language, but on closer examination it becomes evident that the
phrases used there were nothing but translations of those used
in Greek documents during the Byzantine period. Coptic law
is fundamentally only a development of Roman law, and there-
fore Coptic documents very often show a surprising similarity
to the contemporary Frankish documents. During the Arabic
period the influence of the Qur'an, especially on the law of pro-