By Paolo Grossi
This publication explores the improvement of legislation in Europe from its medieval origins to the current day, charting the transformation from legislations rooted within the Church and native group in the direction of a reputation of the centralised, secular authority of the nation. exhibits how those adjustments mirror the broader political, fiscal, and cultural advancements inside of eu historyDemonstrates the variety of traditions among eu states and the chances and barriers within the look for universal ecu values and objectives
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Extra resources for A History of European Law (Making of Europe)
The prince continues to be thought of in the collective consciousness as the supreme judge of the community, with one fundamental, non-negotiable quality and virtue, that of justice: the ability to make equitable decisions based on the true nature of things. 3 In other words, the prince is not seen as a supreme will, with arbitrary power over his subjects, but rather as playing a role of attentiveness to nature, the great text in which the lessons of justice are written. This is why St Thomas himself, in his definition of lex (‘law’), identifies it as a product of reason and thought: the law is not used to project a despotic will upon a community of subjects, but rather to keep that community in order (it is a ‘reasoned structure directed towards the common good’).
Instead, this is an age of great thinkers – mostly teachers at the many universities now dotted across Europe6 – real flesh-and-blood characters, well integrated into civil society and often occupying positions of power and prestige. Medieval jurists are moreover very attentive to the goings-on outside their studies and lecture halls, and acutely conscious that they bear the weighty yet honourable burden of bringing order to the potential chaos of the medieval socio-economic sphere. It is this open attitude to wider society that allows the flowering of medieval legal scholarship to exist in a fertile relationship of symbiosis with the system of customs and facts which continues to underlie medieval law; indeed, scholarship even contrives at times to extend the reach of customary law.
The jurists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries did not regard these texts as a mere treasury of useful terms, rigorous concepts and technical solutions, grounded in a robust and consistent legal language; rather, the Corpus iuris was their longed-for authoritative model, to which they deferred. The Corpus iuris’s authority was great for two reasons. Firstly because of its age: it belonged to and contained within its pages the fabled world of the ancients. Antiquity was held worthy of especial veneration: as the abovementioned John of Salisbury says, venerabilior est vetustas (‘age should be respected more’).