The Recovery of Gaius' Institutes
The work was lost to modern scholars, until, in 1816, a manuscript was discovered by B.G. Niebuhr in the chapter library of Verona, in which some of the works of St Jerome were written over some earlier writings, which proved to be the lost work of Gaius. The greater part of the palimpsest has, however, been deciphered and the text is now fairly complete. More recently, two sets of papyrus fragments have been found. The discovery of Gaius' work has thrown a flood of light on portions of the history of Roman law which had previously been most obscure. Much of the historical information given by Gaius is wanting in the compilations of Justinian, and, in particular, the account of the ancient forms of procedure in actions. In these forms can be traced "survivals" from the most primitive times, which provide the science of comparative law with valuable illustrations, which may explain the strange forms of legal procedure found in other early systems.
There are several editions of the Institutes, beginning with the editio princeps of I.F.L. Göschen (Berlin, 1820). The author of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica recommends the English edition of Edward Poste published in 1885,which includes an English translation and copious commentary; more recent editions include E. Seckel-B. Keubler (8th edition; Leipzig, 1939), and Francis de Zulueta, with an English translation and commentary (2 volumes; Oxford, 1946).