onstantine Harmenopoulos was undoubtedly the most remarkable jurist of the Late Byzantine period. All we know about him is that he wrote the Procheiros Nomos or Hexabiblos in 1344-45 and that shortly afterwards he was appointed katholikos krites ("universal judge") of Thessalonike (an office which corresponds nowadays to that of Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals).
The Hexabiblos was not original in content as a legal work, but rather a simple compilation of the existing legislation, accompanied by two prefaces by the author and comments. The contribution of Harmenopoulos was that he very assiduously assembled all the previous laws that he could discover in legal corpuses, even those most hard to find, and organised them thematically, so that they were easily accessible to the judges. This was something that happened for the first time in Byzantium and constituted the most important advantage of the book. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why it was translated into many languages and formed the basis of the civil law of the Greeks not only during the period of Turkish rule but also in the modern Greek state until the new Civil Code was put in force in 1946. Seventy-one manuscript copies of this book are preserved, dating from various periods between the 14th and the 18th centuries.
The Hexabiblos begins with two prefaces. The first contains advice to the judges: it tells them they should be unbiased and uninfluenced in the performance of their duty, that they should consider the real intent of the legislator and that they should not condemn any accused person without consulting with other experienced judges. In the second preface, Harmenopoulos presents a list of the