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Legal Theory and Practice in Eleventh-Century Italy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2011

Extract

As I understand it, Susan Reynolds's article is meant to address the longstanding habit among legal historians of equating professional approaches to the law with the emergence of a school-based study of Roman law. In the course of the twelfth century, she argues, legal practitioners developed their own kinds of expertise that, though less bookish, might have had a practical significance equal to, if not greater than, the learning produced in the schools. Although these observations seem on the mark for Europe north of the Alps, Reynolds errs, I think, in assimilating Italy to this chronological and conceptual schema. Already by the ninth and tenth centuries, there existed in northern Italy a corps of royal notaries and judges who possessed both literacy and legal expertise unparalleled elsewhere in Europe. Distinguished from other laymen by their titles, learning, and even their handwriting, the legal experts already appear to have met the criteria of professionalism generally proposed for the late twelfth century in the rest of Europe.

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Forum: Comment
Copyright
Copyright © the American Society for Legal History, Inc. 2003

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References

1. See Reynolds, Susan, “The Emergence of Professional Law in the Long Twelfth Century,” Law and History Review 21 (Summer 2003), 347–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2. Radding, C. M., The Origins of Medieval Jurisprudence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988)Google Scholar; Bougard, François, La Justice dans le royaume d'Italie de la fin du VIIe siècle au début du Xle siécle (Rome: École français de Rome, 1995)Google Scholar; Petrucci, Armando and Romeo, Carlo, “Scrivere ‘In Iudicio’: Modi, soggetti e funzioni di scrittura nei placiti del ‘Regnum Italiae’ (secc. IX–XI),” Scrittura e civiltà 13 (1989): 548, pls. 1–15.Google Scholar

3. The text of the Liber Papiensis, including the Walcausina and the Expositio (mentioned below), can be found in MGH Leges IV (Weimar, 1868); see also Radding, C. M., “Petre te appellat Martinus. Eleventh-Century Judicial Procedure As Seen through the Glosses of Walcausus,” in La Giustizia nell' Alto medioevo II (secoli IX–XI), XLIVa Settimana di Studio sull' Alto Medioevo, Spoleto, 11–17 aprile 1996 (Spoleto, 1997): 827–61.Google Scholar

4. On the manuscripts of Justinian's Corpus, see Radding, C. M., “The Corpus luris Chilis in the Middle Ages: A Case Study in Historiography and Medieval History,” (with Antonio Ciaralli, Dept. of Paleography, University of Verona) Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte. Romanistische Abteilung 117 (2000): 274310CrossRefGoogle Scholar; on Pistoia 106, mistakenly dated, in the nineteenth century, to the tenth century, with consequent distortion of the history of the Code, see Ciaralli, Antonio, “Ancora sul manoscritto pistoiese del Codex (Arch. Cap. C 106). Note paleografiche e codicologiche,” Scrittura e Civiltà 24 (2000): 173226.Google Scholar

5. Schioppa, Antonio Padoa, “La cultura giuridica,” in Storia di Pavia 2 (Milan, 1987): 219–35Google Scholar, and “11 ruolo della cultura giuridica in alcuni atti giudiziari italiani dei secoli XI e XII,” Nuova Rivista Storica 64 (1980): 265–89; also published as “Le rôle du droit savant dans quelques actes judicaires italiens des xie et xiie siècles,” in Confluence des droits savants et des pratiques juridiques. Actes du colloque de Montpellier tenu du 12 au 14 décembre 1977 (Milan, 1979), 343–71; Nicolaj, Giovanna, Cultura e prassi di notai preirneriani. Alle origini del rinascimento giuridico, Ius Nostrum. Studi e testi pubb. dall' Istituto di Storia di Diritto Italiano dell' Università di Roma, 19 (Milan: Giuffre, 1991).Google Scholar

6. Classen, Peter, Recht und Schrift im Mittelalter (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1977).Google Scholar

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